I am a licensed high school math teacher with three years of teaching experience. Since I was in high school, I have been helping students perform to their fullest potential. In high school, I would help students after school with geometry and algebra and it changed my life for the better. Not only did I feel joy from helping encouraging and motivating others, but I also became a more knowledgeable student. It is one thing to master a concept, it is another task entirely to transfer that knowledge to someone else. Through Varsity Tutors, I look forward to helping students achieve academic success in math and to take with them a sense of being able to overcome any challenge thrown their way.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that having a positive attitude, a desire to help others reach their potential, and a never give up approach is what is ideal in a tutor. As an adult, I can honestly say that attitude, discipline, and will, are the three most important qualities in the work world. Making the sacrifices, putting the time in, having a pit bull determination, and being calm and cheerful, are what make a person successful as an adult. If a person has never failed, they have no chance of being successful. For it is through failure that we reach success. The inventor of the light bulb, Thomas Edison, tried hundreds of different prototypes before he created a successful one.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session with a student, I will ask the student/parents what challenges the student is facing in math, what the student's goals are in the near future in math class, and what the long term goals are for the student. Then I will go through what the student is currently working on, and give instruction, and remediation if necessary. In addition, for every concept taught by me, I will have the student show me that they have mastered the concept. To do this, the student will be given a practice question to solve. I always assign homework, so that both parties can see the progress of the student session to session.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I can help a student become an independent learner by : 1. assigning homework at the end of each session, thus giving students a choice to work independently to practice on their own and achieve mastery. 2. I can help a student become an independent learner, by letting the student know that while I am responsible for guiding the student during the tutoring session, during the rest of the week, the student is personally responsible for keeping up with assignments, and putting in the practice and time needed for success.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
To help a student stay motivated, I will congratulate the student for each of the learning gains they have made. In addition, I will tell the student that life isn't easy, and that delaying gratification, and continuing to work diligently, will be necessary for continued success. I will encourage the student to keep their eyes on the prize, and that victory is always within reach. Have a winning attitude, and never give up. I believe you are fully capable of sustained academic success.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, I would check to see if the student has mastered prerequisite skills or concepts. For example, if a student is learning how to draw lines on a graph, first the student must know how to plot points on a graph, and how to find points to plot given an equation. If the previous knowledge is not accessible to the student, remediation will fill in the gaps. Then, mastery of the current concept is possible. In the case that prerequisite knowledge has been mastered by the student, I will use alternative methods of explaining the concept. For example, if the student is learning about relations and functions, showing functions as diagrams, graphs, and charts will help to explain the concept better. I will check for understanding every step of the way, and give practice work as needed.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
For students struggling with reading comprehension, the most important tool to focus on is vocabulary. Understanding the terminology in the context of the reading allows for students to pick up keywords and patterns. For example, in the word problem "What is 5 less than 25?," knowing that the phrase "less than" means to subtract the first number from the number following "less than" is the understanding needed to solve the problem.