I am a Martial Arts Instructor who coaches students on a daily basis in order to help them operate to their fullest potential. I push my students to perform beyond what is required of them, so that they are better equipped to handle the various obstacles in life. I approach tutoring in much the same way and often combine my coaching methods and philosophies with my teaching methods and systems.
My goal with each of my students is to teach them well enough that I eventually put myself out of a job! I train my students to be active learners who understand how to research information, to reason through known facts, and to make educated conclusions for themselves in order to give them the tools necessary to solve real-world scenarios. I believe that every student has the potential for genius inside of them, just waiting to be revealed. My favorite method of teaching is guiding students through a new topic by asking them a series of questions that lead them to the correct answer. I consistently research new teaching methods, psychological studies, and educational movements in order to stay current with academic trends, and to provide my students with the best instruction possible. I use what I know about psychology and learning styles to develop a method tailored to each of my students' needs.
It is also very important to me to build a trusting relationship with my students in which they know that I have their best interests at heart and that I truly do care for their success. I like to spend time getting to know each of my students by dedicating a small portion of each session to talking about the day and sharing what is on our minds. I have a strong record of increasing test results and overall grades, and all my students show a dramatic improvement in character and demeanor.
Undergraduate Degree: University of Mary Washington - Bachelors, Psychology
Karate, Kickboxing, Combatives, Hiking, Swimming, Guitar, Singing, Drawing
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that all students are intelligent. It is my duty as an educator to help reveal that quality to all those that come to me for help. In order to do this effectively, it is important for me get to know my students. I often start my sessions by simply talking with my students about their day. I take note of any special interests, and I take the time to understand their various learning styles and how they process information. I am a firm believer that intelligence is not based on how much we know, but what we can accomplish with what we already know. Because of this, I rarely give students the answer or even the method to a problem directly. I find it more beneficial to pose a series of questions that guide my students to the correct answer. It is important for students to process and reason through information for themselves. These abilities will not grow if they are not challenged.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I usually begin my introduction session by getting to know the student. I realize that "needing a tutor" often has an associated stigma, so I try to break any preconceived ideas by using humor, sharing a bit about myself, and ensuring that my student knows I have his/her best interest at heart. Only after I feel that I have successfully built some trust with my student, will I ask where s/he is struggling in school. When the books do finally open, I still like to take things slow by learning how my student operates. I like to get an idea about how they learn and process information. This information determines the teaching method I use and the speed at which I give my student new information.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
My goal is to teach so effectively that I put myself out of a job. The only way to accomplish this is to teach students not what to learn, but how to learn. I challenge all my students to use the information they already know to make informed guesses on how to solve problems. I also find it helpful to systemize topics by showing how everything is related in some fashion or another. This way, the students already have a blueprint on how things function.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Every student has the potential to be a genius and the potential to be successful. This potential simply has to be recognized and activated. I encourage students to be the very best they can be and to not accept anything below what I know they can achieve. When my students take a step in the right direction, I always acknowledge their progress and praise their efforts. When they make a wrong turn, I point out where they went wrong and make sure they know they can do better. Whenever students tell me that they are worried because a project is due or a test is approaching, I show them that they can do it by giving them a roadmap to success. I teach them how to plan their study habits and manage their time. I put all of this on paper so that my students can see that it is possible.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I believe that mindset is everything when it comes to overcoming difficult subjects. When students struggle learning specific topics, I do not let them doubt themselves or get frustrated. That may mean I distract them with an unrelated topic or it may mean that I have them declare "I can do it!" I have discovered that many students who struggle with a specific subject or topic do not fully understand a foundational premise for that topic. This is most easily seen in math. For example, a student struggling to change fractions into decimals may not understand the concept of fractions being less than a whole piece so the idea of decimals is a foreign concept. Often, just by filling in that one, small piece of the puzzle, the whole concept is brought into focus.