I spent five years in the Marine Corps as a Pashto Cryptologic Linguist. I attended the Defense Language Institute for two years to learn Pashto, an Afghan language. After I gained a certain degree of fluency in that language, I began tutoring other Marines, an experience which I deeply enjoyed. I'm a great tutor because I understand that everyone has difficulty with a few subjects, but through patience and dedicated effort those difficulties can be surmounted.
In the past, some courses have been difficult for me. However, I think that occasionally struggling with a particular subject can make a person really dig in and truly learn the material. I want to help students who are looking for tutoring because I've been where they are - I've wanted someone that could explain concepts simply, in plain English, with no condescension. That's the kind of tutor I strive to be, and I hope by being that tutor I can help you.
In my free time I love reading military memoirs and studying foreign languages.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I've struggled with subjects in the past - I try to be the tutor I wish I had; someone that's patient, sympathetic, explains topics clearly, and is never condescending.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Introduce myself, talk about particular concepts that are setting a student back, and try and create a clear path to total comprehension of the material.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
The most important step is probably commitment to good study habits; it's easier to learn some throughout the semester than all at the end. After that, I think developing an honest interest in the material is invaluable.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By setting clear goals that are challenging but that can be met, and working to reach those goals.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Sometimes it's best to take a step back and start from first principles to really see the context of a problem. Often taking a step back and examining the basics can inform more complex questions.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I have them put themselves in the author's shoes - what are they trying to say? What would they want to convey? Also, with foreign languages especially, context clues are a great resource.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I begin with an open mind, and try and forget my preconceived notions about what's difficult and what's easy. Each person is unique.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
If we're studying it today, odds are a subject is necessary in the real world and has broader use and utility. A quick look at what types of careers actually use a subject daily can be surprisingly invigorating.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I love flashcards. Also, explaining detailed concepts without notes.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
If small goals are set and met regularly, the confidence builds itself.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
A student motivated enough to seek out tutoring often understands their deficiencies and knows what they need to work on. For those that don't, though, it's good to focus on what their syllabus requires and use that as scaffolding to develop realistic goals.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I try and use the medium the student prefers. I love charts and tables, but some people prefer to hear information, especially with foreign languages. Others like to read material in paragraph form. I try to produce or find whatever material helps the most.