As I matriculated through K-12, I often found myself struggling. It was not because I could not do the work--instead, it was because so many of my lessons were taught the same way. I loved reading and could read just about anything put before me, but, for a number of reasons, my comprehension level was not what it should be. Math came easily to me, but because of my limited reading comprehension, I did not do as well with my word problems. The more I learned and was exposed to, however, the better I understood what I read. I later learned various techniques to help me to increase my reading comprehension, and though it took a while I eventually became successful in each of my subjects.
The many struggles that I experienced as a child helped me decide to become a teacher. It is through my shortcomings that my love of learning flourished, and my desire to help those who also struggle like I did.
Undergraduate Degree: Florida Memorial University - Bachelors, Elementary Education
Graduate Degree: University of South Florida-Main Campus - Masters, Educational Leadership
My interests/hobbies include reading, writing, writing poetry, bike riding, most types of puzzles especially scrabble type games, board games, eating, skating (although I have not done it in a while)
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Inquire about their ultimate goals, if any. Once that has been determined, use that information as a reminder. If there are no specific goals, use other incentives to assist in the process.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
By starting with what they know I would build upon those skills and work my way up with them. However, sometimes they just need a little practice to become more confident in their own success.
What is your teaching philosophy?
It is my philosophy that all children have the right to and are capable of learning. Moreover, while they are attempting this process, they are to feel safe and comfortable. Within the environment, it is my desire to have a positive and enriching environment in which they will have that safe and secure feeling. It is also a part of my philosophy that each person learns differently, and as part of my responsibility as a teacher, I must learn and master ways to help them all. A good teacher knows her students. This involves the general mannerisms, strengths, and weaknesses of his/her students. In my classroom, I like to ask many questions, mostly open-ended types to pull as much information from the students as possible. They do not necessarily need to know how smart I am, but what their own capabilities are. Many students are much smarter than they give themselves credit for, and it is my job to pull this from them so that they can see that they can achieve anything once they put forth an effort. There are endless possibilities! I am a firm believer that the "village raises the child." Through this, I will incorporate ways of communicating with parents/guardians and the community in the educational process. I am no babysitter, by any means; however, during the short time that I do have these precious ones in my care, I will put forth the extra effort to help them succeed, which includes setting positive examples. I think that assessing the students learning does not always use the traditional pencil and paper method. By utilizing facilitation techniques with the questioning process mentioned earlier, along with the art of discovery, not only will they learn they will eventually be able to peer teach those who did not grasp the idea/skill right away. I have and will continue to learn from them as well. I have been away from the classroom for a while; however, I truly miss that look on the faces of the children when they make a connection. I yearn to see that look again.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session, I would start by getting familiar with the child or individual that I will be working with as well as what the end state is that the parent wishes to achieve. Finding out more about the student enhances my ability to assist them to be more successful.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I can help a student become an independent learner by helping them be/feel more secure in their abilities. When they are secure, they become more competent and thus can be more independent in how they achieve.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
There are a variety of strategies that can be utilized to help struggling students with reading comprehension. One way would be to increase their background knowledge. This can be done by ensuring they know what each of the main words in the story means. If they understand the meaning the passages make more sense to them.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
One strategy that helps me to be more successful with students initially is for us to get to know each other and get comfortable with the person working with us. When a child does not feel comfortable or at ease, it is hard to do what is necessary. Think about how a person would feel when they had to work and was starving...it would be hard for them to focus on the task at hand because all they can think about is food. When students are comfortable with the person they are working with, they are more open to work and to ask questions to help them in the learning process.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would hope that I could find out why they are struggling. Sometimes they know, and sometimes they don't. However, trying to gain an understanding of the knowledge at hand will help me to help them. One way is by using the K/W/L technique. Find out what they know, then what they would like to know, and ultimately what they learned in the end. I, too, think that finding about their likes and dislikes can be incorporated in just about any topic so that it will help them want to know more. If it is something that they, like their energies tend to spike in the process.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Open-ended questioning is a technique to ensure that a student understands the material. This means that it is not a simple yes or no response that the student must give. They must give the answer and then give clues that lead them to give the particular response.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
In order to build confidence, there must be some successes. If they fail every time, they are less likely to try.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
There are comprehensive assessments that can help a teacher/tutor anticipate the student's needs. They entail a variety of skill sets, however, they are not pass or fail assessments. They are given to find out where the student is and how to make out a plan for the future.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
If a student is successful in a particular skill set, it is unnecessary to retest them on that; therefore, we build upon the success to a more difficult task. In conjunction with knowing how the student learns, utilizing those types of tools that complement their learning ensures success, as well as an adaptation to their needs.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Anything that I can find to assist the student. Pencil/paper, videos, charts, whiteboard, calculator, etc.