I am a certified teacher who has worked with gifted students, students with disabilities, students with limited and interrupted education, and students who are learning English as a second or third language; I have experience working with students of all ages (pre-school to college). I enjoy working with students to set goals and monitor progress as the one-on-one nature of tutoring allows me to individualize my instruction. I believe education is about meeting students where they are and giving them the tools they need to carry themselves farther.
University of Alabama at Birmingham - Bachelors, Communication Studies
ACT Composite: 33
ACT English: 34
ACT Reading: 36
ACT Science: 31
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would start by taking time to get to know my student. This does two things: it builds a positive, comfortable atmosphere for the student, and it helps me prepare individualized lessons. Then I would ask my student if he/she has any questions for me before we start a pre- assessment. Finally, I would ask my student about his/her learning style, what he/she wants to gain from our work together, and what his/her goals are.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
The best way to keep a student motivated is to have her set her own goals and to track her progress toward those goals consistently. Students need to know where they're going, but they also need to see that they're moving in the right direction.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would change my approach. In my experience, every student can learn. Sometimes, it's only a matter of coming at problem from a different direction.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would use my knowledge of my student to make the subject more relatable. That could mean practicing reading comprehension with passages about space for a student who's interested in astronomy, or it could be comparing a student's life to the life of a fictional character to make historical fiction seem more relevant.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
When a student is struggling in a subject, I start by covering foundational material. Understanding the basics often builds confidence. From there, I teach students how to break down problems into smaller parts, which makes complex questions manageable. Cultivating this skill in students increases their confidence when working by themselves and with others.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I use a three-tier system. I start with read-alouds where I read the passage and my student answers questions after listening to it. In time, my student and I read a passage together and discuss it. Finally, I have my student read a passage by him/herself and answer comprehension questions.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Every student learns differently, and there are a lot of strategies I use depending on the student and the subject matter. The most important thing is establishing a goal-oriented culture of trust and accepting that mistakes are part of the learning process.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I use various assessment techniques depending on the subject matter, but I avoid assessments that can give false data (e.g. multiple-choice with any subject other than test prep). My favorite assessment tool is to ask my students to teach me. If they can explain their thinking and the process they used, I can be confident they understand the material.
What is your teaching philosophy?
A teacher's job is to constantly adapt to a student's needs. There's no such thing as static learning, and there's no such thing as static teaching.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I am constantly evaluating my teaching based on my students' progress. If a student doesn't understand how I've presented material, then it's up to me to change my approach. That could mean explaining the content verbally again, drawing a diagram, or using total physical response to reinforce a concept (e.g. clapping for syllabication).
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Of course, it depends on my students' preferences, but I commonly use paper and pens, dry erase boards and markers, diagrams, flashcards, a timer, highlighters and colored pencils, and manipulatives.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
The best way to encourage independent learning is to have students help determine their educational goals. Giving students the responsibility of setting goals and the encouragement and skills they need to meet those goals creates lifelong independent learners.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I use surveys, pre- and post-assessments, informal observations, and checklists.