I'm a UH senior right now (majoring in political science), and I'm planning to go to law school next fall. I enjoy reading, puzzles, and musicals about Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton.
I went to Hunters Creek Elementary, Kinkaid Middle School, and Kinkaid High School, before traveling to Georgia for two years at Emory University. After receiving an Associate's in Arts, I returned home to Houston to finish my degree at UH; it was there I discovered I didn't just not hate politics, I was actively fascinated by them. Thus, my plans to become an evil scientist working undercover at the CDC were thwarted by a latent preoccupation with government. Stuff happens, I guess.
I have tutored middle school math and English, as well as introductory college and advanced high-school math and English. I have excellent test scores and great patience.
University of Houston - Current Undergrad, Political Science
ACT Composite: 34
ACT English: 35
ACT Math: 33
ACT Reading: 34
ACT Science: 34
SAT Math: 720
SAT Verbal: 800
SAT Writing: 730
AP Chemistry: 5
AP Calculus BC: 5
AP English Literature: 5
AP English Language: 5
AP US History: 5
SAT Mathematics Level 2: 800
AP Spanish Literature: 5
AP Spanish Language: 5
SAT Subject Test in Physics: 720
SAT Subject Test in Spanish: 800
High School English
What is your teaching philosophy?
I like to approach any teaching job as a problem of motivation. If the student wants to learn, the actual learning is as easy as falling off a log. It is much, much harder to learn when you're unmotivated, so that's what I like to focus on. That said, this "long-term view" must be weighed against the immediate need to catch a student up to the performance level of their peers. I find, however, maintaining strong respect for the first challenge ends up seriously diminishing the second.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Established goals are important to motivation, so I like to begin a first session by asking the student what they want to get out of the meeting. Keeping that goal in mind helps focus both of us on the most important work; it can also be the bridge the student needs to relate "struggling through hard, boring homework" to "personal achievement that feels good."
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By making the subject material personal. Involve important things in their life--hobbies, interests, whatever--in the word problems and essays, and they will begin to look at everything, starting with their hobbies, more critically.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
SET GOALS. It encourages them to push themselves; it helps keep them from getting overwhelmed by all the things they don't need to focus on now anyway. It clears the skin; it's great! When spirits are really low, there is nothing like just getting up from the desk and doing push-ups to a) stimulate blood flow and b) remind you how nice math is, compared to push-ups.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
It's important that they know that nothing is wrong with them! No subject's difficulty level can compare to a student's belief that they can't learn it. Once they can be talked down from that, it's just throwing spaghetti. Whatever approach to the subject works, I run with it. After the student has some level of confidence in their ability, we can go back over the previous approaches and make sure they understand all of them.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
By going slowly through the implications of every sentence in a passage. Then, we sum up what's happening in the story/passage using several criteria: who's talking, who are they talking to, what are they trying to do here, what gets talked about the most, etc. This is another subject in which a student's belief in their ability can limit their ability, so I also like to give a lot of positive feedback here.