I recently moved to NYC from Pittsburgh, PA, where I have lived my whole life up to this point. I went through grade school, high school, and college all within one mile of each other (all on the same street). Currently, I spend most of my time wandering around the city, learning its ins and outs, as well as reading any book I can carry around town. Working with Varsity Tutors, I hope that I can help students to teach themselves and to find out what fascinates them most. Sometimes the ideas that interest a student most aren't taught in a classroom. In school, often I'd prefer to teach myself to play the guitar rather than listen to a lecture on the crusades, or read Othello cover to cover rather than a dry, context-less except in a textbook. What's important is to find the intersection where your interests and your academic obligations meet. When you can think about classroom material in terms of activities you'd pursue whether or not it appears on the syllabus, understanding emerges. I would like to help you find a different, individuated approach to learning.
Undergraduate Degree: University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus - Bachelors, History, Philosophy, English Literature
Does a lot of reading, playing basketball, enjoys philosophy and poetry, studying for GREs
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Slow down and try to re-define the difficult concept in terms of something the student grasps more fully.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Develop a rapport with the student and don't just dive right in to the work. It is vital that a student is comfortable with the tutor in a tutoring environment, otherwise the teaching will have little impact.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would ensure they can explain the material in their own words.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I would show them that there is more to the subject than the small slice of scholarly material with which they're working. If a student isn't satisfied with the work they're given, something might click when the subject is more open to them.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Through self-assessment. I listen to the student and try to provide the education they want to receive.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
My tutoring method is quite flexible. My manner of tutoring is dependent upon student response. I do not come into a session with a rigid game plan. Rather, I have talking points and a goal or two that we work together towards accomplishing.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Pen and Paper, written material (textbook, journal article, novel, etc.), and a brain.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I teach others to teach themselves. Education is a lifelong pursuit, and it doesn't end with graduation. I want to give my students the tools to continue their education for the rest of their lives.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
The student must have a desire to learn a particular subject. This desire cannot be "because I have to" or "because I don't want to fail a test," but a genuine interest in the subject. With this established, I would aid the student in discovering reading material as well as developing a method for sifting through the material. With all the pieces in place, it is up to them to engage with the learning process.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
This is a tough one. Being forced to learn is counterproductive. Sometimes a student needs to step back from the material and focus on something completely unrelated. However, the key is to keep focused on something and to maintain a work ethic. As long as the work ethic is there, it can be turned towards any subject, with a certain level of willpower.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would try to get to know the student and what they expect to gain from the tutoring session(s). Once we have a bit of rapport, we can dive into the material with which the student needs assistance.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Slow down. As painful as it sounds, a student needs to go through a text word for word, sentence by sentence in order to grasp the text as a whole. Going through a text slowly may be frustrating, but if it is done enough, this method of understanding will become habitual and a student will be able to move through a text adroitly.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
A student has to be enlightened to the parallels between their true interests and the subject with which they struggle. When a student can see an unfamiliar subject through the lens of something familiar, tensions/struggles can be alleviated and understanding can take place.