I have been an independent tutor for several years now. I recently graduated at the top of my class from a high school in Fort Collins, Colorado, and spent the spring semester of 2015 studying abroad at a Spanish university. In the fall of 2016 I will be continuing on to a four year year Canadian university to study mathematics. Mathematics is my specialty and my passion but I enjoy conversing in Spanish and French immensely and have a deep appreciation for the intricate beauty of linguistics. Other less academic passions of mine include backpacking, rock climbing, music and general adventure and travel.
I am devoted to designing quality lesson plans and using top notch resources. I love teaching and have been developing my skills in various environments throughout my educational career. One of the most important characteristics of my teaching style is my focus on clear communication. Communication is key in making clear what is understood, what is not, and what is confusing for any student, which I find to be particularly important in the case of students who do not enjoy math, who can often come up against mental blocks. Some other important aspects of my teaching style are my teacher engagement in the subject matter, connecting knowledge to the real world and exploring content from my student’s perspective.
In mathematics, my background is primarily experiential and traditionally academic. In regard to languages I have had the fortune to learn them at least partially through immersion. My Spanish has been learned through my eighth grade year which I spent studying in Mexico at a local school and then grammar studying in an upper level college course and finally a semester in Spain. My French was learned primarily in school but I recently spent a month in Morocco where I was able to apply it in a more practical environment.
Undergraduate Degree: University of Salamanca and Colorado State Univerisity - Current Undergrad, Cross Curricular Studies
ACT Composite: 34
ACT English: 34
ACT Math: 34
ACT Reading: 32
ACT Science: 34
Backpacking, music, rock climbing, traveling, photography
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session with a student, I will generally spend some time introducing myself and getting to know my student before going over any subject matter. For me, it is of utmost importance to create a comfortable environment to learn and teach in. From there, I try to balance my experiences and the track the student seems to be on in order to resolve any current issues, and anticipate those in the future.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Supporting independence and self initiative is an important part of how I teach. To me it is important to not only provide a resource in the moment but also continue to be a resource in what I have taught them, even after they are no longer my student. In order to help with confidence and independence, I try to work at a slower pace, with more time for the student to think and develop their own study process that fits their learning style. I also provide as many online, text, personal and community resources as I can, but I think it is immensely important that they feel comfortable reaching out for these things and finding them on their own for future situations in which their community changes.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation can be very hard for students. Even successful, passionate students can become unmotivated when they come across a challenge that stumps them and puts them out of their element. I find that the key to helping with this is to talk about it independently from subject matter, so that they can think about it in the same way they would about other, more preferred subjects or passions. It is important to get rid of the idea of being "bad" at something, and simply figure out how to learn subjects in a way that works well in a student's head. In my experience, this makes it much easier to stay interested in something and keep motivated.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Personally, I do not subscribe to high pressure, high stakes evaluation. So I don't use big tests, and the quizzes and tests I do give are generally with open resources. I primarily try to establish a running dialog of questions and concerns so that I can myself judge more thoroughly where the student stands. Particularly, in a one-on-one environment, I find it much more practical to make sure the student is comfortable enough to simply be honest with me about their understanding. I am there to help with something that isn't understood, not show them they do not understand it.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
In order to build confidence, I first make sure that the framework is understood. I always start from the beginning and work up to the place they are. I find that a lack of confidence often stems from an earlier confusion that has been magnified until it starts to seem much bigger than the small thing it originally was. I also have a focus on providing education in a way that fits the student. For students, figuring out how to do something in their way can boost confidence much more than struggling to understand another way that they are being told to do it.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use a variety of materials. I like to first look at the materials that are provided to the student to clarify what approach they are on. Then, there are a few different paths I may take. I also like to use notes from my personal studies. I find that it helps work from the student's perspective. Sometimes, I also find a hands-on direction to be the best way to start. Engaging my student is an important aspect of how I introduce new resources. There are also a slew of online and book resources that I like to use and provide to the student for use outside of tutoring sessions.