I am a 20 year old of senior standing at the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a Major in Biochemistry and have been in Michigan for the last 10 years. I graduated from John F. Kennedy HS in 2013 taking 5 AP courses and began college with 12 credits. Since graduating high school, I have done both elementary and college tutoring for a wide range of subjects, but primarily the sciences. At my university, I am/have been an SI for Organic Chemistry and a variety of Psychology courses.
An SI (Supplemental Instructor) is a kind of guided instruction supervisor who helps to facilitate group learning for the subject away from class time. I have done this since freshman year winter semester beginning with Abnormal Psychology. I like tutoring and teaching because it's very dynamic. I enjoy seeing the student's perspective and how they approach the material vs how they should change their method of thinking. True comprehension of the material is always the focus as opposed to memorization.
I try to take a more hands off approach and let the student tackle the problems or questions as much as possible, with occasional guidance from me. I think this is very important as independence with the material is the goal.
University of Michigan-Dearborn - Current Undergrad, Biochemistry
ACT Composite: 31
Anatomy & Physiology
High School Biology
High School Chemistry
High School English
Middle School Science
What is your teaching philosophy?
I try to take a more hands off approach and let the student tackle the problems or questions as much as possible, with occasional guidance from me. I think this is very important as independence with the material is the goal and the student should feel comfortable in a test-taking environment in the relevant subject.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first session is used to assess the current standing of the student in the subject material, so I know where to start and what they will need help on the most as we move forward. If this is a one-time session, then the current standing must still be assessed, but we will immediately focus on weaker areas.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Questions. Answering questions completely on your own is the best way. You can only learn so much without testing what you've learned.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Showing them their incremental advances as a sort of positive reinforcement.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
First assess their current understanding of the skill or concept, then progress incrementally. At the end, the student must demonstrate adequate understanding before progression.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
The easiest way is to have them read materials they like. For more difficult coursework or books, a visual representation tends to work very well too.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Being friendly and polite; the students are there because they want to be.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Show them their incremental progress. If needed, we may have to take a break to refocus.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Testing, both verbally and on paper. Verbally to show general understanding of concepts, on paper to show a more technical understanding.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Show them their incremental advances.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Through the first session and their own answers to me.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
As sessions go by, I learn specifically what the student is struggling with and what they need to improve. I change the "curriculum" to tailor these needs.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Everything, whatever helps the student understand better. Visual aids for Organic Chemistry, Biology, and Chemistry tend to work very well.