I am a freshman at the University of Wisconsin - Madison studying flute. During my last two years of high school, I was a math tutor for underclassmen. This was by far the best job I have ever had. I love to teach and find different ways to explain concepts to make them understandable for students. I also tend to get very enthusiastic about the subject at hand. It is my strong belief that they key to success in academics is true understanding. When a student understands why something works, memorization becomes a tool that is only rarely needed. Students that understand concepts can also tackle complex and challenging questions with confidence. As a tutor, I work to ensure that my students fully understand the material with which they are working.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Wisconsin-Madison - Current Undergrad, Music Performance
ACT English: 35
ACT Reading: 36
ACT Science: 32
Classical and Celtic music, literature, poetry, Shakespeare, Tolkien, fantasy, writing, ancient history, medieval weaponry, horseback riding
High School English
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
It is absolutely essential that students understand why they are doing something rather than just memorizing when to do it. When a student truly understands a concept, then memorization is rarely even necessary; it makes sense for the student to use a specific skill in a given situation. True understanding always leads to greater success.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I will first get to know the student a bit before beginning the actual tutoring, both as a person and as a student. People have very different learning and study habits and therefore respond to different methods of teaching. I would ask them what concepts of the class they understand the most, and then try to base my other instruction off of that understanding.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Teaching good study habits is the best way to teach an independent learner. I will help a student learn how to get to a point of understanding of a new concept by beginning with what they know and applying that knowledge to a new situation.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would try several different methods of explanations, using concepts of which I know the student has a solid understanding. I will move very slowly through a trouble spot, ensuring that the student understands not only every step but also the reason for doing each step. After solving the initial problem slowly, the key is practice, going from a very simple example to a very complex example to ensure the student's total comprehension.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I have found that very methodical explanation of a difficult concept works very well for students. Using the student's understanding of a different but related concept to explain a challenging one is also very helpful. For instance, for a student that struggles with the geometry, discussing the concepts in terms of algebraic equations is very effective and makes a connection between the two subjects.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
When I am excited about a concept myself, the students often get excited with me. I can usually get students excited about a concept by being enthusiastic about how fascinating something is, or how incredible it is that a specific operation works. Giving relatable examples is also helpful to get students engaged.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I will give several sample questions, each using the material but requiring a different thought process to complete. Beginning with very simple questions, the student will answer progressively more difficult examples with progressively less help and explanations from me. When they can answer a complex question without any aid from me, I am confident that they understand the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I will build a student's confidence by giving several examples that they can answer easily, then progressing gradually to more difficult ones. An encouraging attitude and gentle criticism helps the student to become comfortable with the subject and many examples make it familiar.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Firstly, I evaluate the student's needs by asking the student what he or she is struggling with. I have found that the students are usually good judges of what they can do well and what they are having trouble with. I then ask the student to explain the process while they answer a question; through their explanation, I can identify if there are any gaps in knowledge that need to be filled.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I will help students stay motivated by offering positive encouragement and helpful but gentle advice in the right direction. If a student is understanding, providing complex and challenging examples keeps them interested in the topic.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I will begin by asking what the student sees in the reading material, then nudging in the right direction by indicating the relevant passage or asking pointed questions. As the student becomes more comfortable with the material, I will make my questions increasingly broad and allow the student room to interpret the material on their own.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I pride myself in being able to find many different explanations of a certain concept. Since people think differently, it often requires a bit of exploring to determine what type of explanation makes sense to a particular student. I can adapt by trying many different methods and connections and noting which ones the student understands.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
The student's materials so that I can help them with exactly what they need to know. I will also invent my own questions alongside the assigned ones for extra practice. These I make more difficult than the assigned questions.