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Rachel

I recently graduated with highest honors from Texas A&M University and received a B.S. in Forestry and Ecological Restoration. While in college, I worked for three years as a tutor for the A&M Athletics Department, tutoring in multiple math subjects, biology, chemistry, ecology, botany, history, English, and forestry. I spent one semester working in the writing lab, helping students write and edit their essays. I also worked as a teaching assistant for a year, creating my own lectures and exams while also leading experiments for classes of up to 15 students at a time.

Teaching is a highly rewarding experience for me. I understand that everyone has a different learning style, and I strive to always adapt my teaching style to the needs of my students. After years of working with students who struggle with learning what they consider to be boring subjects, I've amassed countless creative techniques to help students better process difficult information and retain knowledge. My teaching philosophy is based on patience, positive reinforcement, and the breakdown of difficult material into easier-to-process parts. I believe no student should ever have to feel unintelligent. We've all fallen behind on schoolwork at some point and we've all encountered a few subjects that just wouldn't stick, but this in no way reflects our capabilities to learn.

Undergraduate Degree:

 Texas A & M University-College Station - Bachelors, Ecological Restoration, Forestry

hiking, traveling, yoga, kickboxing, gardening, playing musical instruments, cooking, reading, painting, photography, scuba diving

College English

Ecology

High School English

Homework Support

Life Sciences

Other

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization

Summer

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy is based on patience, positive reinforcement, and the breakdown of difficult material into easier-to-process parts. I believe no student should ever have to feel unintelligent. We've all fallen behind on schoolwork at some point and we've all encountered a few subjects that just wouldn't stick, but this in no way reflects our capabilities to learn.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

In a first session with a new student, I would first spend a few minutes getting to know the student (interests, goals, personality). Depending on the subject, I would then have them explain what they need the most help with and how they have been studying up to this point. For math or science courses, I would list a few concepts and ask them what their comfort level is with each. The first lesson would consist of understanding why the student needs tutoring, and then working with them on their most problematic areas first.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

The best technique to see if a student has fully learned the material is to have them try to teach it back to me. I usually leave about 5 minutes at the end of each tutoring session for the student to teach me the main concepts we covered that day and some concepts they may have struggled with in previous sessions. When students have to explain difficult material out loud, they almost always remember it the next time it comes up.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I help students become independent learners by helping them find what works for them. Throughout my years of tutoring, I've encountered countless different studying techniques that work really well for certain types of people. When working with a student who struggles with studying independently, I would first try to identify why they are struggling and then work towards showing them multiple study techniques until they found one that worked best for them.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I help students stay motivated by understanding their goals and then reminding them what is necessary in order to achieve their goals. Most of the time, their academic goals are based off of grades they want to obtain in certain classes or certain scores on standardized tests. When a student is lacking in motivation, I gently remind them that focusing on the tutoring and putting in the effort now will help push them toward their academic goals. Another way that I help students stay motivated is through positive reinforcement, always making sure to recognize their small achievements so that they do not get discouraged.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or a concept, I would try to break down the information into easier-to-understand parts, and also try to explain the skill or concept in a way that the student would be more inclined to understand. For example, if it is a mathematical concept, I could separate out the steps and work with the student to solve each step individually, instead of tackling the entire concept at once. I've found that students generally have difficulties learning new skills or concepts because they haven't fully learned the skills or concepts that they should have learned that came before this one. Another example would be to explain the skill or concept using terms the student is already familiar with. In this scenario, if a student really enjoys basketball, I would explain the concept using a basketball example.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

I help students who are struggling with reading comprehension by separating difficult passages into smaller sections and working through them a section at a time. Most of the students I've had that struggled with reading comprehension seemed to be struggling with either difficult vocabulary or texts that were too long, so they would lose their focus whilst reading. When you break down a long and difficult passage into smaller sections, the student is able to focus more on each section and is then able to also isolate any words that are confusing them. I encourage my students to annotate their readings as well, as this helps them become more engaged readers and helps them remember what was important in each part of their readings.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

I first make sure that the student feels comfortable working with me. I do this by talking to them honestly about how I may have struggled with the subject, or any other subject, initially and how I overcame any obstacles that were in my path to academic success. This takes away any pressure they may feel if they think I expect them to know everything already and answer everything correctly. Many students, when they are first starting out their tutoring sessions in a subject, are afraid to be incorrect or to show that they don't understand certain things. I have encountered many students who will say things such as, "I know I probably got it wrong, but can we work through this problem?" This initial lack of confidence tends to go away as soon as the student becomes comfortable around me and is no longer afraid to make errors here and there.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

During a tutoring session, I typically use pen and paper, my laptop (internet), any random objects that could be useful when demonstrating examples, and sometimes even whiteboards if the session is somewhere where there are whiteboards. I'm a very visual learner, and therefore I'm really confident tutoring students who are also visual learners. I tend to utilize anything within reach if I feel it could be useful in helping the student learn.