No two clients are the same. My priority as a tutor is to get a sense of each person I'm working with as an individual; I focus on the client's specific strengths, learning styles, and areas desiring improvement, and tailor my teaching approach accordingly. It is in this way that I ensure that the client is heard, comfortable, and getting the most out of our sessions.
With 1) ten years of writing experience at the college, graduate, and professional levels, and 2) a practiced background in teaching undergraduate university courses, I look forward to meeting all of your expectations of a superb tutor.
A little more about me: In 2009, I earned my BA with honors at a Liberal Arts institution. Currently, I am a PhD Candidate working on my dissertation. When I am not writing in an academic capacity, I enjoy creating poetry and short stories, exploring and playing music, and, above all, helping students.
I am excited to meet you, and to work with you to enhance your writing and academic abilities.
Oglethorpe University - BA with honors, Philosophy
Michigan State University - PhD, Philosophy
What is your teaching philosophy?
Patience and encouragement always must accompany the clearest explanations. My respect for clients shines through each tutoring session.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
No two clients are the same. In an initial session, I am interested in getting to know the client as an individual, which includes determining his or her strengths, weaknesses, and learning style, and tailoring my teaching approach accordingly.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
The key to helping students to become independent learners is to guide them in realizing that they already hold the capacity to be independent learners in themselves. Persistent encouragement plays an essential role in this process; unwaveringly, I have found that as soon as students achieve confidence in their academic endeavors, they blossom to become both better writers and critical thinkers.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Encouragement, once again, is in the top shelf of my teaching approach. So often, students can get off track with a study and/or career plan when they feel that they cannot succeed. In addition to supplying constant encouragement, helping a student remain motivated involves working with him/her to 1) establish an ambitious, but, more importantly, reasonable study schedule, and 2) understand how a particular exercise or assignment relates to his/her own life, and why it is important given the student's more long-term career plans.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Making use of several examples that connect a difficult skill or concept to the student's own life is invaluable to helping the student overcome a particular roadblock. Additionally, it is imperative for a tutor to understand what exactly is getting in the way of the student's learning of a skill or concept. Once this is identified, I am able to shape my teaching approach more precisely, and as a result witness improvement by the client in the expediency of his/her study.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I extrapolate from a method I use when reading difficult texts; namely, to summarize, after having read a specific paragraph in a text, in one's own words the essential point of that paragraph (I typically do this in the margins of the relevant text, and encourage my students to do so as well). This is an extrapolation because, during study sessions with clients struggling with reading comprehension, I suggest that they read the text aloud paragraph-by-paragraph (and in some cases line-by-line). I then ask clients to put the meaning of each paragraph (or line) in their own words, and to write this out in the margins of the text (or, if the text is electronic, to produce a document in which the client makes an outline of the text in his/her own words). I have found in my own history both as a reader and tutor, that one does not understand a text fully until one is able to clarify its main points, while also not relying on the text's own way of wording things.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
First and foremost, a tutor must get to know the student's particular learning style, strengths, and areas needing improvement. Often, students are not aware of these themselves. In my experience, once I have brought these three factors to a student's attention, the student not only understands more clearly why he/she is facing some difficulty in a specific area, but also generally becomes more committed to his/her studies.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Relating a subject to the student's own discrete life is the most important tool to use when aiming to generate engagement. This necessitates a heavy utilization of concrete examples.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
First, the student and I would skim and read through the material together. Next, I'd ask the student to put the material into his/her own words, as this both proves to him/herself the level of knowledge he/she has already attained, and allows me to evaluate what I need to do to ensure that the student fills in the blanks of his/her comprehension.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Reminding the student that he/she is already an intelligent person is my first step. This allows the student to realize his/her capacity for mastering boundless knowledge of subjects. Additionally, ensuring that the student fully understands why his/her errors are in fact errors leads to the student's increasing ability to tackle new projects with enhanced confidence.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Asking a student's background provides an entryway into being able to evaluate his/her needs adequately. In addition, it is important to test students (with an appropriate sense of ease on their end) on what they already know about the topic at hand. This leads me to recognize precisely what students need from me at this point to ensure success.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I find it best to tackle this question by way of example. If a student, for instance, seems to be struggling with writing a college essay, and we conclude together that his/her learning style is visual, I would rely on a graph I've created (and reliably have looked to for many years) to show pictorially what's involved in this kind of composition. If a student with the same project but with an auditory learning style was working with me, I would customize my teaching approach to, e.g., speak on (and not indicate pictorially) how we should address beginning to write the essay.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I utilize hand-made graphs, original word documents, and properly sourced external resources for any given tutoring session.