I have been a certified HS math teacher for the past 9.5 years.I love helping students. I love football,basketball, and playing old school video games. :) I like to make math fun and will surprise you how I can even make your favorite activities into a math problem because math is everywhere! I try to teach the simplest way and will give step by step advice. I also encourage students to ask questions because I want to see how they are approaching the problem and we will find the easiest way to get the answer.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I think all students have the ability to learn. Some students just take a little more time than others. I also feel that it is never wrong to ask questions. Questioning means that you want to learn more. Also, I try to teach the students the easiest and most efficient way to find the answer. I do stress that steps are followed and not skipped. Math is a building subject. You use what you know previously, which is the foundation, and then as you learn more you build higher and higher. One of my greatest feelings is when I see that a student understands and I will be quick to acknowledge and celebrate those victories. Also, if a student doesn't get the answer right, I will ask why they thought that, so even making mistakes will also be a learning moment. That is what I feel is my teaching philosophy.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First, I will see what they like to do when not doing math. I will also tell them a little about myself. like how I love sports and watch movies. I want to build rapport, and also use that to try to explain math problems using their likes and dislikes. Thus will break the ice and let them know that I think of them as a person and not just a job. Then I will ask what questions they have tonight with their lessons, and we will begin to tackle those problems.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I will try to give good notes and examples of similar problems. Then I will teach the student how to use to help on those problems. Also I think I will do some guided practice, letting them do more by themselves each time until they are able to do them on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Student motivation is important. I will try to just say "don't give up" at first. Then I might crack a joke just to give them a brain break. Sometimes, just by stepping away from it for a few moments, the student's mind will be refreshed, and then we can start solving the problems.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Math can be solved different ways. If one way doesn't work right away, I might do something simpler that is related, then show how now it's just one or two more steps. Also I would maybe try a new method that might make more sense due to their learning style.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I will ask if there are words they don't understand, and then give synonyms that they do know. Also, I will encourage them to read just a few sentences and tell me what they've read about so far. Breaking it up into smaller portions may help them understand what the author is trying to say.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I like to spend a little time to get to know the student. I'll ask what they like to do, because sometimes I can incorporate it into the lesson. I just want them to feel at ease and calm because math can be nerve wracking at times. It's important to develop a relationship at first, and then I can get to the teaching part.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I have sometimes asked them to say: “I am so excited about starting this homework! Let's get this done!" Also I like to use their interests to let them see that even their favorite activities can be math oriented.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would first do a problem with them have the student write this to see the steps, and then I would do a more guided practice where I get them started but have them finish. Then I would give them independent practice where they have to do it alone, but if they need help, I would be there to give little hints.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I sometimes will start with easier questions, and let them see that math is just building on the skills you have already learned. I think letting them do things they know how to do helps build confidence to do the harder lessons.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I might do a small assessment, like 5 questions or so to see if they have the foundation of the lesson. Solving one and two-step equations, graphing a line, combining like terms-- these are skills you use every day in math.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I can usually tell if a student is not understanding by lack of response, or if in person, the look of being lost on their face. I am encouraging and ask them questions to see if we can get them back on track to finish the problem. Some races are 100 m dashes, others are a marathon; that means some problems are easy and take no time at all, but some are going to take time, and may need water breaks and slowing down, but eventually everyone will finish the race if they stay determined.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use a calculator, whiteboard and markers, pencil, graph paper, scratch paper, if in person. And use all the good tools like shape creater, graph background, white background, straight line maker, different colors of pens, and the writing tool if in the online platform. I am a very visual teacher and like to use color to differentiate the terms and show steps when solving equations.