I recently attended Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and graduated May of 2014 with a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering. Not only did I graduate with an engineering degree, I also got invaluable experience as a tutor at Rose-Hulman's Homework Hotline. With the simple tools I had available to me: pen, paper, books, and a microphone I was able to help literally hundreds of students conquer math questions they never thought they could, and helped these students not only finish their homework, but assist them in obtaining a firm grasp on the topic, essential for long term success. Because of the large diversity of students I tutored, K-Senior in College, I learned how to communicate with students on a multitude of different levels. There is no one student alike, and it is the tutors responsibility to adapt and offer the best tutoring experience, and this is what I have excelled at!
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
To enable the students, I tutor to not only get better grades and a better understanding of the material but also to develop long term success.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would first get a firm grasp on what the student is struggling with and where their strengths are, and I'd ensure that I adapt my tutoring style to the student's learning style.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
When tutoring, it is important to not just help the student with their homework but teach them good study habits and make sure they grasp the fundamentals of the subject. This is my main objective so that they, the student, can be successful independent of me.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation can be created in a multitude of ways. The main way to keep a student motivated is to let them think on their own, but teeter the fine line between thinking and frustration. As soon as a student gets frustrated, they shut down, and this must be avoided.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
The first thing to do is find out what the student knows well and then build on that. If that means relearning the fundamentals, then that's what is necessary for them to be successful.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Because I used to struggle with this as well, it's very easy to help. My strategy has always been to dissect the question. Write down what the question tells you, and write down what you don't know. The provided information will speak for itself.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Not jumping right into a problem is the most successful strategy. It's hard for a student to trust a stranger, so it's my goal to get to know my student and for them to get to know me. Trust must be established before a student will open up.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
The easiest way to get excited about something is if you understand it. Starting at the very beginning of the topic and building a firm base is the only way to get a student excited and engaged.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
A lot of times it's useful to make the student make up some practice problems for me. If they can create a problem, solve it out, and check MY work, then we have succeeded.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Don't give the student the most difficult problem first. If they can solve a problem, they feel confident, and are more likely to move on to more difficult questions.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
The easiest way is to ask them. Even the best tutor isn't telepathic! You have to open up an avenue of communication so they feel comfortable telling you what they don't know.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
The best way is to ask them: How do you normally study? If they respond, "I really don't," or something to that effect, then I start with visual learning and move on from there. If a student tells me how they study, that's where we start, but that doesn't mean it can't change.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Honestly what got me through Engineering at Rose-Hulman was scouring the Internet. You can almost be 100% sure that someone out there has the same problem you do, or there is a simple formula just a click away. Alongside the student's book, the Internet and a simple search is very powerful.