I am a retired Bilingual, Spanish as a Foreign Language and ESL still certified teacher. I also retired as a School Administrator. A great tutor is a person who makes sure the subject matter has been understood, checks for understanding, re-teaches if necessary and checks for learning again until the student has mastered knowledge.
Q & A
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Introduce myself, ask for his/her name and find out their interest in learning and the subject they need help with, finding out where they think they started having difficulties and tailoring a methodology or approach to their needs.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
By checking for understanding. Having the student tell me what he/she understands, having the student write a summary of the material, and having the student present the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
By being personable, by explaining it is ok to have questions, by celebrating small successes in a genuine manner, and by having the student realize the importance of what they are learning.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Evaluation can be by an oral exam, written exam, or doing a project where he/she can use the skills taught. Demonstrate understanding in the best way the student feels comfortable. The point is to assess the level of understanding.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I need to know first how the student learns. This is about the student's success and me finding a method to make sure learning is taking place.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Books, audiovisual materials, maybe drawing depending of the age and ability of the student, reporting, if in a group; group projects and presentations. I have even had student rap about the subject; use music, role playing, etc.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I am there to convey knowledge in a way a student can understand, and to help them not experience anxiety buy enjoy the material. If I connect the subject to their actual life experiences, students can connect and make sense of their world as they learn.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
First, by me teaching the subject, checking for understanding as I go along, helping them perform a task and then giving them the opportunity to demonstrate understanding by doing the work themselves and presenting it, explaining it, or holding a conversation.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By capitalizing on their strengths. Teaching is about the success of the student, by celebrating their accomplishments, by being genuine and candid at the same time to ensure the students can think and improve their performance.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Find out where lies the problem first; having the student tell me what or where the concept is not understood, maybe assessing their reading comprehension, their verbal ability, and their vocabulary mastery, and supporting their efforts from there by re-teaching and re-checking for understanding.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
It depends. I need to know what part of the reading process is difficult for the student. If there is poor knowledge of the meaning of words and their use in context, I need to explain and have the student re-visit the material. The student needs to know what a paragraph conveys; what is the main idea and what are supporting details; by using diagrams, and then by holding a conversation with the student to help him reason, thus helping him/her understand.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
By assessing the student’s needs first, I would know what needs to be taught or re-taught. If a student reads, talks about the material and employs that knowledge and/or connects that knowledge with real life situations connected to their experience, he/she will remember skills for a long time to come more so than with just a paper and pencil test.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
By being supportive, genuine and dedicated to see that the student feels he/she is supported, and that someone is available to answer questions without judgement.