I recently graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. Becoming immersed in the academic world has allowed me the privilege of traveling to different places around the US in order to pursue research. These opportunities to travel have led to me to meet some of the most interesting and intelligent people in the field of Biology, all of whom are working on incredible projects. None of that would have been possible without my strong academic foundation. When I was younger, I struggled with subjects a lot of my classmates found easy, especially math and science. It was, of course, discouraging but it forced me to find different ways to understand the material. I found that finding ways to associate what I was learning with things I already understood was the best way to go about it. I never enjoyed brute memorization, so I became very good at linking topics and ingraining them into my way of thinking, so that I very rarely had to completely memorize things. This in turn, allowed me to hold onto the information I had learned for much longer than if I had just memorized it the day before a test.
My philosophy to learning then has become my philosophy to teaching. Rattling off facts and expecting kids to memorize them just makes them frustrated. I want to teach them how to practice associating the things they learn with memories and emotions so that they can be easily recalled. I also want to help them learn the practical applications of what they are learning, which will allow them to be more enthusiastic about the subject. I am extremely patient and love helping people feel proud of their work because that’s the best way to be motivated to learn more.
I am a science, math, Spanish, reading, writing and history tutor, primarily for elementary and middle school. I particularly love teaching these age groups science and math, because at heart, I am a total nerd, that spends her days reading scientific papers and writing my own, and loving every moment of it. Now, I of course do not expect all kids to love these subjects as much as I do, but I at least want to help them get a basic understanding of them.
I also really enjoy teaching reading and writing skills to elementary, middle, and high school students, especially for Standardized Tests. These tests can be discouraging because they tests a students ability to read, in a way they are not accustomed to. Learning the common tricks the test writers use, and how to quickly eliminate incorrect choices makes the test much more doable and makes studying for them much more enjoyable.
I love tutoring because I appreciate and acknowledge how much academia has impacted my life for the better, and want to help other kids feel the same way.
University of California, Los Angeles - Bachelors, Biology
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that learning by association makes learning much more interesting and entertaining. I believe that even though a student will not love every subject, there are ways to make the subjects interesting, which will in turn make it much easier to understand and apply the information. Brute memorization should never be the default.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
If we were only doing one subject, I would ask them which topic they had the most trouble with, which one they had the least, and which one they were neutral about. We would start with the neutral one, just to get an understanding of the student's learning style. I would ask them if they knew what kind of learner they were, and if they did not know, we would test out different methods throughout the session to see which worked best. Once we covered the material in the first topic, in the form of a review session, we would move on to the hardest one. I would ask what they had trouble understanding, and if the answer was "everything," we would start off by going through each one of the sections. The goal is to eventually help the student pinpoint which areas they had difficulty understanding, because as they get older, recognizing where they have the most trouble will make it easier to pinpoint which questions they have and get them answered quickly (this is an especially useful skill in college). Throughout the session, I would ask the student questions about one of the topics we had just covered to keep them actively engaged, and to force them to consistently think about the topic they are learning about. I would also begin the process of teaching them how to predict test questions, in other words, how to pick out what is important in the lesson (another very useful skill to have).
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By teaching them how to determine what they have the most trouble understanding, and encouraging them to break the habit of being scared or embarrassed to ask questions. I would see what tasks they where assigned by the teacher and give them a couple more I feel would be useful to their understanding of the material, and teach them to be accountable for completing them.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By showing them how proud I am of each of their accomplishments, and showing them that they can feel proud too, no matter how small they feel the accomplishment is. I also love teaching kids fun facts I know about the subject they are learning, because I feel like it gives them a bigger picture about a topic, rather than just tunnel vision about passing a test.