I recently graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor's Degree in Biochemistry, and a minor in Psychology. During my time at Syracuse, I enjoyed tutoring Organic Chemistry for 2 years--and most importantly, my students claim that I actually taught them something!
Organic Chemistry is my favorite subject, with Biochemistry closing in at a close second, and I think my passion for the subject is evident in my teaching methods. I encourage a great deal of hands-on problem-solving, with an emphasis of WHY the mechanism occurs as it does. Wherever applicable, I suggest the usage of molecular models to support the visual aspect of Organic Chemistry, because, after all, to deal with molecules is to deal with physical entities whose physical geography matters.
I aim to make Organic Chemistry fun, and most of all, to make it stick. While I haven't formally tutored Biochemistry, Biology, or Psychology, I've assisted several friends in those subjects, and am knowledgeable enough to tutor them.
Q & A
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Show them the method behind finding the answer, and encourage them to do the thinking themselves.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I usually try to teach the same concept using a different approach: if I've only been verbalizing, perhaps I'll draw a diagram, or pull up a good video.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Get to know the student as a person, how they learn best, and what exactly they have trouble with.
What is your teaching philosophy?
Help the student rely on me less.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Acquaint myself with how my student learns best.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I have enough enthusiasm that it usually rubs off on my students; I don't have to do much extra!
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
For organic chemistry, I love to use molecular models. Students can engage with the material on a deeper level, and that helps them understand why molecules behave the way they do.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Within the first hour of working with a student, I just pick up how their brain works through the problems. This has come with experience for me.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Depends on the student. If the goal is to finish online homework, then we need a computer for sure. I also ALWAYS use pen and paper, because drawing molecules is so much simpler than thinking about them in your head. They come alive on paper, and mechanisms are much more fluid. I also tend to use model kits if appropriate.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I've gotten pretty good at detecting when a student requires me to draw something in addition to verbalizing, so if that's the case, I make sure to draw diagrams of what I'm talking about. If they need more animation, I put on a play, for lack of a better description.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I don't deal with reading comprehension. Most of my students just need help with understanding how molecules dance.