I'm a 2013 graduate with a B.S. in Chemistry from the College of William and Mary. Currently my primary job is as an Emergency Room scribe, as I'm hoping to transition into the medical field in a couple of years. I generally have mornings free until 3 or 4 in the afternoon, but my schedule can be unpredictable at times.
When I was a child, I used to play "school" with my younger siblings, with grandiose intentions of having them astound their teachers at real school by how proficient they had become. It drove them insane, though I like to think I helped at least one some occasions; otherwise, why would I continue to be the one, out of the four of us, that to this day is asked to double-check papers, to explain a formula, to clarify a concept.
Even though I've decided to ultimately pursue a career in medicine, teaching is always something that has piqued my interest. I enjoy helping others learn, and I enjoy the new ways of learning material that come from the act of rephrasing a concept or coming up with illustrating examples. My hope here is to be a help to more people than my siblings, as well as to strengthen my own knowledge in the process.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: College of William and Mary - Bachelors, Chemistry
Cooking, music, reading, computer games when I have the time
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
The concept is key. If you have a solid grasp of the relevant concepts, almost anything you need to solve the problem at hand can be derived and understood with much more ease.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Look over the student's work in the class or classes, try and figure out what the student is taking from their normal schooling and studying versus what they need help with, and work from there.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Try and get them to ask questions, and try and teach them how to find answers to their questions on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Encouragement! If people feel they are doing something well, they often will motivate themselves.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Try a different way of explaining it, or try a different example to try and illustrate it better; if it isn't working, try and see if there's a more foundational concept that the student hasn't mastered, and start from that.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Find out if the problem is vocabulary; if it is, then teach them the words; otherwise, engage them in conversation about the text to try and train critical thinking and analysis.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Try and find ways it's relevant to "real life," or ways that they can think about the subject as it pertains to their own experience.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Quiz them on it, engage in conversation about it, and have them summarize it.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Practice, practice, practice. Confidence comes from command of the material.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Look over what they do incorrectly and try to find themes and concepts that they struggle with.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Pen and paper more than anything. Doing problems is the best way to learn. The Internet can be a great way to find explanations and examples, though textbooks are typically more reliable and easier to work with.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Socrates said that all knowledge is innate; while I don't think that's necessarily true, the best way for people to learn, in my opinion, is for them to discover knowledge on their own with the teacher there only to provide nudges in the right direction.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
This is almost a redundant question; tutoring is inherently adaptive, or it ought to be. You adapt to the student by listening to their questions and questioning them on what they already know versus what they are having trouble with, and adjust what and how to plan to cover accordingly.