I have earned Bachelor of Science degrees in both Biological Sciences and Nursing. As a learner, I have always had an inclination toward math and science. I was introduced to the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme when I was in middle school and I took higher level courses from then until the culmination of high school, at which point I received the IB diploma. I have a very strong academic background, despite the fact that I was always a learner who needed plenty of time and effort for things to sink in. Whenever I had trouble with concepts, particularly in the often challenging subjects of math and science, I wouldn't be open about it with my teachers, usually because of the simple fact that I didn't feel comfortable seeking help. For this reason, what's most important to me as a tutor is that any student I'm helping is comfortable enough to have open communication with me about their concerns and sources of confusion. I also find it very useful (and even necessary at times) to break things down to the very basics, in order to build understanding on a secure foundation. I genuinely love to help people understand whatever is in my power to help them understand, and so it comes naturally to me to take the knowledge I struggled to gain and help someone else along their own path towards understanding.
Undergraduate Degree: Florida International University - Current Undergrad, Biological Sciences
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1480
SAT Writing: 760
Reading, writing, exercising, yoga
High School Biology
High School English
What is your teaching philosophy?
I stress listening to the student so that I always understand what they're asking me and what they need help with. I also make sure to stop frequently to ask if the student has any questions, and I keep them engaged in every step of solving a problem.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Typically, I try to get a feel for what kinds of problems the student is having in the particular subject they need help with, and what they feel most comfortable with. That way, I can be sure to give them help where they most need it, and possibly even refer to things they understand well to help explain what they don't.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I tell my students to focus on what they know and what they are looking for. Once they've identified those, I ask them how they can use what they know to solve for what they don't know. This way, I am directing their focus, not directing them to the answer.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I find that students stay motivated when they can work with things they know how to do. So I try to integrate what they feel comfortable with and what they don't so that they can approach the problem with some sense of familiarity, instead of looking at the problem and being utterly confused and discouraged. Mainly, I remind them that they know more than they think they know by getting them to first latch on to what they can work within the problem, and use that as a stepping-stone towards the next step. The biggest agent of discouragement to me is the feeling that what you've learned so far cannot help you with what's right in front of you now.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I try to explain it in different ways, appealing to different learning styles. The explanation I'm giving at first may sound great to my own ears, but my default teaching style may not be appropriate for a student's learning style. Also, I break the concept down as much as I need to for the student to be able to process the idea as a whole.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Discussion is key with reading comprehension. What I focus on when I'm talking to a student about something that's just been read is asking them questions about why something happened, or what kind of personality a character has...and when they answer me, I have them point to the clues in the words on the page that allow one to make statements about the author's tone, characterization, etc.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The beginning of my tutoring relationships with students are often very quiet from my end because that's when I like to be most attentive to what their needs are. As I discover what they're confused with and where they need help, I start talking more because at that point, I am able to tailor my suggestions to their situation.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Normally students feel most comfortable with concepts they've mastered, so I would try to relate the material they find challenging to things they already know.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I'd ask questions relating to the concept covered that present different scenarios than what they've been exposed to.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
With students that are finding a particular concept hard to understand, I like to present progressively more difficult questions so that they are challenged with each but not so intimidated that they just get discouraged. Before they know it, they're tackling problems they might have been intimidated by at first.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Evaluating a student's needs involves paying close attention to what teaching methods resound with them the most. Usually I try getting a student to understand concepts in different ways until I see that they finally got it, and I make a mental note of what method worked best for them.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I adapt my tutoring to the student's needs by paying attention to what teaching methods work best for them and applying those.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Usually the students have class assignments or practice from their school textbooks, but I always bring paper, writing utensils, and a calculator in case I need to provide an in-depth explanation for a concept.