I firmly believe that with the proper direction, anyone can learn once they accept the fact that true knowledge can only be achieved by struggling and persevering through the challenges that are presented. I am a compassionate lifelong learner with years of experience in the areas of training and personnel development, who understands the significance of connecting life experiences to the acceptance of new information. I have a bachelor’s degree in finance from DePaul University and over 14 years of management experience. Thus, my ability to identify problem area and help students to relate the subject matter to something that they already have an awareness of, is the skill that makes me a great tutor. I’m currently in the midst of a career change working toward a master’s degree in secondary education, in the area of mathematics, so that I can actively join the fight to help educate today’s youth. I have a passion for teaching math in a way that can be understood in laymen terms so that the beauty of the subject and its relevance to all facets of life can be appreciated. I have worked with high risk elementary students who were performing well below grade level and helped them to meet and/or exceed the required standards by year’s end. My teaching philosophy utilizes the backward design method where we begin with the ideal result then we review all of the prerequisite knowledge, skills, and techniques that will be need to solve the problem. With this method the teacher serves as a facilitator who guides the student through the process of using the critical thinking necessary for understanding the desired result. Thus the focus if for the student to gain knowledge of what they are doing and why, not just the answer to a question. In addition to my love for teaching I have an affinity for athletics and a passion for photography, therefore I truly appreciate the hard work and dedication that is required to fulfill a challenging goal as well as the beauty of capturing the moment of triumph. So if you need a tutor who can properly identify a problem area, communicate it in a manner that you can understand, relate it to something that you can identify with, then direct you through the process of obtaining the knowledge and skills necessary for comprehending the solution, I’m your man.
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy centers on my belief that everyone should have access to quality education. I think that learning is best achieved if the teacher serves as a positive facilitator who can effectively relate new material to previous experiences, and creatively show the benefits of being a lifelong learner.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would begin introducing myself and giving them an example of a time when I struggled with learning new material, and tell them how I was able to persevere through a challenging situation. Then I would reinforce the fact that I am there to assist them with overcoming their challenges, and help them to understand how the steps they have taken to gain success in other areas can be used to improve their result in the subject that they are struggling with. I would seek to learn about something that they are passionate about so that I can relate the material that we will cover to a past experience. Lastly, I will let them know that they should not hesitate to ask questions and seek complete understanding of how to approach a problem, all the time expressing confidence in their ability to improve their results, if they are willing to put in the necessary work.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Allow them to struggle through the material, but effectively guide them through using the understanding that they have to solve the problem.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Celebrate their successes and help them to see how they are progressing, all the time reinsuring them of the fact that their hard work will pay off.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
First, I would help them to see how a skill or concept that they already learned can be used to better understand the material that they are having difficulty with. Then, I would I would guide them through the process of using their previous knowledge to break down a difficult skill or concept into smaller problems that they are more comfortable with.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would help them to review small sections and/or keywords in the material that they are reading, and guide them through the use of critical thinking as a means of relating the subject matter to things that they already know.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
First and foremost, I tell them about some of my hobbies and interests, and then I take some time to get to know more about their interests, things that motivate them, and their idea of what is needed to achieve success during our sessions. I often share an example of a time when I struggled with a learning experience and reveal how I worked to overcome the challenges. Then I reassure them of the fact that I am there to help them by encouraging them to also ask questions and/or express concerns about material that they do not understand. I also work to relate any knowledge that I have of their interests and goals to the learning experience.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would begin by helping them to see how the subject matter relates to a hobby or interest that they have. Then I would use a successful example of them solving a problem, in the subject area, as an indicator of their ability to do the work. I would then reinforce the fact that I, along with their parents and teachers, are committed to help them with overcoming any challenges that they may have with the subject matter.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
In addition to having the student end every session with a statement about and/or an example of what they learned that day, I would use role reversal, where the student would have opportunities to exhibit what they learned by acting as the teacher, who is teaching me about the material that was covered.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
By helping them to reflect on times when they were successful performing work in the subject, and guiding them on methods of using that previous success as a guideline for achieving similar results in the future. Thus you build confidence by building on past experience.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
By direct communication, observation, and guided assessments.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
By properly identifying their challenges and obtaining direct feedback on questions and/or problems that they have in the subject area.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Previous work, class notes, skill building exercises, and visual examples(manipulatives).