A photo of Stephanie, a tutor from James Madison University

Stephanie

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I am young professional in the Fairfax, VA area currently working for the Navy, and saving up to pursue my Masters Degree in Business Management. I graduated from James Madison University in 2011 with a double Bachelors of International Affairs and Economics, as well as minors in French, Chinese Business and Asian Culture studies. I'm fascinated by the international stage and love tracking the relationships between major players. Throughout my life I have excelled at mathematics; I was a member of our competition math team in middle school and high school, and have carried a passion for math into my current profession. I also love to travel; I did two home stays in France for four weeks in high school, and did a semester abroad in China where I studied Asian culture at Wuhan University, Tsinghua University (Beijing) and Sichuan University. Several of my closest friends are from foreign countries, so I'm very familiar with assisting in English subjects when English isn't the first language. My style is very upbeat, positive, patient and flexible. I firmly believe that every student is capable of an "aha!" moment when the subject matter clicks--it's just a matter of being willing to try new things!

Stephanie’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: James Madison University - Bachelors, Economics and International Affairs

Hobbies

yoga, dogs, hockey, cooking/baking, comedy

Tutoring Subjects

7th Grade Math

8th Grade Math

Algebra

Algebra 2

Business

College Algebra

College Business

College Economics

Economics

High School Business

High School Economics

Math

Middle School

Middle School Math

Other

Pre-Algebra


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe that everyone needs an “aha!” moment, and that's when things start to click. Positive encouragement, patience, and flexibility are the most important things a teacher or a tutor can offer their students.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

I'd love to get an idea of what their overall favorite subject is and why, and what they like and don't like about the particular subject we're studying. I'd want to understand how they learn best so that we can focus the sessions on methods and practice that will be the most helpful.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Asking questions throughout solving a problem is huge. The best thing you can do is ask a student, "why do you think that's the answer?" Enabling a problem solving mentality is key to helping a student become more independent.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Positive energy! I love learning and figuring out how things work, and I think people respond well when their teacher or tutor is positive. :)

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

I'd break it down to its simplest core. Every question that a teacher asks a student, or problem they need to solve, you should ask "why? What is this trying to solve?" And then you can build the process from there.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

Students have difficulty with this for a lot of reasons, and it's something that I think really needs to be taught at the student's pace. The key is to understand what that pace is so that the student feels confident. If it goes slow, it goes slow; if something clicks and they take off, that's great! Both are great, as long as you can make progress.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

Getting to know the student is huge. I think people are more open to learning from teachers and tutors when there's an active interest in who they are as a person.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

Some people are verbal learners; some are visual, and some learn by doing. Depending on how they learn, I would create a question based on what I've seen their school teaches them, and one that I think best represents the materiel. Then, I'd have them solve that on their own.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Positive reinforcement. In order to master a subject, a student needs to feel comfortable that they can answer a problem. A lot of subjects take time to learn. When they are broken down, it should be recognized when they've really understood even a part of the process. That's great when something clicks that was hard to understand before!

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I'd like a student to walk me through their problem solving process, and tell me about the subjects that they love and hate, and then tell me what they like to do and hate to do in general. Just seeing how they think really helps me learn what they might need to be successful.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

It is a process; Rome wasn't built in a day! But I'm always open to trying new things, especially if the student has an idea that they'd like to try. I adapt because I'm adaptable!

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

This completely depends on the subject. Paper, colored pens, and highlighters are always a part of it, and anything else from there depends on the subject and the student. I'm a huge fan of any type of visual aids, whether they be through graphs or graphics, and I personally learn by doing, so I like to have exercises and questions ready to go!

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

I think trying to find a way to show how that subject could potentially impact their life really helps. If you hate math for example, I'd point to maybe getting gas and how you calculate how much a tank might be. I'd also do my best to not let a student be too hard on themselves. Nothing is impossible, and everything can be learned; it's just about finding out how someone learns it best.