Since elementary school, I could not find myself to choose a favorite subject. Throughout my k-12th grade experience, friends and family would ask, "what's your favorite class?" to which I had no definitive response for. My passion lies with science and math, but I have seen the connection between many subjects that are taught separately, like mathematical graphing abilities in science, and good grammar whilst writing analytical papers for certain chemical and biological experiments. I found that in order for me to be exceptional in science, I had to also have a strong understanding in math so I could quantitatively analyze science results and essay writing capabilities to express and derive conclusions adequately from an experiment.
That being said, beginning in high school, I would assist my friends and family with Biology, Chemistry, English, Math, and Spanish. Which eventually led to me offering free tutoring services at my local church to gain experience and help others in the process. I am currently a Biochemistry major at the University of Houston and minoring in Spanish, while also conducting undergraduate research with antimicrobial properties on certain pathogens that pose a risk in the clinical setting. I hope to extend my research abilities to my current career in the United States Marine Corps.
I can confidently tutor individuals of all ages and learning habits considering I have five younger siblings, ages eight to fifteen, so I do possess great patience and understanding with students of all ages, while also staying current with today's student's curriculum. I too would find myself slightly confused or behind at times, maybe not keeping with the pace of the class on a certain area. So, i would then go over the notes, simplify them, and make an application of the topic so I would have a visual understanding of the material. I found that to be my learning style, and while tutoring others, I discovered many different techniques to learn, comprehend, and retain material for different learning styles. I love explaining and condensing difficult topics to students because I await the moment when their light bulb goes off, and they are ecstatic to have conquered the minor road block that may have kept them from understanding the material, all with my assistance.It is beyond rewarding when those I help tell me how much I have done, how they now study differently, and how they have found interest in a topic previously dreaded and avoided.
University of Houston Maincampus and Lonestar College Cyfair - Current Undergrad, BioChemistry
What is your teaching philosophy?
My philosophy: everybody is a student at some point, with different learning habits and certain strengths and weaknesses. Discover what it is that makes a certain topic your weakness, and begin to find your way to make the topic a point of confidence. Turn your weaknesses into your strengths by working that much harder to conquer the weaknesses.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Establish a slight personal connection, as I too have needed extra assistance in certain areas. Ask what it is that makes the subject at hand difficult, and begin to offer some advice and suggestions on how to overcome the difficulty.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I believe the best way to become an independent learner is to establish healthy and efficient study habits. A student must allocate a certain amount of their time at home to studying and going over what they've learned so that they may retain the information. I would assist the student in creating effective study habits that fit their schedules and personal study skills.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would keep reassuring the student that school will always provide difficulties, but that every great scientist was once a student who had to learn. I would also make sure the student knows that hard work truly does pay off.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would begin to develop analogies and other real-world applications of the topic, so the student may visualize and comprehend what might have just been a topic in the book. And, I'd also explain it in layman's jargon in order to simplify the concept.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
A great way to assist in reading comprehension is multiple-choice questions on certain readings and excerpts. So, I may choose a certain part of their required reading and develop my own questions for them to answer about the selected passage. Also, I would advise they keep side notes for every page and chapter that simply and quickly summarize the content in that chapter and the pages within it.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I find establishing a personal connection aids in developing study skills and habits for that particular student. Everybody has different learning habits, so it's best to discover what works best with them.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
A great way to get a student engaged is to apply the topic to something they find interesting. Find a hobby or interest of theirs to compare it to, and build a comprehension of the topic based on a real-life application.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
A technique to use would be to go over homework, quizzes, and other assessments given by the instructor. Also, to answer the questions after the required chapters of the learning. Then, to have the student "teach me" the topic, to make sure there is a confident, accurate understanding.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
To build confidence, you must establish some sort of understanding with the topic, starting with their strong suits in the topic so they are not too discouraged by its difficulty, and then building to the more difficult topics once they have built some confidence.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Look over the homework and other assessments, identify the problem types, and ask the student what about a certain problem made it more difficult than the others. Also, ask what the student finds to be most distracting and problematic in the school setting, and what is difficult about studying.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I would adapt my tutoring by seeing what kind of learner the student is: auditory, visual, or kinesthetic. Then I'd build and develop from there.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Depending on the topic at hand-- Math: calculator, online graphing, different color pens for equation steps. Science: Play-doh, markers and crayons, etc.