I have enjoyed tutoring since I first began in middle school. I started by helping a handful of my siblings friend's in basic mathematics and I just haven't stopped. Since then, I have branched out to history, science, and the language arts. I have tutored throughout my high school and undergraduate career in a variety of subject with students who are just as unique. I have experience with children as young as 5 and adults as old as 50. Whether it be working through physics equations or writing a persuasive essay, I really love to help other people learn. Education has always been a passion of mine and passing that passion to others is an overwhelmingly positive experience for me.
Baylor University - Bachelors, Anthropology
What is your teaching philosophy?
Master fundamentals, then build up.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would spend some time getting to know the student on a personal level and then slowly start shifting the conversation towards how they feel about the subject we are studying. What do they feel are their strengths and weaknesses? What are some things they think they need more practice on? Is there an area that they need some clarification in? I usually ask these questions as we go over the student's previously completed work and point out areas of potential growth.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Part of my teaching approach involves imparting the student with the knowledge and resources to look things up on their own. By doing this, I hope that when the student faces difficulty in learning they can approach their problems with confidence because they understand how to use their textbook, the internet, and other guides to help themselves.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I often find that the best way to keep students motivated is to make sure the student is having a good time. If you foster a positive relationship, then they want to do well. Similarly, I think taking scheduled breaks are just as important as the actual learning process. When a student is struggling with the same problem for 20 minutes and they have lost all hope, I find that taking a 5-minute breather and talking to them about something unrelated to academics really helps them start up again with a positive attitude.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I start rewinding. What that means is, I stop where we are in the learning process and make sure that all of the fundamentals of whatever subject it is we are studying are completely comprehended by the student. Say we are working on the problem 9/3=3 and the student just does not understand. I ask them if the symbols make sense. If yes, then I ask if they understand that 3x3=9. I try to break things down into their component parts so that we can easily identify the specific point where the student's understanding starts to wane.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I have worked with students in this capacity in a number of ways. Sometimes diagraming the sentence really helps, other times the student needs a more vocabulary based approach or maybe the student just needs to take the time to read the passage out loud and slowly. I utilize these techniques and more until I arrive at one that seems to work for the student.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I have found that keeping things lighthearted is of paramount importance - especially for younger students who may not want to be spending their free time with a tutor. Staying positive and constantly reminding the student of his or her strengths and how much progress they have made really boosts their confidence, and in turn makes them more susceptible to learning.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I make the subject apply to their everyday life. If they see an area that they could personally benefit in daily by mastering the subject at hand, they usually motivate themselves.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I am a big fan of repetition. I am always asking my students to recount formulas, recite definitions, or summarize information. I also make sure that the student feels comfortable at any point asking any questions.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I like to remind them of how far they have come already. If they see that just by being in their grade or age group, they have already mastered thousands of concepts they feel unstoppable.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I keep the lines of communication open at all times. I make a habit of asking if they understand what it is I am saying or if they understand certain concepts. They can stop me at any time and tell me to slow down or ask for an alternative explanation. Sometimes if a student is not particularly forthcoming about their needs, I like to make at least three suggestions of things I think might be more helpful and have the student pick one to try.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Again, I believe this aspect of tutoring is all about communication. Maybe I am being too loud and it would make them more comfortable if I whispered, or maybe their parent sitting at the table with us is too stressful. I try to talk to the student about his or her needs and then adjust my teaching style and the environment accordingly.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I am a big fan of whiteboards and good old-fashioned pencils and paper. Sometimes I use a computer or laptop.