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James

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I am a recent graduate of Drexel University, where I studied Environmental Science and History, and spent over two years working as a writing tutor. Since graduating, I have spent more time working as a freelance tutor of history and environmental science. Beginning in fall of 2016, I will attend law school for environmental law.

I strongly believe that the tutoring experience should be a give-and-take, not simply a lecture from me, so I aim to make my tutoring appointments more interactive, and hope to transfer some of the enthusiasm for the subjects I've studied to you. As human beings, we learn by being challenged, and that is what I attempt to do as a tutor. There is no reason that this has to be a dull or formulaic experience- I enjoy my tutoring appointments, and want you to as well.

If the time I have spent tutoring has taught me one thing, it is that patience is perhaps the most important tool to bring to a session, both from me, and from the student making the appointment. There are very few confusions, misconceptions, and difficulties that cannot be cleared up by taking a deep breath and working slowly and patiently through them. I am not a person to give up on a problem, so if you as a student are willing to put in the time and effort, I can promise you right now that you will ultimately see results from our sessions- whether your goal is a higher LSAT score, a better grade on a paper, or simply a desire to have a greater understanding in history, science, or English.

James’ Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Drexel University - Bachelors, Environmental Science

Test Scores

SAT Verbal: 740

LSAT: 164

SAT Subject Test in Biology E/M: 770

SAT Subject Test in Literature: 760

Hobbies

Enjoys bird watching, traveling, going to law school for Env Law next fall, likes to read, distance running, half marathons, being outside

Tutoring Subjects

Advanced Placement Prep

History

AP Environmental Science

AP Human Geography

AP U.S. Government & Politics

AP United States History

AP US History

College English

College Essays

College Geography

College Level American History

Earth Science

Ecology

English

Environmental Science

Essay Editing

Geography

High School English

High School Geography

High School Level American History

LSAT Essay Section

Reading

SAT Reading

Science

Social studies

Test Prep

US History

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe that teaching should be a partnership between student and teacher. It is a cliche to say that the teacher learns from the student just as the student learns from the teacher, but it is an accurate cliche. For this reason, I always prefer that my sessions not be one sided- I would rather they feel like a conversation than a sermon.

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

In a first session, I am likely to take the first part of the session to get to know them- who they are, where they're from, where they're going, and most importantly, what they want to get out of our sessions.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I expect that my sessions will be a partnership between the student and myself. I will not lecture at them, instead asking them a question, letting them answer it, and letting the conversation progress from there. This promotes independent learning, as it forces the student to take partial control of the sessions.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I never lecture, and prefer to keep the session an active conversation, which often helps to keep students from becoming bored. In addition, I am very passionate about the subjects I tutor, and frequently become very excited during sessions, which keeps things from becoming stagnant.

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

Patience is always key. If there is any difficulty with any concept, it is rare that that difficulty cannot be overcome by slowly and determinedly working through it, over the course of an entire session if need be.

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

There are lots of tools for this. It's always good to have a thesaurus and dictionary around, but there is a more basic answer, for me. It is important to look at the piece from the perspective of what the student already knows, rather than focusing largely on the information that they cannot understand. Viewing it as a puzzle with only a few pieces missing is far easier than examining each individual misunderstood piece and despairing.

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

It's always good to be patient, friendly, and understanding. Learning takes time, and trying to rush that process does no one any good. It wasn't very long ago that I myself was a student, and I understand exactly what students are going through, so it is extremely easy for me to put myself in their shoes. That said, it is also good to be firm, keeping the conversation mostly centered on the learning topics.

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

The easiest way for me to get a student excited about a topic they are struggling with is to get excited about it myself, when teaching them about it. Also, it can very much help to relate what we are doing to something that does interest them in some way.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

This depends on the subject material. Oftentimes I will ask the student questions as we go along, to make certain that they are comprehending what I am telling them, and not just nodding along with what I'm saying. It is also good to give small quizzes, or writing practicals, at intervals during the sessions.

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

Confidence is built with success. As a session progresses, the student will be able to measure their own success in their ever-increasing ability to score well on the checkpoint quizzes I give them. Also, I believe in positive reinforcement, and will do my best to encourage any feelings of confidence that they have throughout our sessions.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

The simplest way to do this is to ask the student what they want to get out of our sessions. Based on their answer, and the way they are performing during our sessions, I am better able to assess what they actually need help with.

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

If a student is having more difficulty with concepts, I will delve deeper into them- if they are understanding everything quickly and easily, we will push forward and find what they do need help with. Ultimately, I let what the student needs help with be the chief guiding factor in a session.

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

This depends largely on what the session is for. If it is for a subject like history or environmental science, it can be extremely helpful to have some external sources, like a textbook or some readings from a journal. If it is test prep, older versions of the test can come in quite handy. And, of course, I pull on my own experiences for the sessions, including old exams that I have taken and can use as educational materials.