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Siobhan

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I am a Middle School Science Teacher. I am dedicated to my students and their success. I have a B.S. in Biology and an M.T. in Secondary Education from VCU.

Siobhan’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Virginia Commonwealth University - Bachelor of Science, Biology, General

Graduate Degree: Virginia Commonwealth University - Masters, Secondary Science Teaching

Hobbies

Teaching, eating fancy foods, playing with my dog, riding my bike

Tutoring Subjects

4th Grade Science

5th Grade Math

5th Grade Science

6th Grade Math

6th Grade Science

7th Grade Math

7th Grade Science

8th Grade Math

Algebra

Algebra 2

Biology

College Algebra

College Biology

Elementary School Math

Elementary School Science

Evolution

General Biology

Gifted

High School Biology

High School Chemistry

Homework Support

Life Sciences

Math

Middle School Math

Middle School Science

Other

Science

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization

Summer


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe that there are struggles and inequalities in our society that can only be alleviated through education. It is my philosophy as a teacher to provide students with the skills and tools they need to succeed in a rapidly changing world that is often cruel and unfair. I believe that many of the aspects that make a great scientist can be incorporated in the classroom, which will create an effective learning environment. Some of these traits include the ability to observe and discover, the ability to create and innovate, being engaged with your work, being safe in the laboratory, and encouraging others to take part in your work. It is important for me to observe my students in order to discover things about their personalities, their personal struggles, how they learn, and what their interests are. By learning these things about my students, I will be able to help them discover how the world works by creating lessons that interest them and pertain to their lives. I believe that it is important to continue to reflect on my lessons, modify them, and do research to find new innovative ways to teach more effectively. Being innovative in the classroom is a trait that I can pass on to my students. Every student has the ability to create, think critically, be innovative, and be inventive if given the proper tools. By using new teaching methods and new technology tools, I will be able to provide students with the skill set they will need to succeed in our technology-based society. In order to make students excited to learn, I must walk into the classroom excited to teach. I also need to make sure that what I am teaching is engaging and will keep the students' interests and attention. Engagement with material is a crucial part of retention and understanding. In order to make engaging lessons, I will have to learn about the students' lives so that I can incorporate things that affect them personally but also relate to the curriculum. It is also very important to create a safe working environment when working with chemicals or breakable materials. This idea of safety can be transferred to the fact that it is important to create a safe atmosphere in the classroom that will make the students feel comfortable with coming to school and will allow them to flourish in their academic setting. Providing a warm environment where students are allowed to express their feelings and struggles is a vital feature of a safe classroom where students will want to come to learn. Scientists often encourage and influence each other's work to promote further scientific investigation. This is a practice I will implicate in my science classroom in order to promote further scientific learning. Encouraging students and reinforcing their successes and hard work is a practice that I will use in order to promote positive feelings about learning and performing in school. It helps students who have negative connotations about school or about science to think differently and see themselves as someone who can be successful with hard work and perseverance.

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

I would first try to break the ice with them and learn about them as a person. I would get to know the things they are interested in so that I can use those interests when creating learning materials. I would also try to figure out how this student learns best by giving them a short assessment about their learning style. I would ask what they felt they needed help with and what they felt they didn't need help with. I would ask them about what their other strengths were as well in order to use that information to create lessons and to reference when giving positive reinforcements.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

By teaching students the skills they need to possess to be an independent learner. I believe that organizational, time management, and self-management skills are necessary. I also believe that students need to have an internal motivation in order to fuel their independent learning. They have to want to do it. Different students are motivated by different things, and I would have to figure out what the motivator for each individual would be.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Creating a clear message about the importance of education and using positive reinforcements that focus on what the student is doing well, as well as incorporating important things from the student's life into the lesson, would help motivate the student to continue to work and achieve.

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

I would figure out a way to teach it to them in a different manner. I would try to come up with other mechanisms the concept was like. I would find materials that help teach the concept in different ways, and I would try to figure out exactly where the student was struggling or unclear.

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

By incorporating reading skills into my lessons and activities. Science has a lot of difficult words, and I try to break down the words and pair them with pictures to help the students understand what they mean. I also put hints and clues in reading materials I provide to help students focus on the important messages they are reading. Assessments and reflection activities help students to put together and think about the things they are reading as well.

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

Building a relationship with them is the most important part of teaching and learning.

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

I would emphasize why the subject was important to them personally, or to the world as a whole. I would start the lessons with overarching questions about why it is necessary to learn and explain that the answer to that is not just to pass a test. I also think that demonstrations and hands-on inquiry activities help get students excited and engaged in learning.

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

I would create assessments that I know would allow the student to truly express what they have learned. I would have them draw pictures, answer questions, and think about the concepts on a deeper or more complex level.

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

Telling a student that they are capable is important. Breaking the material down into smaller pieces and allowing the student to succeed can build their confidence. Incorporating things that they do have confidence in with the subject is also important.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Communication with their teachers and parents helps to initiate this process. Talking to the student about where they are struggling is the next step. Looking at previous work and discussing learning styles with the student helps as well.

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

It would depend on the student and their specific needs. If they need more visuals, I will provide more visuals. If the student needs help with reading comprehension, I will focus on that.

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

Textbooks, Internet, visuals, videos, and practice problems, etc.