I have always enjoyed helping others academically. I personally have realized the struggle of learning academic material of one kind or another.
There was a gap of lets just say decades between my Bachelors and Masters degrees. I had tremendous learning issues.
Over the years I learned how to learn. I learned how to study. I learned what habits I needed to change to become a better student. The result was a 4.0/4.0 in my masters program.
Just so you know I am not a total complete nerd:
I learned how to fly. I have a private pilot's license. There was a lot of studying and learning involved in that. One philosophy in aviation, "we are always a student". Because we are always learning.
I took classes in stand-up and improvisational comedy in Chicago and have performed live on stage doing both. A lot of practice. Something needed in the learning process.
And lastly, in the real business world, I started and sold three companies. A printing company and a technologies company in Chicago. I also owned, operated and sold a Cooling & Heating company in Las Vegas.
I am now semi-retired.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: U of IL - Bachelors, Economics
Graduate Degree: U of Phoenix - Masters, MBA (Business)
ACT Math: 32
Aviation, stand-up and improvisational comedy
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My philosophy is two-fold. First, advance the student to where he/she is in the classroom. Second, to help enable the student to learn on his/her own. Students have different learning styles. I try to capture that.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
While tutoring the student, I try to recognize the "block" the student has. Sometimes it is just in the area being taught. Sometimes it is a learning style. I try to address these. I must emphasis, this takes a tremendous effort from the student. Sometimes the student must unlearn some habits and then develop new ones. Honestly, quite often, easier said than done. But, with effort, it can be done.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would have the student develop a Mission Statement. Similar to mission statement businesses develop. How is what the student is doing advancing his/her mission statement? What can the student do to measure progress? People need to see progress to stay motivated.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
A difficult but good question. Not every student's difficulty is the same as another. I would observe the difficulty and then develop a plan.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would find specific materials to address examples of the student's struggle(s) and recommend: PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
A 5-15 conversation about the subject matter, strong subjects and hobbies.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Showing real life examples. I must admit, sometimes students cannot become excited about certain subjects. An example would be a student taking a course not in their major but simply because it is a required course. I'm sure this is not the answer most want to hear. But I find it true on occasion.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would start with the student's textbook. This is guide to what is being taught now. I have access to supplemental material as well as material that can be obtained on the internet. I will also make up quizzes, some verbal, some written, to determine that the student understands the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Cover the material being taught AND the material to be covered in class before our next meeting. This allows the student to enter class with an understanding of what is happening, even what is going to happen. This will instill confidence.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I will assess where the student is, and where the student wants to be. We will do this in the first 5-15 minutes of the first session.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Every student is different. First, the student's needs need to be assessed. Then I can implement a tutoring style. This style may change during the course of the tutoring if I determine that elements of the assessment were not known at the time of the first session. Some characteristics become known later in the sessions.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I start with the materials the student has from class. I prefer hard copies as it is easier to write notes in the margins.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
As noted in previous questions, I will have a 5-15 minute discussion with the student. We will discuss goals, obstacles, strengths and hobbies. I will also ask the student to explain to me what was covered in the last 1-2 class sessions. I expect the student to struggle with that. However, I will begin to see what the learning obstacles are.