Whether you come to me for a single session or we meet every week for a semester, I believe the first step to success with tutoring is to work together to set clear expectations. This lets us work toward the same goal, and makes it simple to set milestones to get there. Any problem area in any subject can be broken into smaller and smaller pieces, until suddenly you realize there was never a problem to begin with.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Arizona State University - Bachelor in Arts, Theater
ACT Composite: 33
ACT English: 34
ACT Math: 33
ACT Reading: 34
ACT Science: 32
Theater, video design, generative media design, haikus
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Whether you come to me for a single session or we meet every week for a semester, I believe the first step to success with tutoring is to work together to set clear expectations. This lets us work toward the same goal, and it makes it simple to set milestones to get there. Any problem area in any subject can be broken into smaller and smaller pieces until suddenly you realize there was never a problem to begin with.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would ask the student and the parents about their expectations coming into the session. I would ask the student where they feel their strengths and weaknesses are in the given subject and work through some practice problems to get a feel for their learning style.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Independent learners are just students who have been taught strategies to self-regulate during study time. If a student seems to lose focus easily while we're working together, I might ask them to work independently on a problem for a set amount of time and then have them teach the material to me. If you find a way to make the student feel a sense of challenge, they're much less likely to get distracted.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I am a fan of the "Pomodoro Technique," which uses a timer to split each half hour of the session into a 25 minute work period followed by a 5 minute break. The promise of a short respite helps students power through distractions, and the break helps ward off frustration.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Every concept is built on smaller, simpler concepts. Most often difficulty arises from just not knowing how to put the smaller pieces together. If we take a difficult problem and work backwards, we're never far from a set of concepts that the student can grasp and use to better understand what's happening.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
My steps are usually something like: 1. Identify the difficult part of the passage. 2. Read it aloud. 3. Which word or phrase makes it hard? 4. Look back in the passage for clues. 5. Put it in your own words.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
It's important that you and the student talk about expectations during the first session so that both of you are working towards the same goals. Students can often tell you what they're good at, and a few practice problems together can identify where they need help.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Find a connection between the student's own interests and hobbies and the subject at hand. Sometimes this is obvious, and sometimes it is not, but there's always a connection. There is no human activity on earth that is free from math or that can't offer reading material.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
1. Make a list of all the main concepts to be covered. 2. Put together a problem set that tests each of these concepts. 3. Evaluate the results and talk to the student about weak areas.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
1. Relate new concepts back to ones the student is already comfortable with. 2. Provide positive reinforcement when the student succeeds. 3. Provide positive reinforcement when the student struggles, but shows positive work habits.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I ask. If a student has been struggling in a class, they will very likely be able to tell me where the difficulty is. If the problem isn't a particular concept, I'll observe what their study habits are and where there is room for improvement.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I can throw out all of the lesson plan that doesn't address areas of difficulty if a student has a particular problem. I can work from areas of strength into areas of difficulty if a student is easily discouraged. I can walk around the block if the student needs kinesthetic stimuli to read.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Hi-liters, scratch paper, pencils, a calculator, and a reference sheet for math formulas. For an in-person session, I'd only use my laptop if it proved absolutely necessary.