A photo of Will, a tutor from Portland State University

Will

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I don't believe that there is such a thing as a bad student. I am very aware of the existence of bad teachers. These teachers often end up teaching English or Foreign Languages. The thing that often differentiates a good from a bad teacher is the ability to empathize. Bad teachers will have little patience for the student who is struggling to learn the things that the teacher has had years to internalize. A good teacher on the other hand should never forget what it was like to look at the material back when it made no sense. They should further be able to remember how they came to understand it, and be able to communicate this to the student. If the student still does not understand, a great teacher will find a way to communicate it in a way that the student will.
I became a language teacher, not because I have any prodigious talent for learning foreign languages, but because of the satisfaction that I have found in seeing my students come to a realization when they had previously had no hope. I have designed my own curricula around empowering my students, and liberating them from the need for pedantic gate-keepers.
It would be my pleasure to work for you and assist you in reaching your goals!

Will’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Portland State University - Bachelors, Linguistics

Hobbies

I enjoy studying languages. I have lived in China, Germany and France. I have traveled to 14 countries. I have lived in six states in the US. I can ride a unicycle. I have played guitar for a long time. I was captain of my high school football team. I was on the chess club as well. I started a video production company when I was sixteen. I was an actor in New York City when I was 22. I like stand up comedy. I watch more Youtube than TV. I play Minecraft with my nephews. I like 60's pop music, French hip-hop and Cantonese power ballads from the 80's.

Tutoring Subjects

Conversational French

ESL/ELL

French

French 1

French 2

French 3

French 4

Languages

Latin


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

There is no such thing as a bad student, only bad teachers.

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

I will make sure that the student has a comfortable grasp of the concepts that are required to understand the one that is causing problems. After I am sure that the student is comfortable with these requisite ideas, I will reintroduce the offending concept in a way that is personally meaningful to the student.

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

I would find something that the student IS invested in and find a correlation between it and the subject that was causing trouble.

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

The best way to develop confidence in anything is to succeed in it. I would help the student to find success in a task that I prescribe, and then I would encourage the student to apply this newly proceduralized knowledge in a novel environment. Empower and liberate.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I compare my students' capabilities, as much as possible, to different stages of my own development. I don't believe that all students learn in the same way, but I have found that I can sympathize with the experiences of my students because of my own experiences.

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

I pay attention to my students as I teach. I do more of the things that my students respond well to, and less of the things that they do not.

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

I like to find materials that my student may be interested in exploring when class is over. YouTube is an awesome tool, but I think that my lessons should be devoted to the student. I leave numerous texts and links for the student, but tutoring sessions are dedicated to building up the students' skills in the subject using only the materials that are essential to that end.

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

The first session is key. Here, I need to establish the atmosphere that the sessions will have. I will briefly introduce myself and explain my relationship to the material, and what exactly the student can expect from me as the tutor. I will have certain questions about the student to determine their goals, skill level, and interests. Then, I will start the lesson, and do everything in my power to establish these sessions as an opportunity for the student to be empowered and liberated.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

My entire teaching philosophy and curriculum is based on the idea that the teacher should not be a gatekeeper of knowledge. My job is to teach the student how to learn the subject that I have learned. Learning how to learn is the most important skill, and it is something that can be taught.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I keep students motivated by helping them achieve real results. Learning is exciting, and they will never forget in my lessons that they are learning.

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

Validate. Empower. Liberate. I incorporate my students' interests into the lessons. I use material that requires deductive and inductive reasoning so that the student never feels that I am either withholding knowledge or just "telling them things." I give the students materials that will personally engage them and show them how the material can be appreciated outside of class.

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

I would listen to the student read and pay attention for marked linguistic cues that recur. I would ask questions related to the reading and try to understand where the student is having problems. I would work to explain to the student what the text meant to me, and give the student plenty of exposure to the offending element(s) of the text. I would help give the student a positive association with the act of reading in these sessions.