Throughout high school I excelled in my science classes, but it wasn't until my sophomore year in college that an Organic Chemistry professor pointed out my passion for chemistry .Shortly after that experience, I decided to immerse myself in the subject and thus graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry (coupled with substantial research experience).
Thankfully, I had the opportunity to tutor high school and college students while I completed my studies, which made me realize the importance of having a mentor that is willing to teach, guide, and encourage his/her students along the way. With that being said, I am happy to say that several of my students have moved on to medical school (while rocking their Chemistry classes!).
Chemistry may seem like a daunting subject at first, but I encourage all of my students to keep an open mind and give me the chance to show them how chemistry isn't so bad.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I'm a firm believer that motivating students is half the battle when it comes to teaching. The rest boils down to presenting material from different angles and showing them that knowledge can be extracted from failure.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Generally, I ask to see the student's notes and give them a quick assessment to gauge the nature of the "trouble spots."
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
The first step is to boost the student's confidence by showing him/her that he/she is capable of answering questions. The second step is to develop a studying plan catered to the student's type of learning (visual, auditory, etc.). Sharing studying tools and habits that helped me throughout college also helps younger students.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Encouragement is key in helping students stay motivated. Additionally, I find it helpful to start at a level of difficulty in which they feel comfortable, and slowly introduce more difficult problems.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Approaching problems from different angles tends to help with this. For example, switching from a "lecture type" approach to a more "hands-on"/ "experimental"/ "interactive" explanation helps students.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
First, I like to figure out what kind of learner the student is (visual, auditory, etc.), and from there I can plan specific example problems and ways in which to approach them. Another strategy is to make learning more enjoyable by relating classroom material to "outside" experiences, such as lab experiments I've performed, or "fun facts" that not many people know.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Analogies! Once I've covered enough material and the student seems to have a good understanding of it, I ask him/her to come up with an analogy and use it to explain that concept to me.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
It really depends on the type of learner that my student is. If they are interactive learners, I get creative and use models or everyday household items to explain concepts. For more traditional approaches, I am a fan of white paper and colorful pens/markers!