Hello, my name is Paul. I am excited to have an opportunity to bring my skills to the Varsity Tutors team. I have nearly twenty years of experience in education, much of which has been one-on-one sessions. Through work with a private learning company, a private high school for learning differences, and my own referral business, I have tailored my skills and developed learning plans to meet the needs of dozens of students. My foundation is in remedial reading skills and pre-HS mathematics, but I also have a passion for social studies and geography, and a degree in biology, and have worked with students of all ages.
My daughter is home-schooled, but I have a good deal of flexibility in my schedule, especially in the summer. I hope to hear from anyone that may need extra help in subject areas or has a need to close significant gaps in reading skills.
Alfred University - Bachelors, Biology/Environmental Studies
College Level American History
Elementary School Math
High School English
High School Level American History
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
I have extensive experience using the Socratic method of teaching. This allows for guided questioning that facilitates self discovery from the student. I also believe it is important to use a multi-sensory approach tailored to the student's strengths.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would most likely gain a rapport by open discussions around our respective expectations and styles. We could then gain a comfortable entry point into the material and set a framework for our upcoming sessions.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I use the Socratic method to guide students with questions, thereby modeling the questions one can learn to ask themselves. This promotes self-discovery. Also, by helping a student build close reading skills, they will improve as autonomous learners.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By keeping the session positive and underscoring current progress, a student will stay encouraged and not overwhelmed.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would pause and spend more time finding out what the obstacles for the student are, and work to generate other approaches to demonstrating and helping the student discover the ideas in a way that will hold for them.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Depending on the level of struggle, I would help the student break down the text paragraph by paragraph or even sentence by sentence, looking at vocabulary and questioning the student on what the words mean to them or what they picture when they read these words, etc. I would then ask them to summarize manageable chunks of text before moving on to more.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Establishing a comfortable working rapport, and one that promotes confidence early is a key to continued motivation and success.