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Courtney

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I've had experience tutoring at Kumon Learning Center where I had to engage and encourage multiple students - whose ages ranged from 3 to 15 - at a time. I spent two years tutoring SAT Verbal, Writing and Reading Comp strategies at Karen Dillard's College Prep. I also privately tutored my peers in Spanish while I was an undergraduate at the University of Dallas. One-on-one tutoring provides students with an opportunity to receive the extra instruction and attention that they don't always receive in a classroom setting. There is nothing more frustrating than struggling to understand new concepts and new materials that everyone in your class already understands. As a former Spanish major in a classroom full of native Spanish-speakers, I absolutely can relate to this feeling.

As a tutor I make my sessions something the student looks forward to and doesn't dread. I am charismatic and approachable, and I make sure that the student feels comfortable asking questions or for further clarification, and that he or she feels comfortable making mistakes. I am an avid believer in positive reinforcement. Maintaining the student's attention and enthusiasm is a priority for making my tutoring sessions effective and fruitful.

Courtney’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Dallas - Bachelor in Arts, Spanish

Graduate Degree: The University of Texas at Dallas - Master of Arts, Humanities/Literary Translation

Hobbies

Cooking, running, football season, travelling, reading and writing, chasing around my toddler!

Tutoring Subjects

ACT English

ACT Reading

ACT Writing

History

AP Spanish Language & Culture

AP Spanish Literature and Culture

College English

College Essays

College Level American History

Comparative Literature

Conversational Spanish

English

English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

High School English

High School Level American History

Languages

Literature

Other

Reading

SAT Reading

SAT Writing and Language

Social studies

Spanish

Spanish 1

Spanish 2

Spanish 3

Spanish 4

Summer

Test Prep

Writing


Q & A

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

In the first session, I like to get to know my students as people: hobbies and interests, family life, etc. I also want my students to know more about me. We then begin to discuss the student's goals: what does he or she want to get out of our sessions? We set a few short-term goals for each additional session until we meet whatever long-term goal we have established.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Practice and more practice. I will not always provide answers. Students will have to learn to research on their own, or come up with original responses.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Take a 5 minute break! Learning is not a rushed process. It takes time and frustration, but also commitment. If my student reaches a point where he wants to stop, then we will stop briefly. Step away from the material, and come back to it later.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

I explain it in my terms and have the student explain it to me in his/her own terms. Difficulty understanding a concept is not a crime. It's ok if something does not click immediately. Perhaps we will move on to the next step before our ideas come together.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

I have my students repeat back to me, or write down, summaries of what they have read. Typically, we take it a couple of paragraphs at a time, or pages at a time, chapters at a time, etc.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

Having the student engage in a conversation is the beginning. My sessions are about a back-and-forth. I am not the only one sitting there yapping about a topic. I expect my students to communicate back to me, and once they feel more confident using their voices, they tend to feel more comfortable asking questions, or even explaining concepts on their own.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

Students typically dislike a subject because they don't understand it or it doesn't interest them. If they don't understand it, we correct that first. If it simply does not interest them, I make it interesting by having them explain concepts or ideas to me.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

Assigning tasks or "homework" is helpful - not hours worth of homework, but little things, like keeping a log/diary of their activities, or having them write down questions they have as they work on school assignments. This way, they stay engaged in their studies, and we can locate where they struggle.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Repetition! Reviewing material we have covered helps them hold on to the knowledge we have established. Once they start to build on a foundation, they feel more confident in a subject.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I ask them. Again, what are your goals? What do you hope to get out of our sessions? What do you hope to get out of this course? What is the best way that you learn?

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

I am personable. I am also approachable. It's not only students I adapt to - but people in general. Sometimes people are quieter or more shy; others might be more extroverted and want to talk more. I sense a student's personality and adapt accordingly.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

Anything from the student's school textbooks/worksheets, materials I have collected throughout college and grad school and beyond, things I pick up from Half Price Books, Internet material, etc.

What is your teaching philosophy?

Teaching is a conversation. It is not simply one person speaking while others listen and take notes. It has to be a constant back-and-forth, a repetition of facts or ideas, and an overall comprehension of the session.