I am an alumni from Purdue University's Liberal Arts College. With a Bachelors in the double majors of Creative Writing and History, I am a multi-faceted and dedicated tutor, with both personal and professional experience in the field. I have had a lifelong love of learning (and consequently, teaching) that drives me to help those who CAN learn, do.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Purdue University-Main Campus - Bachelors, Creative Writing and History (double-major)
Writing (Fiction), Board Games, Biking, Historical Research
AP US History
College Level American History
College World History
High School English
High School Level American History
High School World History
SAT Subject Tests Prep
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Straightforward, honest discussion is more useful to a student than 1000 hours of assigned homework. If I do my job right, he or she should not need "refreshers" to improve themselves.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Introduce myself, briefly explain my background, and ask them if they have any questions. Often they do, so we spend a short time interacting. This establishes a rapport that is invaluable throughout my sessions with them, especially when going through tons of dry material (as is often the case).
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By showing them how I am one. I ask them to logically go through their thought process, be it when taking a test or designing an essay. I then use straightforward analogies and personal examples to show how they can internalize information in a way that is familiar to them. By doing this, they can rapidly digest and extrapolate advanced abstract concepts or terminology that they would otherwise struggle with.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Constant Positivity. Every frustration or hardship in a student's experience is a challenge to be overcome. The honest truth is that approaching the student as an active, sympathetic voice of reason with an unwavering concentration on the challenge presented to them makes for inspired, motivated pupils.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Break down the problem to its component pieces, and rearrange it from the ground up. Lead them in the reasoning, allow them to come to the conclusions or formulate opinions on their own, and correct as necessary. If the concept is going completely over their head, then the next step is to explain it in terms that they understand, gradually increasing the sophistication of the explanation until they can comprehend the requisite terms.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Walk them through the passage that they are reading. If it is an inference issue (i.e.: they don't know how to read deeper into a passage beyond the words on the page) then have them work through a hypothetical, where you put them in the situation that they are attempting to visualize. They respond, and you explain. They extrapolate from the initial conversation, and you let them continue to get the wider meaning. If it is merely a vocabulary issue, then it's a simple matter of helping the student glean the meaning from the context of the rest of the sentence.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Straightforward discussion with a commitment to a student-first policy. I would rather run 10 minutes late explaining a heavy concept to a student than leave with the idea halfway through his head.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Direct correlation to their lives. It's astonishing what people will do when you use their own experiences as fodder for explaining complex ideas. The more comfortable a student is with you on both a scholastic and personal level, the more likely they are to be enthused over a subject that is challenging for them.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
The previous answers say it all: clear, precise language with an attention to detail, but an appreciation for the student's limited view of the whole. Allowing the students the opportunity to work the idea out for themselves (with some minor mental prodding) will go a long way into reinforcing the concepts that I teach them.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
By relating to them my own hardships, with an eye of putting it into the context of their own. I was an excellent student, but there were certainly times when I needed tutoring and instruction to grasp a concept. By making it clear to them that there is no shame in feeling weak in a subject, you can create a bud of determination in them that can germinate into full-blown confidence, with time.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
By asking them; A general overview is usually a good starting point to get a grasp of where they are mentally compared to the challenge presented to them. If they are near or equal to the challenge, my task is mainly to facilitate their own logic to reach the point at which they can do it independently. If they are a ways away from meeting their goal, I start with basics, establish confidence in the initial material, and then strenuously cover the subject.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
By asking them what helps, and evaluating when certain methods seem to have the most impact. No two students are alike: some require a step-by-step process that starts from the beginning and moves to the end, others prefer to be given the core of an idea, and then be left to run with it themselves, drawing their own conclusions. It is utterly dependent on the student, and I can adapt to that very quickly.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Depends on the subject. Universally: Pen, three-ring binder, lots of scratch paper, and then useful supplemental materials specific to the subject/topic being discussed. For example, I would bring for History: maps specific to the region being discussed, supporting materials/sources for extra context, as well as several quotations that could potentially be used in an argumentative essay.