A photo of Caitlin, a tutor from Johns Hopkins University

Caitlin

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I am currently working toward my Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University with a minor in Entrepreneurship and Management. In my previous tutoring experience, I've worked with students of ages ranging from 10 to 18. While I tutor a broad range of subjects, my favorite to teach are Math, Chemistry, Physics, and Test Prep, because they provide the greatest problem solving challenges. I enjoy working through difficult problems with students, because I believe that with the right guidance, they are universally capable of rising to the challenge. Outside of academics, I enjoy dancing, listening to music, and photography.

Caitlin’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Johns Hopkins University - Bachelor of Science, Biomedical Engineering

Test Scores

ACT Composite: 34

ACT English: 34

ACT Math: 32

ACT Reading: 34

ACT Science: 35

SAT Composite: 2290

SAT Math: 730

SAT Verbal: 760

SAT Writing: 800

Hobbies

Dance, music, photography, running


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe in learning by doing. The more hands-on practice a student has, the better his or her understanding of the subject as a whole will be.

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

In a typical first session with a student, I like to discuss expectations and goals, so that we mutually understand what the student hopes to accomplish through our tutoring sessions. Additionally, I like to perform an assessment of the student's strengths and weaknesses in the tutoring subject, so that we can identify areas for improvement and specific skills and topics on which to focus.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I am a firm believer in teaching strategies for independent learning in addition to teaching subject material. Having worked with many students who have very different learning styles, I have identified specific strategies that suit each style. I make sure to implement these strategies in each tutoring session so that students may adopt learning techniques that carry them far beyond our tutoring sessions.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I find it very important to keep the student's goals in focus, to serve as motivation throughout our tutoring sessions. Furthermore, I am very attentive to a student's morale during sessions, and will adapt my teaching style as necessary to keep motivation levels high.

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

If a student has difficulty learning a specific skill or concept, I will change my approach to teaching it until he or she is able to better understand it. For example, I may switch from explaining the theory to providing practice problems to illustrate concepts, or I may relate the new concept to a concept that the student has already mastered. In the past, I have also provided resources for further reading and practice if the student wishes to spend additional time outside of our sessions.

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

One of my greatest strengths as a tutor is making difficult subjects exciting. For example, when teaching calculus or physics, I love helping my students understand how the concepts they are learning relate to the world around them. I have found that being able to see and appreciate the applications of what the student is learning makes him or her infinitely more engaged and excited to master the subject.

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

In order to make sure a student understands the material, I typically go beyond the surface level problem and ask challenge questions that probe deeper understanding.

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

In order to build a student's confidence in a subject, I will provide numerous practice problems. At first, I will help walk through the problems so that the student can understand the process; but as the student becomes more adept at solving the problem, I will encourage him or her to work it out with little or no assistance from me. In this way, the student will build independent problem solving capabilities and develop confidence in the subject as a whole.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Beginning tutoring sessions with a student, I first try to understand his or her goals. With that in mind, I evaluate the student's competencies in the subjects at hand to identify the areas in which improvement is needed.

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

I have tutored students of many ages and in many different subjects, so I understand that each student has very different needs. Upon evaluating and understanding the needs for a given student, I will adapt my tutoring style in terms of theory vs. application, explaining vs. practicing, and assurance of basic understanding vs. improvement through challenge problems.

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

Depending on the subject, I have a wide variety of textbooks, test prep books, and personal notes that I use during tutoring sessions to supplement the student's own books and worksheets. In the event that those materials don't fully cover the subject, I have used various online sources for detailed explanations of theory and additional practice problems.

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

In order to help students who are struggling with reading comprehension, I first focus on the more tangible concepts like vocabulary and sentence structure. Once the student has an understanding of those, I work on helping him or her develop an intuition for subtleties, such as the tone of the passage.

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

One of the strategies I find most helpful when I start to work with a student is giving a "diagnostic" set of practice problems and walking through the student's approach to understand his or her thought process and identify areas for improvement.