Education is the most important and most powerful tool in the world to date. Every individual deserves access and the opportunity to a good education. Having said that, educators are not always able to give each individual the attention he/she needs to cultivate his/her mind. The shortcomings of education systems aside, I as a tutor will be able to provide your child with the guidance required to make sure they are never at a disadvantage. I am an undergraduate student at Queens College, almost ready to graduate. I am double majoring in psychology and speech pathology, aiming to work with children in the future. This means a lot of my coursework has centered around child development, how they learn and grow. My education and experience spill over into my volunteer work, where I tutor and mentor children ages K-12. My main subject is ELA/ ESL, because that is what most of the kids I work with have difficulty understanding. However, I also tutor U.S. History because I love it! I can still name all 50 states in under 7 minutes! My main goal is not only to help my student understand the material, but also to help him/her be confident in his/her work. I want every student to firmly believe that he/she can do anything, simply because it's true. Through their education they may do anything in the world, they need only to try hard enough. I don't want students to give up on their education or even themselves because "it's too hard" or they "hate it." I want students to love learning, to realize its power and their own potential, to learn even if they dislike the subject, to take everything the world has to offer.
Macaulay Honors College at CUNY Queens College - Current Undergrad, Psychology and CSD
What is your teaching philosophy?
1.There is nothing you can't do; you need only to work harder. 2. Read everything you can get your hands on, and learn from everyone you meet.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Establish rapport. I want the student to see that I'm a resource, that I am there to help, not judge or scold.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Teach the student strategies to help them understand, not simply to memorize answers. Point out keywords and ask them questions about how they arrived at their answer. No yes/no questions. Make sure the underlying concept is understood before moving on to another subject.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Start with questions or problems the student can definitively answer. Build his/her self confidence. Provide evidence that he/she CAN understand this. Slowly increase the difficulty of the problem set so he/she can take small steps instead of large leaps. Provide lots of encouragement!
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Go back to the fundamentals of this particular concept and make sure the student understands them. Figure out where exactly he/she is making a wrong turn. Slowly work up to the desired concept. Provide a step-by-step guide (if applicable) to break down the concept (e.g. how to solve a word problem).
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
First, make sure they are reading in their free time. Any type of reading material will work, they just need to be constantly practicing reading. If this is not a habit already, encourage it. For reading comprehension in particular, break down the concepts of a story such as main idea, setting, characters, even theme. Slowly walk them through identifying them in a story. Identify where they are struggling. If the case is that they are disinterested, start with reading material that pertains to their interest. Build up their ability to talk about what they just read, and then write a sentence or two about it, and then answer a question.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Requiring the student to explain his/her answer instead of just writing one down has proven to get the student thinking about the process instead of just guessing.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Try to relate the subject to something they are already excited about. Break it down so that it means something to them rather than just being words on a page.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Reword the problem so that it is not something they have seen before even though it is essentially the same thing. If they blank, they do not understand the concept, but simply memorized the format of the problem and the way to answer it.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Start with questions they can answer easily. Make sure they get more correct than incorrect. That way, they learn that they certainly CAN do it. Also, give lots of encouragement and reward!
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Start with where the student is getting the lowest grade, then work toward the root of the problem. Ask questions about WHY a particular subject is hard rather than whether it is or not. Have them think about why they struggle themselves and work with them on that.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Each student is on a different level, so be wary about what the student can and cannot do. Depending on the student's grade, be wary of vocabulary words used and examples given. Think about the social sphere of each student and how the subjects fit into it instead of making assumptions.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Mostly visual materials are used, such as reading comprehension stories, worksheets, etc. However, a whiteboard/chalkboard is helpful for demonstration and stickers for rewards!