I am a CRLA certified tutor with three years of tutoring experience in Biology and Chemistry. I love working with students who truly want to learn. My goal is to take those individuals who may feel uncertain or frustrated with the sciences and get them to a point where they are confident in their understanding of the material. I recently graduated suma cum laude with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and a B.A. in Photography. I also have three years of undergraduate research experience in synthesis of organic chemistry, so I welcome any students who have questions about college or anything pertaining to research. I appreciate constructive feedback and try to tailor to everyone's personal learning style.
University of Redlands - Bachelors, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
What is your teaching philosophy?
If you don't ask, you'll never know. So don't be afraid to ask, and I won't be afraid to answer. I'm here for you, and it's a learning and teaching experience for the both of us.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I like to take a few minutes to get to know one another, including one's strength, weaknesses, fears about the subject they're studying, etc. And I like to end with talking about what they felt comfortable with and what they still need help on so that I can point them in the right direction for studying on their own.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I tend to answer questions with more questions. This allows students to gain a critical aspect to learning. Science wasn't discovered in one day. We asked questions, did experiments, and got data that, at the time, made absolutely no sense! Sometimes getting the answer wrong first helps us remember what it is later and teaches us how to go about solving similar problems or finding the tools for new ones.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I'd tell them that not everyone gets 100% or everything right all the time. And that shouldn't be discouraging. A test or exam is telling you what you know and don't know at that exact moment. It doesn't evaluate your intelligence. You can always learn more things later on. Give yourself a break and a reward every time you get something right or reach that mark you were going for. Take breaks during studying because your brain can't remember everything in one sitting.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Sometimes it helps to sleep on it. Not literally of course, but taking a step back can allow for one to gain a different perspective or angle. Additionally, I'd probably try to tailor my teaching style to their learning style. What are they interested in? What kind of learner are they? Visual? Verbal? Perhaps reading several explanations? Or maybe they are better with compare and contrasts?
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I find it useful to read out loud sometimes. Or have someone else read it to you. Annotate as you go along. Make sure you understand the terminology they're using. If you don't know a word, look it up. Perhaps you don't understand a sentence. Try finding it elsewhere, like online or ask someone to explain it to you like a professor or classmate. Practicing reading always helps, and not just science books or articles but other books as well.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I like to follow three steps. 1. Explain. 2. Give an Example. 3. Have them solve a different example, and then explain it back to me. I find that teaching is the best form of learning. When you can teach someone else the same material that you are learning, then you truly understand what it is that you've learned.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
While most of us don't like them, quizzes are the best way to practice problems and evaluate a student's learning and comprehension. Even taking just one new quiz every day will help solidify one's understanding.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
It is easiest to first ask a student where they are struggling. We know our own weaknesses better than anyone else. From there, I would just observe where it is that they are getting stuck. Is it simple math, algebra, vocabulary, or reading comprehension, etc.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Practicing what one is struggling in is the best way to get better. That in itself builds confidence. It is good to know your weaknesses, but not to dwell and put yourself down because of them.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I try to always ask questions and get feedback from each student. This allows me to get to know them and their learning style. Once I know that, I can change to use more visual representations, or perhaps provide them with more reading comprehension material or practice problems. Communication between a tutor and the tutee is the key to becoming the best tutor for your tutee.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use books (similar to the tutee's), online material (such as sample problems or various definitions), and the student's practice problems. In addition, I like to make up my own problems or build off of the student's existing ones to ask them additional questions, similar to what may appear on their exams or homework. I especially like to inform the students of the various resources that they have. Sometimes a teacher or tutor isn't available to answer questions, so knowing how to find the information themselves is valuable knowledge.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
The reason most students aren't engaged or excited about subjects they're struggling in is because they're struggling in it. Who wants to do something they aren't good at and be discouraged? Therefore, as a tutor, and as a student who's been there, I would be supportive and encouraging. It takes time to understand and remember information you're seeing for the first and sometimes second time. Just because you don't get it now doesn't mean you'll never get it. Be excited about those "ah ha" moments, when you can finally understand it enough to teach someone else. Get engaged by thinking about the material in various ways. How would you apply it to real life? Where would you see it in real life? Make a game out of it and practice, so that you don't feel nervous when someone asks you a question about chemistry or math or biology.