I am a certified elementary teacher with a Masters Degree in Elementary Education. I am also a professional tutor with 7 years of experience teaching early literacy, reading, writing, ESL, Spanish literacy, and mathematics (elementary mathematics, geometry, and Algebra). I also have experience tutoring adults going for teacher certification tests, ASVAB, as well as GED.
For many, tutoring is a part time whatever job to gain extra income, but for me tutoring has become something I really love to do. I have the patience, and creativity to teach many different types of learning styles.
Hillsdale College - Bachelors, Spanish
University of California-Riverside - Masters, General Education
College World History
Elementary School Math
High School English
High School World History
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
Every student I teach is a unique individual with his or her own unique learning styles. It is my job as a teacher to guide the student through the material in a way that is most accessible to that student. There is no set way to look at a concept, or a set formula for approaching a subject.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session with a student, I would typically get to know the student by asking them about their learning preferences, what they hope to get out of tutoring, and most importantly set goals for our sessions.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By giving them the tools to navigate the obstacles that they are likely to come upon. Knowing how to break down and structure reading analysis or knowing the process for solving a problem you can't understand (through my problem solving model I teach) are important skills the student can take with them.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Breaking a problem, any problem, into smaller parts is the best way to keep a student from feeling overwhelmed. Allowing the student to leave the concept and come back to it, taking frequent brain breaks, figuring out a unique way to approach the problem are all ways that I usually work with students on especially difficult subjects that they are more likely to give up on. Also, if a particular subject is something a student does not like, I attempt to find aspects of the subject that the student may be more interested in. For example, I have a dyslexic student that "hates reading", but getting to know her I learned that she loves to hear and tell stories. What we do is we look at the subject matter we are about to read, I allow her to tell me what she knows about the subject, and what is or isn't interesting perhaps. I also choose reading that she is more likely to be interested in.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Instead of trying to power through a subject, I work with the student to come up with another way to explain the material. For instance, if a student is more of a visual learner in mathematics, I will take that concept and utilize real world objects or drawings to illustrate the concept. That usually helps them at least understand the reasoning behind a particular strategy or formula.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Setting the student up with a strategy for how to approach reading and note taking based on reading is of the utmost importance. With that scaffolding, the student is able to analyze the piece more confidently, and at the very least leaves evidence of their thinking on paper.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Getting to know a student's learning preferences and abilities goes the farthest in creating a successful framework from which to work with the student.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Not everyone loves math. Not everyone loves reading, but there is always something that a student is interested in that could be connected in some way to their subject matter. Allowing the student to share their interests helps me connect what motivates them outside of academics with the subject matter at hand. For example, I have a student who absolutely loathes reading, but he loves Where's Waldo books. When working on word recognition or comprehension, I will create a sort of "game" that has to do with finding that "needle in a haystack".
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
The answer to this question varies, because each student is unique. As a teacher, I pride myself on my ability to adapt to a student's preferences and needs. Differentiating a variety of ways to approach a subject is an important skill to have.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
By taking small steps and breaking up the subject matter into easily digestible parts, as the student gains mastery in each of these parts, they build confidence that they can master the total subject. For example, for a student who has problems with reading comprehension, we first pinpoint accessible information the student can glean merely from skimming and note taking. Teaching the student to expertly pinpoint text features, important dates, times, locations, and people, allow the student to grasp the context of the piece before he or she sits down to read it. We then have a discussion about what we know about the background to this reading piece. We skim together again and take a look at (and underline) those words or phrases that look (with just a skim) to be difficult. We go over those first before we sit down to read. By the time the student reads, even if they have difficulty, they have already become "experts" at the context and the background. By the time we discuss summarizing and inference meaning, the student is much more likely to be able to confidently summarize their reading.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I take into account a student's background, learning preferences, as well as myself (if called for) informally or formally assess a student's academic ability in whichever particular subject matter we are working with.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
As I become familiar with a student's ability and learning style, I try my best to match the method of my explanation/lesson with the student's needs. For example, if a student is needing more visual examples, or perhaps needs to hold and touch a real world object say, in mathematics, I gear my lesson towards those types of examples.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
In a reading lesson, if it's to do with the mechanics of reading the words, I bring whiteboards for both of us to work with. I also bring vocabulary cards, paper, pencil, or anything that would allow us to write and deconstruct words. With mathematics, depending on the level of math, I have my own kit that contains counting blocks, 3 dimensional objects, measuring tools, calculators, and graphing paper. These are mainly physical visual aids. It all depends on, however, the student's needs. Sometimes I even bring in my laptop or extra tablets to work with a student digitally with several academic games and programs I have access to. If I am tutoring the student online, there are video aids or drawing tools that will help the student.