While reflecting upon my own past experiences as a student, I have come to recognize more fully just how great of an impact teachers of all grade levels and content areas have on their students. Being inspired by three highly effective and personable teachers and professors, I have experienced and witnessed first-hand the many benefits of having a strong support system and encouraging role model inside the classroom.
Attending and graduating from Clemson University afforded me the opportunity to earn my Bachelor's Degree in Secondary Education: Mathematics. Majoring in mathematics allowed me to further discover and cultivate my passion for problem solving and critical thinking. While working alongside my peers at Clemson, I developed a unique love of collaboration, sharpening the ever-important life skills of communication, problem-solving, as well as critical thinking, that I now am able to confidently pass down to my students.
After teaching and tutoring in the public school system for 3 years and having a total of 6 years of experience in the classroom, I am growing and learning to become proficient in implementing a variety of teaching strategies from which my students have increased their knowledge base in math. Direct instruction, guided and independent practice, intentional grouping, inquiry-based instruction, as well as the TAPPLE method, have proven to be effective strategies for instruction for my past and current students. I have also had the opportunity to become well-versed in various types of technology including Chromebooks, Promethean boards, Smart-Boards, and the TI-83 calculator just to name a few.
I thoroughly enjoy helping and motivating students of all ages and am looking forward to serving as a math tutor.
Q & A
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session with a student, I would introduce myself, ask questions to survey how he or she learns best, and communicate with him or her to arrange future tutoring sessions. I would also gather information as to which if any supplemental materials would be needed for additional practice problems.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would help students stay motivated by giving positive and specific feedback, as well as praise and encouragement. Also, I would provide practice problems that would be specifically tailored for the student's appropriate skill level, helping the student reach success with questions to further boost confidence. As time goes on, I would provide more challenging questions.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, I would gather additional materials from other sources to help differentiate my instruction.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
To help a student get excited/engaged with a concept he or she is struggling with I would inquire about his or her interests and hobbies, and I would create problems which involved the student's interests.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would use a variety of resources such as quizzes, tests, informal assessments such as exit tickets, and would also use higher-order thinking questions as a way to check for objective mastery.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Building a student's confidence in math involves meeting the student at the level which he or she is on, providing questions that are the appropriate skill level, and gradually increasing the skill difficulty after the student has mastered success on the previous questions and practice problems.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I will typically use a dry-erase board, notebook paper, graph paper, graphing calculator, and additional resources such as math textbooks, workbooks, etc.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
To evaluate a student's needs, I typically use a "Math Inventory" and have students answer in which areas they are proficient and in which areas they would like to get better. Also, I give students a "Multiple Intelligences Survey" to assess how each student learns best. Both of these assessments are used to guide my further instruction.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I adapt my tutoring to each student's needs by assessing how each student learns best. For example, many of my past students learned best and benefitted from a visual demonstration of example problems solved in a step-by-step fashion. The pacing, number, and skill level of example problems would depend on the skill level of the student.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The strategies that I have found to be most successful when I start to work with a student are assessing the student's skill level by asking what objectives are easy for them and which objectives are difficult for them. Once I have an understanding of what skill level the student is on, students will typically provide the questions they are struggling with. As we begin work on a problem, I found the "think aloud" strategy to be an effective one. This strategy gives the student problem-solving techniques and a thought process on approaching a variety of math problems.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Helping students become independent learners in math is essential for success in math. Students can gradually become independent learners by practicing problems on a repetitive basis until they are successful in solving problems without the aid of the tutor or notes. Also, providing students with problem-solving skills and a process of which to solve difficult math problems allows the student to practice and apply the same set of skills or processes until he or she is proficient.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
When working with students who are struggling with reading comprehension, I have found breaking down the sentence or sentences word by word to be one of the most effective strategies. Also, translating the text in such a way that the student can understand it has been proven to be an effective strategy. Pointing out key words, especially in lengthy math word problems, and providing definitions has also been proven effective to help students struggling with reading comprehension.