I have spent my career in the editing realm, but I hope to transition to teaching at some point in the next five to 10 years. But in the meantime, I would like to get a firm footing by tutoring struggling students.
I love to teach, often helping my nephew with his math homework and occasionally Spanish and some science. I am crazy about the English language — and languages in general, having studied Spanish in high school and Japanese and Italian in college. And math has always been a passion of mine.
I want to pass those passions onto young minds and get them excited about learning.
Ohio University-Main Campus - Bachelors, Journalism
What is your teaching philosophy?
Patience is key, and inspiring confidence in the student is paramount. Everyone has the skills to learn, but some students are afraid of getting the answer wrong, when understanding how to get the right answer is often more important.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Establish a rapport by getting to know the student and understand the main problem or frustration for the student.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By inspiring confidence in them. Working them through several problems and making sure they understand how to get to the answer and what the answer means is better than teaching them memorization.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Complimenting and encouraging a student go a long way toward motivating them. Letting them know that they have the skills and that they can figure out a problem or master a subject inspires them to push forward. Constantly checking in on a student's progress also will show that I want them to succeed.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a certain method isn't helping a student, I'll try a different method or back track to see if they haven't mastered an earlier skill that helps them understand the current concept. I would work to ensure they can visualize what's going on step by step so they see the process instead of question, then answer.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
First, I would ask them what they think is going on, even the tiniest bits. Then we would go over trouble spots, words or sentences that confound them. We would go over this and work it out. If context clues don't help the student figure out what a word means, we can go to a dictionary and explore the word and see how it relates to words the student might now.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I like to get students to describe out loud what their process is for arriving at a solution. I ask them to explain why they think something is the right way, whether or not it is. If it's wrong, I'll explain where they're making a misstep and why. If it's right and their logic is right, I'll confirm they're right and explain why they're correct.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would connect it to things the student is interested in.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
First, for math, I'd walk them through the problem step by step, asking them what the next step is and the next and so on. Then, if possible, I'd ask the student to draw what's going on if there's a graphic element to the problem. Finally, the student would walk me through it. Patience and practice always help.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Building confidence requires showing the student that they can do it. My nephew will often respond to my question with the answer but hidden in a question. When he does this, I ask him to explain why he thinks that's the right answer. This often helps him work out the problem to answer my question instead of just guessing and hoping he gets the answer right.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
By simply asking a student "What's bugging you?" or "What part is making sense?" This allows me to see what they know and don't know or figure out what common mistakes they might be making in their thought process. It also helps me determine their strengths and weaknesses.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
The student's textbook is the main reference material, but it mostly depends on the subject. For English needs, I know several websites that offer helpful research on basic grammar mistakes and word/phrase origins. For math, I use simple visual aids by drawing things out. For Spanish, I have a collection of extremely useful reference material from my high school teacher.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I figure out what's working and what's not working; what are the roadblocks? If a student isn't grasping a new concept, I will back track to fundamentals to see if maybe they're not understanding an earlier concept that helps complete the current puzzle.