I grew up in a small town that didn’t even have a high school. Some of us had the resources to drive, but many of my friends and I depended on the county to bus us almost an hour across the desert to get to school every morning. I’d sit on the torn leather seats with a book over my knees, a scratch paper and pencil and study because I knew education was the best means of pursuing my dreams. Mentors and teachers invested in me, seeing beyond my socioeconomic barriers and fanning my potential in flame. My peers that grew up down the road became my learning community, and together we worked for a better life. Now, my Bachelor’s degree in Biology hangs on my wall, and I am pursuing a career in nursing at the University of New Mexico. I am passionate about passing down what I have learned. To encourage lifelong, autonomous learning, to instill passion in others treading a similar path, and to forge the confidence required to tackle the challenging demands of higher education is ultimately my goal as a tutor. I put my students and their needs first, and I am willing to teach in any personalized style that will yield the best result for that student. I know practical methods to teach students in auditory, visual, or kinesthetic styles. I am fluent in Spanish and well trained in molecular biology, physiology, and mathematics, but I still enjoy pursuing other hobbies such as multimedia artwork, soccer and the outdoors. I hope to help any student get one step closer to achieving their dreams.
What is your teaching philosophy?
My philosophy when it comes to teaching does not lie in my teaching methods, but rather on helping students teach themselves in order to become better independent learners.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would first introduce ourselves and learn about the student's future interests and hobbies. Then, I would proceed to learn how the student learns best so that I can tailor my teaching methods to be best suitable for him/her.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I'm a firm believer in having the pencil in the student's hand. This allows the student to become more confident in what they write and how they express themselves. Therefore, it's not about the teaching method, but rather allowing the student to learn more about what works best for them that gives them a sense of autonomy. I would simply guide and work with the strengths of each student so that they may become their own best teachers.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
The interesting thing about being motivated is that you have to find a goal. However, you could also ask how do you stay motivated once you find a goal? Understanding what those goals are, the reasons for wanting to achieve those goals, and making it fun can help ease the transition toward achieving those goals. Simply sitting down and talking with the students about their dreams can help them understand themselves a little better when asked the right questions. It may be hard to find motivation if the subject area is not something they're interested in, but the ultimate goal (which is unique to each student) remains unchanged. Realizing that these simple or complicated subjects are but small steps toward achieving those dreams can create a means for them to carry forward.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
First, I would try to understand what the student knows about that particular skill or concept. This will give me a baseline for how to approach the student. Second, I would fill in any missing gaps of knowledge that could have made the learning task difficult in the first place based on what the student knew or didn't know. Third, I would allow the student to re-engage the problem with the new set of tools. This allows the student to understand what made the task difficult in the first place. Lastly, I would ask if the student has any more questions regarding the problem, and I would provide similar problems to assess his/her learning.