I have worked as a Sunday school and Summer School teacher for a variety of subjects for over 5 years at the Muslim Center of New York. Furthermore, in my opinion, teaching is a duty incumbent on all of us to help kids receive the assistance we perhaps did not have growing up. Ultimately, it is this mindset and the passion that comes with it that make me a great tutor. Furthermore, my students and their parents were very happy with their progress through the curriculum while they were with me. Some of my students even progressed far into school, and city wide competitions, such as the annual speech competition. In regard to their age, they had ranged from elementary to high school age students.
Undergraduate Degree: CUNY Queens College - Current Undergrad, Psychology
Hiking, Skateboards, Traveling, Networking, Reading, Playing Handball and Biking.
What is your teaching philosophy?
"Discimus ut Serviamus: We learn so that we may serve." I believe that learning is intrinsically a social process and is very goal oriented. If you feel that there is a purpose behind learning a subject, some material or a task, you are more likely to enjoy and feel better about the process of learning. It also helps to know that the task you will be learning about may one day be of use to your or someone you know. It is because of this, and other reasons that I find teaching to be such a refreshing exercise. It gives purpose to learning that has occurred oftentimes many years before the need of the knowledge and satisfies a primal urge to teach our younger generation what we have gained through our experiences. It is almost as if you are creating a legacy with every student that you work with, and by doing so, you also remaster the material you teach. It is ultimately a privilege and a duty of those of us who have more knowledge to pass it on to those of us who come after.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Ultimately, I would like to know how they feel about the subject and what they feel would be the hardest part of it for them. I like to understand where the difficulty in learning lies so I can at least have a general idea of where to start working from.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I would start by asking about the things they find most difficult, and teaching them methods on how to cope as well as adapt their learning style. It would begin by me showing them various ways to tackle problems and then slowly rewarding them as they learn to figure out which method works best each time on their own. That way, they will begin to learn how to try and fail forward so if they need help, they can try all the possible options without looking for shortcuts.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I'd set up a reward and balance system. I usually do so on a schedule where they start by getting rewarded for basic accomplishments and no demerits. However, as we progress further, I would introduce them to point loss and attrition. I'd also keep score charts so they know how they are doing this week versus last, and I'd show them graphical displays of their progress or decline.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Obviously, we all would try to determine what aspect is troubling them, but I would also see if there is a better way to think about what they have trouble with. Maybe, they are more of a visual learner rather than being a particularly auditory learner. I would also do a variety of simpler and more difficult tasks to determine where the problem is and solve. As always, practice breeds mastery.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I'd start with helping them break down the reading into parts and looking at each piece as a separate entity. Then, we'd evaluate what each piece means, eventually creating the whole. By separating the parts of a system, you can better understand the whole, and with practice, it will become a mental task entirely based off of reflex.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I choose not to assume. I understand that the students come with a profile, listing what their best qualities are, and what they are bad at, but it fails to mention what they are like truly: What their interests are, what their favorite subjects are, and how best to engage them. Ultimately, I try to get to know my students, and do a practical assessment as an independent measure of what they know versus what they need help with. I then let them explain why they thought a certain answer was correct or wrong to allow me to get into their thought process. That way, I can catch the flaw and correct it there.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would relate it to what they like best. If a student is an avid fan of nature and the outdoors, I would relate his Algebra and slope formulas to help him figure out how far he could hike in a day with a certain slope of ascension. The more I know of their personal interests, the easier it is to teach them how to like something that isn't necessarily on the top of their to do list.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Besides testing, I would also go through the problems and have them teach them back to me as if I were completely new. I believe in the saying " If you can't explain it to a four year old, you don't understand it."
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Well, we would start by having them do loads of practice problems and word games to build fluency. Once we are confident that the material is mastered at the core, we would gradually move them up the ladder of difficulty and have them solve more difficult problems. I would also intersperse simple questions to help boost their self confidence and offer rewards for a rank or milestone achievement.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I start with the profile provided. After that, I look into whatever report cards, homework assignments, or tests they have that have been graded so I can see what they are struggling with and why. Finally, I check the student's notebook and see if he is paying attention in class by taking notes, or dawdling.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I start by understanding that no two students are the same. I come in with a simple pen, pad, and a smile, jot down what the student needs help with as well as their interests and hobbies. I also note what I receive in the mail as far as what they are struggling with, and bring supplies appropriate to be used for that specific purpose (if a student needs organizational help, sticky notes, and a set of highlighters for example). If perhaps it is more a matter of attention deficiency, I bring a reward system chart noting behavior and a contract to be used by the parent in partnership with the student.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Generally, I would use my pad, a graphing calculator, a few highlighters, index cards, and a spare notebook for scrap work. I would generally also require access to a computer so I can look up informative videos or tutorials that may be of use. I also forward links to the parents' email about various practice exam sites to help better prepare for standardized tests.