Greetings! You have, through sheer virtue of your reading this document, decided to consider tutoring as an auxiliary means of learning, to which I applaud you. It is my firm belief, established through both observation and experience, that one-on-one teaching is an excellent (I would argue essential) way to bolster one's learning; for as much as the broad curricula of the day is expertly designed to fit the learning needs of the masses, it will, by nature, leave gaps in the micro-cognition of each student. This is where I and many others come in: to fill those gaps. For true mastery of a subject or field, I believe that having a teacher to take the time and effort with a student towards detailed learning can only, in time, prove beneficial in the grander understanding of a given topic. Every student (everyone, truly, for are we not all students?), in varying degrees of severity, learns differently, takes in the world around them differently, and manifests that information differently. No one teaching method could ever account for the infinite variable of personality and general humanness; hence the importance of one-on-one teaching. I take my position as a tutor seriously for this reason; I approach students with the understanding that they will not all be the same, and that each requires consideration for their respective characters, abilities, and desires. In short, I offer students a chance to learn above the common tide.
Belmont University - BA, English Literature
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that the learner/teacher relationship is of the utmost importance. If mastery and understanding are to be passed from one to another, open and prosperous means of interpersonal communication must first be established. Only then can detailed and fruitful learning and teaching commence.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
For opening sessions, my goal is to get an idea of who my student is, what topic(s) they would like to focus on, and what expectations they have of me. I try not to force initial instruction, but by the end of the first session, I try to have worked through at least an introduction to future projects, to gain an understanding of what teaching methods will and won't work with the prospective student.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I show students my own methods for teaching and learning, with the intention of letting them know that my instruction, as well as any teacher's instruction, is a necessary entryway into further study using the methods they have observed in their teachers. I recommend exercises and activities they can engage in outside of formal learning, and show as best as I can the benefits and advantages of those independent methods.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
In my experience, maintaining a persistent dialogue with the student is the best way to keep tabs on, and therefore maintain, their motivation. Simply checking in regularly and getting a feel for how they're doing does wonders for moral.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I encourage students to take consistent notes and annotate (to the best of their ability). Most students think that speed is the most important part of reading comprehension; speed comes eventually, but the practice has to start with thorough comprehension, and I promote patience and thoroughness. I also, when it's feasible, try to cater reading material to my students' individual interests. The standards exist for a reason, but the academic canon is vast enough where skill-appropriate and relevant materials can always be found.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I think the most important part of introductory meetings is simply getting to know the student. I try to let them talk about themselves as much or little as they choose to get an idea of their interests. Then, I go over the specific materials or topics they're struggling with. The manner in which these conversations play out can offer a huge range of information with which I can begin to work out a lesson plan.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Depending on the age/skill level of the student, I try to keep constant tabs on what's interesting and motivating to them, and keep materials as much in line with those things as possible. If a student is not engaged, I try to keep a spirit of openness maintained so that I can simply ask why they don't have much interest, and we can create a discussion out of it.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I try to keep lecturing to a minimum. Lessons are always interactive and require the student to be consistently present with the material to move lessons forward. I find this to be less intimidating/isolating than a quiz, but still as rigorous. While I try to avoid assigning more 'homework,' I like to give students exercises (journaling, 'fun' reading, etc.) with which they can keep up their lessons.