Hi! I am currently a university student that loves to learn and hopes to help others love to learn as well. My hope is that I can help students in their studies. I am motivated by success, but it does not come easy. I want students to know that if they work hard, even through frustrating subjects, they can truly be capable of anything and everything. Certain aspects of subjects may be difficult and confusing, but I am here to help you think your way to knowledge and discovery. My specialty subjects are math (elementary math to Algebra I) and English (specifically ACT prep).
I love learning and helping students learn. I tutor a student in middle school math and other subjects. I realized that there is opportunity to do the same for other students. My love of learning helps me remain on the dean's list at my university, because it makes me remain dedicated to my studies. When I do not know or understand something at first glance, I work hard to figure it out. I use that same technique to help tutor my own sister and other kids to not only help them solve problems and find answers, but also to develop problem solving skills.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Northwestern State University of Louisiana - Current Undergrad, English
ACT English: 32
reading, creative writing, watching movies, knitting, and listening to music
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I strive to meet students halfway in terms of their capabilities. My first goal is to always figure out where the student needs assistance. Then, I try to find out the student's learning style. By figuring out these two things, I hope to be effective in guiding them to knowledge.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First, I would ask the student questions to figure out where exactly they might be confused or need help. From there, I try to evaluate how comfortable the student is with the subject, what their learning style may be, and how I can help them understand their subject material better. I try to make learning as fun, interesting, and clear as possible. By understanding the student and their capabilities better, I hope to help the student have a better experience with their studies and reach a higher level of understanding.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I guide students to reaching understanding. I would never do the problem for them because that is a disservice to them in the long run. By helping students navigate through their studies in a way where they can remember it better and maybe have fun with it, I hope that they can become mentally stronger. It would be easy for me to just do their homework for them, but I like a challenge. By helping students develop stronger problem solving skills and by helping them develop better memories, I hope to lead them to making better grades and enjoying learning. The smallest thing can confuse and hinder a student. As a university student, I know just how that feels, so I am up to the challenge to help lift away any confusion.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
If a student is at any time frustrated, I try to figure out why that is. As a university student, I know how it feels to not be good at certain subjects, and I know how it feels to be at one point great at a subject, but then something goes wrong that makes me feel less sure of my capabilities. When that happens, I encourage myself and my students to push themselves to their potential. Students should never give up just as I would never give up on a student. Students should not feel as if they are not smart, because as humans we are all bright. No two humans are the same, so I do not want students to feel that they have to be perfect or compare themselves to their peers. We all have something we struggle in, and I would encourage a student that if they are confused in a subject, they can surely rise above that confusion with the right guidance, because I know they can do it.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I believe everyone is capable of learning, but there should not be a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching. Sometimes when it comes to a subject, a student may become intimidated by it, because they are so used to being presented the material in the same manner. Important details about the subject get lost or not explained to them deeply enough. I never make any assumptions about how the student was taught the material, so I try to figure out that first and then try to present it differently. For example, when it comes to math, I am a more visual person. So, I tend to balance solving equations and formulas with drawing sketches to be able to explain them better. When it comes to English, I break down the rules of grammar and associate it with everyday life, and situations to make the rules more memorable.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I try to point out tips that help make understanding different texts easier. When it comes to nonfiction, students may find it more boring. I try to help them point out details by guiding them to ask more questions while reading the text. This can help them engage in it more and remember more. I also try to get them to tap into their imaginations by visualizing it the best way that they can. For example, if a text were about George Washington, I would ask them if they know what it looked like and can visualize his face while reading the text. This can help them be able to better associate different details with his face. When it comes to more figurative pieces of writing, I ask them to tap into their emotions. How did that sentence make you feel? What do you think the character's motivations for doing that were? Would you act in the same way? I also try to get them to notice differences between the narrator and the author. If they are familiar with the author or given details about the author, then they may be able to understand the author's style. My main approaches with reading are asking questions, visualizing, and using your imagination.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I have found that letting them know they are not dumb for not knowing something really helps. In the past, when I have tutored others and my own sister, they have felt ashamed in not understanding their subject. This makes them lose their confidence and hinders their potential progress. I also found that meeting them halfway helps. Students get bogged down if you tell them a bunch of information at once. Instead, I focus on asking questions and figuring out what it is exactly that is confusing them. Also, figuring out their learning style helps them to understand so much better. To summarize, boosting their confidence, asking questions, and figuring out their learning styles are the main strategies I use to help students to be successful in their studies.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I try to figure out what the student's interests are and associate them with that subject. By comparing something a student does not understand to something they understand very well, the student is able to not only understand a complicated subject quicker, but also better. This will also easily spark their interests in the subject, because while they are still learning the subject, their focus is shifted to something they are excited about. That excitement is then implicitly transferred to the subject they are struggling in, and they are able to forget about how much they dislike it or are detached from it.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I use the Socratic method to help students learn. Basically, I ask students questions and get the students to answer. There is no focus on wrong answers. If I am trying to guide students to approach a subject in a certain way, I expect them to reveal to me their confusion. The student may think that they told me the wrong answer, but I will always assure them that they told me a valuable answer. This way I try to understand the student better without breaking down their confidence. I also use lots and lots of visuals to help students. Most people will rush through teaching a problem without going through the different ways to solve them. I use visuals and other alternatives to cater to students who are not clear about what they have been taught. This helps them remember things better, and it also taps into their creativity. I also use the things that students are interested in to explain something that they do not understand, because by connecting the two, they may be able to learn information that they did not understand before. I also try to explain why the student is learning what they are learning in the first place. Why is this the material you are learning? I find that when students know and understand this, they approach it from a better perspective and in a more refreshing way.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
If the student feels that they are not smart enough to learn it, I immediately dispel that myth from their minds. I also try to make the subject as much fun as possible, and tailor it to their interests. That way they are not intimidated by the subject. By giving them reasons to learn the subject and seeing it as fun, they will want to learn it. I had a teacher tell me once that learning should not be fun, but an obligation. I hope that no other student has heard a teacher say that to them, because it is not true. Maybe she was taking responsibility off of herself by not teaching effectively enough. I do not know. I do know that my approach to learning is nothing like that, and it should be fun. However, I do believe that learning is hard work. You will have to work at it, but you should not let that intimidate you from finding fun and creative ways to get the job done.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I ask them questions to see what they are confused about, where they are in terms of understanding the material that they are presenting me with, and what kind of learners they are. I am all about tailoring my teaching plan to the individual student, so getting to know them is essential to helping them in the long run. After I do that, I try to boost their confidence, get them to relax, and guide them to having fun with the subject.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I do this all by understanding the student. While the student is trying to learn the material, I am often having to relearn the material from the student's point of view. I have to pretend as if I know only what the student knows, and then evaluate how this student would better learn it based on their interests and learning style.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use only materials that the student has access to, so nothing fancy like high tech-calculators and other elaborate technology. I use the Internet, pen and paper, certain objects like crayons if the student has them, and my brain. I also depend heavily on the work board to make it easy for the student to see what they need to understand. I make sure that the materials that I use are tailored to the student's condition at home, so they can replicate anything I need them to on their end to help them better understand what I am teaching. For example, if I ask them if they have saltshakers to show them an example or visual, and they do not, then I come up with another object that can serve as a visual. I do not do anything too crazy, elaborate, or messy. For example, I would not ask them to take out salt and pour it on the table. That would just be a mess and upset mom, dad, babysitter, guardian, or whoever they are with.