Hello, my name is Ashley! I am a May 2014 graduate from North Carolina State University. I majored in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Integrative Physiological Neurobiology. I also minored in History. I am a Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools science teacher at Harding University High School. I have taught Earth Science for 9th grade, Physical Science for 10th grade and Biology for 11th grade over a span of 1.5 years and I plan to continue in education. I have done outstanding on observations as a beginning teacher. I enjoy teaching both science and history and making it relatable and mostly enjoyable for students. These subjects can be considered difficult or boring and that is why I teach and want to tutor! I believe there is no subject too hard if taught properly. I keep my students engaged and motivated. I have tutored family, friends, students and peers and now want to teach my community. I aspire to make the change on how students value their education. I am dedicated to the enhancement of student learning and personal development. I plan to use what I have gained in my teaching career and tailor it toward the one-on-one experience with the students I tutor.
North Carolina State University at Raleigh - Bachelors, Biological Sciences - Integrative Physiological Neurobiology
What is your teaching philosophy?
My philosophy on teaching is that every student has the capability to learn and grasp information. I want the students that I teach to have a life-long passion for learning. I do not force my students to learn, I teach them how to learn. Teaching them how to learn allows them to take that skill to any subject or class they may be taking. I also model for my students the type of learner that I am by completing activities with them and asking questions to check for understanding. This inspires them to be sure to check for understanding within themselves before moving forward. Teaching or tutoring a student should be structured and geared toward their personal learning ability. Making the lesson fun and interactive allows the student to gain the drive to learn.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session with a student, I get to know that student. I ask them about their interest, hobbies, favorite subject in school, etc. I also share the same information about myself with the students. With every class that I have taught, I require students to fill out a VARK survey that helps me to identify what type of learner they are. I also complete the survey with the student so we can learn from each other's learning styles. I also give the student a pre-assessment to see what they know and what we need to focus on during our time together.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I help students become independent learners by giving them the tools on how to learn. An example would be using literacy. No matter the subject we are studying, it involves literacy ability. I require my students to annotate their reading, highlight key words, define vocabulary and answer essential questions--this is something we do at the beginning of each unit to be taught. This allows them to get into a natural flow of how we will operate and also structured and deductive thinking. It also allows for the student to see the connectivity between what has been read, annotated and described, and what it needs to be applied to. I also teach students the importance of organization. I teach students to categorize their lessons in a folder or a binder to help keep things alike together; they will essentially build a guide as they go along. This allows them to go back and see how they connected their thoughts before. When a student asks me for help, I will require them to commit to researching the answer themselves and attempting it. Most of the time, the answer lies within our annotated reading, notes, vocabulary or basic unit work. I ask the student to work through the problem 3 to 5 times before I intervene. Once they have tried this and if it is wrong, I provide my students with feedback. This feedback includes hints like vocabulary words, notes, or resources leading them to the correct answer. Once this habit is formed, the student learns to be independent.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation must first come from being inspired. Students need positivity at all times. Of course, they will hear where they have done wrong or what they have done wrong, but the key is that I show them their strength and how it can be used to correct what is wrong. Most students like a sense of control and responsibility, and getting to know my students allows me to relate to them (that's what they need most.) Being excited about what I teach is also motivation for students.
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 scaffold the lesson to tailor to their needs. I ask the student what exactly is causing their confusion. I find that it is not the content itself but rather how the content is presented to them. I study their VARK scores to determine what type of learner they are, and how I can approach their difficulty. I would require the student to go back to their basics such as vocabulary words, pictures and diagrams, notes, and annotated reading. Those are the roots to learning a new skill or concept. I would then present the information in a different way than originally presented. One way I have helped students get past a skill or concept that seemed difficult to them is by allowing them to plan the lesson for the day and become the teacher. In their own guided research, they find answers to the questions they may have had.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
There are many ways to help students who are struggling with reading comprehension. One way that I use is to chunk the material and allow them to read it in sections verses in 10 to 15 sentence paragraphs or essays. This allows them to digest the material in smaller segments. I often tell them to annotate their reading with this as well. I ask them to put an exclamation point if they found what they read to be cool or exciting, a heart if they loved what they read, and a question mark if what they read confused them or if they had a question about it. They are required to write that question down on a sheet of paper, sticky note or a note card. They must read through all of the chunked material and if they have found their answer, they will write it on that same note card. I also ask them to underline any key vocabulary words they may see or may not know.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would help a student get excited and engaged with a subject that they are struggling in by relating it back to their lives. For instance, I teach biology. This can be a difficult subject to get students involved with, but it is literally the study of life making it easy to relate. I as a teacher must be excited about the subject to inspire students to be just as motivated. Students get bored with just writing and using pencil and paper. Allowing students to express their creativity by using experiments, project-based learning. Project-based learning allows the student to be hands-on with learning new skills on concepts. They get to build their sense of confidence with the knowledge without me being so much involved.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Techniques I would use to be sure that a student understands the material are mini-assessments, worksheets, projects, multiple choice practice, short answers, and essay practice. Students need justification as to why the material is important. This can involve finding articles, the news, or videos to relate to the material we are learning; reviewing is important here as well. There is a foundation built on previously learned information that will help the students bring to mind the concepts and skills needed to tackle the new material. Repetition is also a great tool. I will give the student the new material in a variety of context and applications. We start off with very simple exercises to help gain confidence within the student and progress to more difficult exercises.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I build a student's confidence in a subject by starting our lesson with easy examples that a student can understand with little to no new concepts to be taught. We will add more information as we progress to allow the student's confidence to grow. Showing my student their strength will boost their confidence as we move along through the subject.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I evaluate a student's needs by continuously assessing them. These are not formal assessments. This could be as simple as asking a student the essential question we are talking about in our session, requiring them to answer an exit ticket, practice questions or asking them if they can explain to me in 3 to 5 sentences what we have learned.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I adapt my tutoring to the student's needs based on their VARK scores. VARK allows me to get to know that type of learner my student is such as visual, auditory, reading, writing, or kinesthetic. I provide all types of learning styles to my lessons. Some students are categorized in multiple learning styles so I blend them when need be.