I'm Joseph R., a 24-year-old male with a passion for reading and writing. I have been professionally tutoring for a little over 2 years now and have had great success with my students, ranging from middle school to college-age, as well as non-traditional students.
Since graduating summa cum laude from Hiram College in 2013 with a Bachelor's in English and Philosophy I have dedicated my time to performing full-time volunteer service in education. Throughout the 2013-14 school year, I worked with students and school staff in the Olney neighborhood of Philadelphia as a City Year corps member, where I tutored students in attendance, behavior and course performance. During my time with City Year I partnered with teachers and staff to form lesson plans, helped to bring over 75% of student's grades from off-track to on-track and successfully engaged more than 50 students in a school-wide book-reading challenge as a literacy coordinator. Following my service with City Year, I accepted a position as an ESOL tutor at NHTI, a community college in Concord, New Hampshire, where I provided tutoring in all subjects. I have also worked remotely, providing online tutoring services in elementary, high school, college and ESOL writing.
I prefer one-on-one tutoring and enjoy engaging my students with fun and challenging works. I like to apply literature and philosophy to real world situations to allow my students to fully understand the relevance and necessity of knowing and using literacy skills in their everyday lives. I look forward to meeting new students and working with them to reach their goals. Please contact me about any questions you may have!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Hiram College - Bachelors, English and Philosophy
GRE Verbal: 165
Learning, Art, Reading, Writing, Creating and Listening to Music, Drawing/Sketching, Painting, Hiking, Basketball, Urban Exploration, Photography, Comedy
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Teaching is my passion. For me the learning environment provides a forum both for the impartation of knowledge and for the exchange of ideas, those of my students, and those of the authors we read. Through our interaction, I find that I am intellectually challenged and fulfilled. In order to facilitate an intellectual atmosphere that benefits both students and me, I have three pedagogical goals: 1. To encourage students to think critically. 2. To have students analyze historical events from a wide range of perspectives in order to appreciate the complexity of the historical process. 3. To discourage students from taking events at face value, but to have them ask basic questions regarding why events happen, how they happen, and to critically analyze outcomes.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Just like in the regular classroom, students want to know where they stand with you and what’s expected of them. Similar to the first day of school, I would discuss rules and expectations, while letting the student know a little bit about myself. After communicating expectations, I would work with the student to develop simple, easy-to-understand goals to increase motivation and self-sufficiency.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
There are a number of ways to help students become independent learners. Most importantly, teachers and tutors can use questioning as scaffolding to independent learning. The aim here is a gradual, step-by-step transfer of responsibility from the teacher to the student. Teachers must develop effective discourse with their students, asking higher order, open-ended questions and responding flexibly to students’ responses to promote thinking, problem-solving skills and deeper understanding. It is also important to encourage students to be reflective. For example, suggesting your students keep a ‘learning diary’ can enable them to keep track of their learning and monitor their progress. Hopefully their confidence will increase as they look back and become aware of how far they've come throughout the school year.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
A high-quality relationship with a teacher whom students respect is a key element of helping students develop intrinsic motivation. It is thus important to take a genuine interest in students. Teachers should learn their students' interests, hopes, and dreams and ask them about what is happening in their lives. It is also important to never give up on a student, to be positive (as much as humanly possible) and encourage a growth mindset.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would identify the lack of understanding and determine whether or not we simply needed to review or take a fresh approach to the concept to be learned. Sometimes you just have to go back to basics.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Effective comprehension strategy instruction can be accomplished through cooperative learning, which involves students or teachers working together as partners or in small groups on clearly defined tasks. It is important for teachers to provide modeling of the comprehension strategies, including monitoring comprehension, metacognition, using graphic and semantic organizers, answering questions, generating questions, recognizing story structure and summarizing text.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
1. Specify clear lesson objectives 2. Teach directly to those objectives 3. Make learning as concrete and meaningful as possible 4. Provide relevant guided practice 5. Provide independent practice
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Enthusiasm is contagious. If you are excited about what you are teaching, then students are more likely to be excited. However, this isn't always the case. It is thus important to clearly define objectives. If your students have clear, attainable goals that they are working towards, they’ll be more motivated to achieve them than if they aren’t sure what they are working towards. “Completion’ of an assignment isn’t a clear objective.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Teachers can actively engage students in monitoring strategies that require them to do something to illustrate their understanding. My favorite strategy is to use a Socratic seminar in which students ask questions of their teacher about an essential question, topic, or selected text. The questions initiate a conversation that continues with a series of responses and additional questions. Students learn to formulate questions that address issues to facilitate their own ideas and arrive at a new understanding.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
1. Offer praise and acknowledge students’ accomplishments, both in private and in front of their parents. Always start with a positive statement, and then you can add on by referring to what they need to work on. 2. Try not to correct every single thing the student says wrong. Do not interrupt the student when they are talking to correct them—this will harm their confidence, not boost it. 3. Set attainable goals from day one. This is a surefire way for students to see how much they have grown. 4. Give students the opportunity to choose what they learn. 5. Create opportunities for students to succeed by building on their strengths. If a student knows a lot of information about something, ask them to tell you about it.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
The first step is to find out more about the student. Knowledge about students will enable you to refine lessons, discussions, comments, and activities so that students have more effective learning experiences. References to student interests, backgrounds, knowledge, and even anxieties can make the session seem more personal and the material more accessible.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
It is essential to tailor your approach to each individual student and be receptive to a student's learning style so you can change your technique depending on what would be most effective in any give situation.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I typically bring a planner, so both the student and I can plan ahead for upcoming tests and projects, as well as coordinate their tutoring sessions and agendas. It's a way to keep me connected to the daily classroom activities. Simply keeping a planner that will be seen by the tutor will also help the student with organizing work. I also bring pens, pencils and note cards.