I graduated from Westfield State University with a BA in English in 2014. I am a tutor because I love to see people grow their abilities to write and communicate in English subjects. I believe being able to write effectively and clearly is essential in our society. I have worked for years as a swim instructor and saw many students going out of their comfort zones and improving their skills, and love to see the same motivations in English students. I have worked in many workshop and one-on-one essay editing settings at my university and this is my specialty. I can't wait to work with any student and help them achieve their full potential!
Q & A
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session, I would ask the student what their goals were and what they wanted to get out of tutoring. I would find out where they needed the most help, and what kind of assignments we would be working on together. I would work with the student on whatever they brought to this session. Based off of their goals, the work we just did, and where they needed the most help, I would design a plan of action for our future tutoring sessions.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
To help a student become an independent learner, I would let them come up with the answers. I would use examples and show them the way that the rules of the subject work, and point them to a problem and see if they can figure it out. I would show them alternate ways to approach problems. If they were struggling with a problem, we would review it and see if they can figure out what needs work. In my tutoring, the student is still doing all the work, which is what will help them remember how to do things, and allow them to approach their work independently.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
In education, motivation is key. To help a student stay or become motivated, I would focus on things in that subject that interest them the most. I would also focus on their successes and how far they have come in their abilities. I would let them know that, while it may not seem important now, education is really important in our society, and what they are learning can help them through their lives.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If your student is having difficulty with a subject, it is important to know your student and know what strategies work with their learning style. Some strategies I use are explaining the rules of a problem to see if they can apply them, trying a simpler problem to show them the concept the are struggling with, and breaking down the concept into smaller parts.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
There are a lot of strategies to use to help students having trouble with reading comprehension. One of the first things I would do would be to ask questions to see what about reading the student is struggling with. Are they focusing on the details and unable to see or remember the whole picture? Do they have trouble understanding what is actually going on? Do they have issues understanding why the characters are acting the way they did? The reason behind their issues with reading comprehension would help me develop an action plan to best help them, and there are many ways to approach this struggle. Some common strategies I use are to help the student create a visual outline of certain sections, to summarize the book section by section to make sure they understand what is happening as it is being read, to make flashcards of key terms, and to ask them questions that involve them in the text to help clear up any unclear sections.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
One of the most successful strategies I have found while working with students is to ask the right questions. The questions that get them thinking about their work/what we are working on in a different way, questions that guide them to think about the key points of a topic, questions that help them to start thinking about the material independently.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
To be sure that a student understands the material we have been working on, I would make sure to have them do some work on their own and review it, to make sure it was correct. I would also ask them questions about the material to make sure they understand what is going on and why.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
If a student has struggled with a subject, it can be hard for them to feel confident in the subject. One way that I would help them would be to focus on what they can do in that subject and what they've already accomplished. Another way would be to talk about how far they have come and what they will be doing after they start to work on the subject more, showing them that is isn't impossible for them to improve their skills.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
The best way to evaluate a student's needs is to work with them. After working on a subject with them and asking them about their understanding of the material, it would become clear whether their issue was, for example, reading comprehension or trouble with the vocabulary. It also helps to ask the student what their goals are and what they think they are having trouble with. Talking to your student about their needs can reveal a lot about what they know and what they are struggling with.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
My tutoring style is completely dependent on the student. If the student is having trouble in one area of a subject but struggles with another part of that subject, I would focus more on the part that they are struggling with. But I also adapt my tutoring to the student's style of learning. If they are more of a visual learner, I would use techniques that involve more graphics and visuals, while if they do better with auditory learning, I would talk with them more and, if I could, find them books on tape.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Depending on what we are working on, it could just be pencil and paper and their subject book, or a computer with Microsoft Office and speakers.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that students have the capacity to learn anything, and follow a growth-mindset. A growth-mindset means that intelligence is not fixed, and anyone can learn. When things become difficult and challenges arise in learning, this is an opportunity for students to grow their minds and increase their abilities. It's not a sign that that subject "isn't for them."
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I try to make subjects as close to home for the student as I can. I will explain different reasons a subject could be meaningful to them, and try to show them ways it can apply to different aspects of their lives. I will also bring different materials to try to find ones that the students really connect to and enjoy.