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I completed my freshman and sophomore years at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in the spring of 2015, where I double majored in English and Finance. I worked two years for Rutgers Upward Bound TRIO program, in which I helped students ranging from freshmen to seniors in high school learn and practice the fundamentals of writing, reading comprehension, essay writing, SAT Math, SAT Writing, and SAT Reading.
In the summer of 2015, I moved to the Bay Area, where I am currently taking fall semester courses at Berkeley City College. Although It was initially hard for me to swallow the stark reality of uprooting the school I loved and thrived in, as well as the friends and family that had nurtured my growth in the beautiful Garden State, the prospect of attending a more prestigious Californian university to complete my undergraduate and (hopefully) law school studies was too great of an opportunity not to take a leap of faith for. Because I, too, am a student chasing his dreams, nothing gives me more satisfaction and hope in helping others to not only become more comfortable with their studies, but also become passionate in their strides toward their academic and personal goals.

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Joseph’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Berkeley City College - Current Undergrad, English

Test Scores

SAT Writing: 720


Watching/playing basketball, reading, hiking, running, cooking, eating, going on road trips, swimming

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

There is no shame in asking questions, only a courage to learn.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

I would like to connect with them on a personal level in order to not only make the student more comfortable, but to assess the types of conditions they are used to studying in and what approach they take to academics.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

The biggest struggle for students is finding the confidence to tackle their schoolwork by knowing their capacity to understand and assess their work. I would encourage them to study and work independently, then comment on the strong points of their homework or studies, as well as recommend them to write/read/solve problems in a specific manner, or simply fine-tune a concept they understand but can not express well enough.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Should students doubt their academic prowess or capabilities, I would patiently listen to their problems and inhibitions and prove their worth by the work they have already accomplished and explain their potential that they may not see at the moment. If a student lacks focus, I would break up study sessions just to vent and talk with the student, while at the same time emphasizing the importance of being focused and self-motivated.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

If reviewing past problems or situations with a student does not help him/her comprehend a concept or skill, I will simply return to the basics of the problem, and together we will remember and have a better understanding of progressively harder concepts derived from these fundamentals. To instill these shakier concepts, I will sporadically ask the student how to solve a similar problem/assess a similar situation.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

Normally, the problem with reading comprehension stems from either losing focus and concentration on the substance of a passage, or simply not understanding it altogether. To overcome these mental hurdles, I will take breaks when necessary to discuss with the students their readings in order to assess their current understanding of them. From there, I will either make them reread certain sections of their readings or use a similar passage for them to dissect and ultimately understand the general concepts and rhetorical strategies shared in both passages.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

Students have an innate desire to succeed but an even stronger will to find solutions. I find it most effective (and fun for all parties) to approach students as equals and treat them as such. By leveling with them and treating them as peers, rather than an authoritative figure, students are normally more inclined to listen to instruction and are more proactive about their work. Additionally, when giving examples or sharing stories with students, I find it most successful and resonant with them when these asides are moments or references that they can relate to and understand.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

I would attempt to boost their confidence by making them answer simpler problems in the same vein as the ones giving the students trouble, and gradually work our way up to the harder problems. Ultimately, this process will not only allow them to fortify their fundamentals and understanding of their work, but also excite them to see their own capabilities. If I can not excite/engage students through this process, hopefully sharing my personal struggles in the classroom will allow them to feel normal about not excelling in every subject. From there, they will feel more comfortable about themselves and will approach their problems with more confidence.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

Repetition is the key to success! I would sporadically ask students questions based on work and concepts we have gone over to see how well they can remember and apply these ideas under pressure. Additionally, I would apply the proverbial "teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime" concept in order for students to retain their work more concretely, as well as to make them active learners rather than passive listeners.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

I typically provide students pens, pencils, paper, and calculators for their studies, but I also bring SAT study books and practice tests for those taking any standardized tests. For any other outside sources, I use my laptop to pull any information from the Internet.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

After a few sessions of listening to students read, reviewing what they have written, and assessing their mathematical skills and limitations, I ask them what they need help with and give them my interpretations of where in their studies they need fine-tuning.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Being earnestly and passionately involved in a student's success builds a stronger connection, as well as boosts the student's confidence in his own abilities.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

Being attentive with what a student asks for and speaks about will not only help structure a lesson plan, but will also help tutors become more understanding of any personal problems that may hinder a lesson.

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