My name is Alfredo Jesus Barragan, but most call me "AJ" or "Mr. B". I was born and raised in South Texas, San Antonio to be exact. I am a veteran of the US Air Force. I am a fourth generation Hispanic citizen and a first generation college graduate. I hold multiple college degrees. I am a very energetic and motivated person. I am always positive even when approaching a task that I really do not want to do. I sincerely believe that there are opportunities in every adventure and adventures occur every day.
I am currently a teacher in the Pflugerville Independent School District. I will be starting my 4th year as a k-12 teacher. Prior to this, my teaching experience stems from being a volunteer GED instructor for two years as well as an Air Force Technical instructor for two years.
I am a great tutor because I am very personable and design lessons which relate to students. My current teaching position involves me working with "at-risk" youth and due to the nature of the position I have experience in working with all types of learners. I am very strong willed, organized and punctual.
In my free time I enjoy carpentry, being outdoors and exercising.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Park University - Bachelor of Science, Management
Graduate Degree: Texas A&M Corpus Christi - Masters, Business Administration & Secondary Education
Carpentry, outdoors, exercising
College Level American History
College World History
High School Business
High School Economics
High School Geography
High School Level American History
High School World History
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My instruction methodology will vary depending on the classroom and students. I make it a point to not pin myself down to a particular style because teaching is situational. Learning or the act of learning is an unstoppable force and will happen with or without a teacher. It then becomes the teacher's role to shape the act of learning in useful ways for the student. I believe that school is for everyone, and its purpose is to enlighten. As a whole, society benefits from education by enriching and increasing the knowledge of the people. When people are more highly educated, they have a higher earning potential, will have a greater acceptance of diversity, and be able to make rational decisions better. At the local level, an education empowers students, giving them the tools they need to be who they want to be. I also place great emphasis on the question of "why?" It is my firm belief that the answers to this particular question are a powerful motivational tool. When the question of "why" is answered properly, it has the greatest chance of exciting and motivating students. Once the student is motivated, the rest will fall into place. I believe the acceptance of diversity must be taught in schools in whatever method it takes for the student to understand it. I think the impact of incorporating different cultures into the educational system can be a bumpy process, but the benefits are exponential. In truth, teachers are simply another level of student. Teachers are endowed with the same benefits students are given. I believe teachers must genuinely care about enriching people's lives to have any success within the profession. I believe monetary gain must never be the primary goal of any educator. The key to financial success is to not work for your money but to make your money work for you; an educator should believe this. I do not believe higher teachers' salaries will solve the problem of educational inadequacy. This act will only attract those who are wanting money not those who care about educating the younger generation. I believe everyone is entitled to respect and dignity. Even when a student has violated procedures in my classroom, no belittling or diminishment of a spirit shall take place. I believe in public praise and private admonishment. It takes many people to raise a child; along with this, teachers are a large part of a child's development. I would not go as far as to say, I am on par with the parents, but I will say there needs to be teamwork between the parents of my students and myself to better provide support for the maturing child. Colleagues, too, are part of this team. If everyone helps everyone, then everyone benefits. Professionally, I am on a continuous development cycle that will never end. I have been a full time college student for eight years now and show no signs of slowing down. Soon my development will switch venues to the classroom. I believe teachers must be there for their students and deserve as much of the teachers attention as possible. I will enrich my teaching skills to the point where I would be comfortable enough to advance the educational community ladder to department head, assistant principal, and principal. I believe it is difficult to pin down a specific philosophy I identify with. I believe learning is an inexorable force. People will learn in any situation under any circumstance. As a teacher, it is my duty to shape this force within the student into a successful cognitive mass, so the student may enrich themselves, and possibly others. Along with this idea, I believe students need a great deal of structure over the course of their education. This structure will be my tool to guide students to their own perspective educational goals.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Get to know the students, their personality, as well as their background. Most importantly, I would find out what the student expected out of tutoring sessions, where their weaknesses and strengths are, and where they would like to go educationally.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Independent learning occurs when enough skills are provided so the student can teach themselves. Giving a man a fish feeds him for a day; teaching him how to fish feeds him for life.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By always reminding them to keep the end in sight and always celebrate success.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Break it down to its simplest level and relate it piece by piece, utilizing knowledge the student already has mastered.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
With difficult words, be sure to define them and explain the concepts. Reading skills only get better with practice, so I would also recommend recreational reading material and holding discussions regarding various topics.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Seek to understand the student first, then for the student to understand me. I will always get to know the student to aid in the effectiveness of tutoring.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Celebrate success and always hold goals in sight and look back at past accomplishments.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Frequent formative assessments and checks for understanding in various formats. Multiple choice as a last result.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Look back into the past, I would make visual all the progress a student has made, not just in the one subject, but in all that they have done.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Evaluation of a student's need is based on performance of designed tasks and pre-assessments of course content.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I am a very flexible teacher. Adaptation to student needs is only accomplished once the needs are identified. For most adaption, I would leverage a student's strengths to better address their weaknesses.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Depending on the tutoring environment, I would use everything from computers and smart boards to a good old fashioned pencil and paper.