I graduated from Marquette University in May 2015. During my attendance there I majored in biological sciences and worked in both their macro and micro-biology labs, the latter of which I have a published paper for my work. While at Marquette I also tutored. I think it is extremely important for tutors to be able to help their students learn in what ever way best allows for them to understand the material. Every student has a different learning type and it is up to their tutor to figure out what that type is and apply teaching styles that will benefit that individual. Besides working as a microbiologist I also am a high school hockey coach at Notre Dame College Prep in Niles, IL. I am a huge Black Hawk fan and definitely believe Ovechkin is better than Crosby. I have flexible hours and am willing to work as much as needed to help people understand their material, especially since science does not always contain easy concepts to understand.
Marquette University - Bachelors, Biological Sciences
What is your teaching philosophy?
I think it is important to understand the concepts behind any material before trying to apply it and further understand something at a much greater depth. That is more true for science than almost any subject in school.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I think it is important to establish a sense of respect both ways between the student and the tutor. I need to figure out what it is a student is comfortable with as well as how they learn the greatest. There are so many different styles of learning, and each student is unique in how they understand material. The role of a tutor is to determine what would be best for each individual student and to move forward from there.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
A student can become an independent learner as they learn what is most suitable for them. Once they find a way to be able to read and understand material and concepts as well as to continue a step further to apply them and really understand, they can become independent learners.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
It is not always easy to stay motivated; however, I have found that it definitely helps to make the material as interesting as possible by playing off each student's likes to make it somewhat fun. I also think that taking breaks, if used properly, can help to keep a student from feeling overwhelmed with the material that is being covered.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would break the concept down to as base of an idea as possible. Learning material is like building. If you do not start with a good base, it would be nearly impossible to create something worth having. With learning, if one cannot understand the smallest parts of an idea or concept, they would have a very difficult time getting it as a whole. However, as more and more becomes understood, the student has a much greater chance at learning the material.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension is a learned skill. It is extremely important to teach them what to read for as well as how to interpret the material that they are reading. In science, it is important to read both the text and the tables and pictures. Not everyone will understand the material after doing one or the other, but reading the words and then seeing what the author is talking about in action makes the ideas stick much better.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I think that it is student to student based but it is important to establish common ground on how the student learns best. That being said, I think sessions that include interactive learning lead to the fastest understanding of material rather than just a question and answer based one.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
This is not always an easy thing to accomplish, but it is important to find things that they enjoy doing and try to apply the material in scenarios that could include that activity. It is also helpful to keep the studying a little bit lighter at times so the student does not become upset or overwhelmed.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I think going over concepts and then giving some example problems to work through together really lets the concept become engraved into their minds. It is not very helpful to give them material, leave, and make them do it by themselves to only correct later. A student learns best when they see their mistakes and can correct them as they progress. That being said, it is important for them to find the end answer alone, but it is also not hurtful to help guide them to it.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I think meaningful compliments really keep a student happy while learning material. I do not mean giving them useless compliments so that when they receive one they don't feel it is genuine, but rather specific compliments (no matter how small) to show that as a tutor we really care about helping progress their learning experience.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I like to, in the first few sessions, find what way helps them learn the best by employing picture-based, text-based, or concept-based learning. Once I see which the student is capable of understanding the easiest and applying later in the session, I will tend to use that as we progress in their education.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
As a tutor, we need to be able to find and employ the means for our student's education. That being said, if they are, for example, a picture-based learner, I will stress more the charts in books and reading to them to understand what is going on. I think this is critical in concepts such as neuron firing. When it is more than just words on a page, the student is much more capable of visualizing what is happening and then applying that knowledge.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
The student's homework, notes, book, my previous knowledge including: former class notes, charts, pictures, exams, and homework, as applicable.