I attended Tennessee State University, Florida A&M University, University of Memphis (BLS) and Christian Brothers University (MAT and MSEL). I started as a teacher in the Memphis City Schools (now Shelby county Schools) and have taught math for 12 years.
What do I tutor? Math, of course! I have tutored math for my classes (6th through 12 grade), ACT tutoring for the WIN Program of the local YWCA, and have been the coach of our schools MathCounts team for three years. I like to tutor high school subjects better because that is where I was challenged in school and overcoming those challenges means the most to high school students. I also have experience with tutoring English.
My philosophy of education starts with making students comfortable, then confident. Students learn best by being exposed to theory, instructional models, and hands on experiences. Students should also have high expectations of themselves, or at least decide how they want to live their lives.
Outside of math, I sing with my church choir and play the piano and organ. I am a recommended black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and I hope to become a decided black belt soon. I try to sandwich in a little TV and reading when I'm not involved in those activities.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Memphis - Bachelors, Liberal Studies
Graduate Degree: Christian Brothers University - Masters, Education
Tae Kwon Do, watching movies, or a good mystery book
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe: children and adults should show respect for themselves and others through their words and actions, and that students should have a physically and emotionally safe place to learn. I also believe that children, teachers, parents, and the greater community all play a vital role in a child's education, and that students need an inviting, calm, and orderly place to learn effectively. Last, I believe that students should have high expectations of themselves, or at least decide how they want to live their lives.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Introduce ourselves, determine the goals of the student, determine the goals of the class, and figure out the student’s strengths and weaknesses.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
First, show the student how to do the problem. Second have them do one together, so they can see what they did right and what they did wrong, and then have them work together to solve another (let's see if you remember), and then solve one on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
First, telling a student what they did right with a problem, and then helping them find a way to correct what they did wrong. Second, a little encouragement helps, and third, letting them see that they can succeed on their own really helps with the motivation process.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
First, explain it again. Next, explain step by step (even if I have to break down little things step by step in the problem. Next, give them an example of how they use concept in a "real-world" setting, and last, try another method of explaining the problem. Another thing that helps is to have the student show you their work, so I can see where they are having problems, but sometimes I have to build confidence before I can get them to that point
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I have students use a modified form of the UNRAAVEL strategy, where they annotate their problems by underlining what the question is asking for, circling the important (clue) words and boxing the numbers that they will need. Students are encouraged to strikeout unnecessary information.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Try to find out what a student is interested in and link it to what they are doing, or at least show them that if they do not complete the course, that will only hold them back from what they are really interested in. After all, one has to do what they have to do to get a chance to do what they want to do.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
There's the tried and true of allowing the student to complete the problem on their own without assistance. Other techniques that I use are having them teach it back to me and having them try an application of the problem.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Let them know that they can, and probably already have solved a similar problem. Also, the process of pointing out what a student has done correctly and showing them what they could have done differently helps. Taking answers in a form other than verbal (written or electronic) helps some students and last, finding the funny and not getting overly upset over wrong answers.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Watch them do a problem, checking a problem that they have already done, paying attention to the things that they tell you (and sometimes they say a lot) and what they shy away from are ways of finding out what a student needs.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Creating and using games, graphs, and short explanations are liked by the students, as well as letting them write on the board.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I'm pretty simple: mostly pencil, paper and brain along with a calculator. There are times the toys come along, especially for geometry.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Most students are already uncomfortable with math, and now they have to deal with a new person, so the most important thing to do with a new student is to make them as comfortable as possible with both.