A photo of Paul, a tutor from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

Paul

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I believe one of the most important qualities of an educator should be a love for the children he/she teaches. You see, genuine love is the desire to ‘give’ at the expense of ‘self’. Love is a verb; and when you really have a love for the children you teach, they know it because your love for them is demonstrated. It is that love for the children that will even drive the children to want to do better because they see that you care about them and believe in them. A teacher’s love for his children is patient, kind, not easily provoked, and endures through tough times with the children he teaches, both in and out of the classroom. A teacher’s love desires the best for the children.

I believe a teacher must have a passion to teach. It is passion that will drive a teacher to 'see' beyond the problems encountered in the classroom, and look for answers to resolve the problems. A teacher must get to know their students personally in order to help them on their path to greatness and not on the path to mediocrity. I challenge my students to think, by using the Socratic method of teaching. I constantly ask them questions to get them to think about their answers to the math problems they are working on.

I also am a student; forever learner and forever growing. If I stop growing today, then I stop teaching tomorrow.

Paul’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania - Bachelors, Math

Graduate Degree: Lincoln University of Pennsylvania - Masters, Math Education

Hobbies

Enjoys reading, weight lifting, and working math word problems.


Q & A

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

I briefly introduce myself first, and then I tell them: "I don't want to see you get to college." I purposely pause to see the reactions on their faces. I then say: "I don't want to see you GET to college, I want to see you get THROUGH college." I will give them a very challenging word problem to make them think.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I give them challenging problems to wrestle with that will make them think. I tell them to work on the problem on their own first. I reinforce that working on challenging word problems will increase their intelligence.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

By constantly reminding them that working on challenging math problems will increase their intelligence. I tell them not to look at challenging problems as an obstacle, but to look at them as an opportunities.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

I tell them to take a break, wait a little while, then get right back in the game; but don't quit. I remind them of their goals.

What is your teaching philosophy?

A teacher must also enjoy teaching, because he/she is teaching not just to impart knowledge, but to change lives. Knowledge is important, but knowledge without passion will lead to a failure to effectively communicate to students. A teacher must be teachable. A teacher must continually ask himself/herself, "How can I improve?" A teacher must be willing to continually grow. If a teacher stops growing today, then he/she stops teaching tomorrow. I constantly tell my students that, when they are challenged to think, they are exercising their brain, thereby increasing their intelligence. A teacher's life must be wrapped in the 4 Ds of success: Decision, Determination, Discipline, and Diligence. A teacher must be decisive about what is needed to produce success in the classroom. He/she must be determined to stay the course and not waver in the face of whatever obstacles may be in the way. The educator must be determined to not just help students get 'to college' but to help build the character and skills needed to 'get through college.' Discipline is needed so that the educator is not moved by his/her feelings on any given day, but is moved by his/her convictions to change lives.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

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What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

I get students to be very honest with me and with themselves. This has to be the starting point.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

I tell them that working on challenging math problems actually increases their intelligence; so look at the math problems as opportunities to conquer a mountain, rather than looking at the math problems as obstacles.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I would ask questions at every step of the topic I am teaching. Then I would give the student problems to work on, covering material that I just taught.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Again, I tell the student that failure is only when you don't even attempt to try. I also get the student to stop speaking negatively.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I look at where a student is struggling, and then try to determine why they are struggling in that area or multiple areas. Sometimes it is because the student lacks good study habits, or doesn't study at all.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

It depends on what the student needs. I may have to use visuals because some students are visual learners.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

I get the same subject book that the student is using. Then I will sometimes look on the Internet for some more materials in my arsenal.