Teaching is a calling, not a profession. So is tutoring. To be a great tutor, one must not only have the necessary credentials, but also the commitment to each student to ensure that the student has confidence in the subject taught and the ability to use the content in a meaningful way in academia, test taking, and often in life.
I enjoy tutoring because I am able to explain complex theories to students in a straight-forward
and comprehensible way. I also very much enjoy teaching students to write clearly, incisively, and comprehensively.
Various learning styles exist in America's student population and I strive to ensure thatin tutoring sessions we use the most effective for each individual student. I go the extra mile and teach students to do so as well because that is what it takes to succeed.
University of Arizona - Bachelors, Broadcast Journalism - Marketing
Arizona State University - Masters, Juris Doctorate - law
High School English
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy consists of focusing on the individual needs of each student and ensuring that we spend our tutoring time wisely and effectively. Students must grasp key content to succeed on standardized tests. However, they must shine and expose their individuality on writing essays. Most importantly, students must communicate to succeed and that means clear expression verbally as well as in their writing. Reviewing has its place and, when necessary, we will re-visit lessons to ensure that students have grasped all of the content and then we will build on that comprehension by helping the student learn further content.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
After getting to know one another the first order of business is to ensure that the student's needs are met - we must make sure the content I focus on addressing the student's immediate need ("I have to get this essay written,") as well as the student’s long-term needs ("I will have to write an essay under time pressure in a standardized test or exam."). Our first session will ensure that we set goals for that and all other sessions and we will discuss short-term and long-term goals for the student. I will assess the student's learning style and go over the content of the subject that we will be focusing on in tutoring sessions. If possible, the student will have already given me some data and content regarding the course(s) that we are focusing on in tutoring sessions. Learning can be, and should be, low-stress and fun even though it is very hard work.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Encouraging independent learning starts with the first tutoring session. The student takes ownership of the content to be comprehended and the skill to be developed. My job is to teach content and facilitate the student's learning. A student should learn the textbook content and be able to amplify that learning in broader contexts. Technology is an obvious source of independent learning skills. An independent learner is a lifelong learner.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Each session with me will consist of feedback and strategy teaching to enable the student to gain confidence and ensure that both short-term and long-term goals are met. Learning can be, and should be, and with me will be, fun and engaging, not just drudgery and rote learning.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
We will approach different learning challenges from different angles. Perhaps an illustration of a problem that is not in the textbook will help the student grasp a concept. Repetition is also key to this challenge.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension can be addressed by ensuring that we are going slowly enough to make sure that the student is not overwhelmed. We can use real-life examples to augment our reading tasks. Many times if the student can verbally tell me what (s)he has read and then write it down and summarize it, we can ensure that the student has fully comprehended the content.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
A student needs to "buy in" to the learning process. Stated another way, we must ensure that the student cares about the learning so sometimes we have a conversation about why this all matters. Respecting a student is also key to ensuring that the student learns effectively from me. It is important to determine the student's current level of comprehension and ability and to build on that.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Success is thrilling and we are going to ensure that the student can succeed. We will start with baby steps and build from there and keep assessing skills to ensure that we are making gains in the student's comprehension and abilities.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
To ensure that a student understands the material, we will use practice sets and reviews, and small quizzes and exercises that take a student one step beyond the textbook. Those are all tools in the tool kit that the student and I share and, when properly employed, those tools will help make sure that the student comprehends the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Confidence comes with mastery of the material. We will use different skills assessments to make sure that the student has the content down. If a student can verbally explain to me the fundamental concepts and if the student can write about them, the student is becoming more and more confident about the subject.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
To evaluate a student's needs, I need student feedback, parent feedback at times, and sometimes, teacher feedback. It is interesting to have this conversation with a student because many times a student simply knows they need help with something but they are so overwhelmed they cannot define what components of a given subject are giving them trouble. We have a full conversation about this in our first session and ensure that we stay on top of the student's changing needs by taking the time to review assignments that were handed back, to take practice tests both in the class and from other sources and ensure that the student is meeting the necessary benchmarks for the given subject.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Everyone has a learning style and I ensure that we teach each student using the best learning style for that student. If a student has attention problems, we may use gross motor techniques to learn a skill. If a student has a need for creativity, there are a myriad of ways to learn even mundane content in creative ways.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
First, we focus on what the student must know in the class at hand if the tutoring session is class-related. Supportive materials abound and I find the best ones to tailor the learning to the student's needs. If the tutoring session focuses on writing skills, I have many resources to teach a student to write clearly and comprehensively.