I aim to increase student confidence by teaching the thought processes that allow for successful problem solving in their hard subjects. Armed with this knowledge and a few study tips along the way I aim to build self sufficient and competent learners who find success in all academic endeavors.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Maryland-Baltimore County - Bachelors, Biology, General
SAT Composite: 1690
Jiujitsu, reading, weightlifting
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I aim to increase student confidence by teaching the thought processes that allow for successful problem solving in their hard subjects. Armed with this knowledge and a few study tips along the way, I aim to build self-sufficient and competent learners who find success in all academic endeavors.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First I introduce myself and try to build a rapport with the student by asking about something they have an interest in. Afterwards I give my understanding of why we are meeting and what they need help with, and have them clarify as best they can what they struggle with. Then I'd get examples like homework or tests they didn't do as well as they'd hope on to get a firmer grasp on what they're aiming to improve in. I'd have them walk me through these or other practice problems that are similar to them to the best of their ability and give feedback on their approach. Then I'd take over and demonstrate an approach I favor or would recommend to that student and allow them to try it out on the same problem set, and then different ones. We'd conclude with a summary of what was done, how they improved and what they can practice to keep improving.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Independent learners have a good understanding of how they learn. By teaching a student problem-solving methods that work for them they gain an understanding of how to go about mastering new information without the tutor present. Teaching them to filter through online resources for reputable content that makes since to them and meshes well with their problem solving style would also help this process.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation is built with planning, progress, and good 'ol fashion pep. A lesson plan gives the student and myself a checklist of what we are setting out to accomplish. The definitive structure provides measurable progress points and encourages moving forward as we see what we were capable of getting done so far. The student will be motivated by their own academic progress as improvements in subject performance will inspire them to keep the ball rolling. Finally a bit of pep and enthusiasm in teaching the subject will keep the student from drifting off. If time permits we could even make games out of test questions to keep the material exciting.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I'd always start with learning how much of it they understand, as this gives a launch point for my explanations. Understanding where they're lost, I'd pick up there and give different explanations of the concept or skill until they understand, then have them teach it back to me to ensure they indeed acquired the knowledge.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
If it's the reading itself they struggle with then I will have them sound out the words and practice "site word" flash cards and other word memory exercises to increase reading comfort. If it is discerning meaning from a passage they need help with then we will break down the passage sentence by sentence or paragraph by paragraph and discuss what the author meant, and what information we are meant to get from the passage.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The best strategy when working with a new student is to learn what they know. Then clarify what they don't know. Practice the newly acquired material with problems and games that utilize problems. Finally have them reteach what they now understand to you as if you didn't understand.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
By showing my own enthusiasm for the subject and working on problems together, I'd be bringing a social aspect to the study process, as well as a hands on part to keep them excited about learning and being part of the process. Having them explain information as if I were one of their peers helps with both of these aspects too.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Having the student explain it to me as if I were a peer and complete example problems on their own are two surefire ways to ensure understanding. If they can explain it in their own words and apply it practically, they understand it.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Practice, practice, practice. Getting one type of question correct once tells them they can get a right answer. Getting 10 questions of that kind correct tells them they've mastered a concept or learned a working method. Applying this broadly across a subject by doing practice problems of greater and greater difficulty proves mastery to themselves.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I ask what they need help on and look to previous assignments to confirm that. I then would have them try practice problems to see where they fail and have them explain how they got to the point where they failed, and start there.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I utilize the student's syllabus, previous work (classwork and tests, but also homework), the internet for infographics, and practice problems.