I am a prior military veteran with just under a year of direct experience in tutoring math related subjects. My experience comes directly from the Community College level, tutoring students in subjects ranging from basic math, up through Calculus 1.
Academically, I am a recent graduate (cum laude honors) of Portland State University with a B.S. in Sociology. I am also a member of Alpha Kappa Delta (the international honors society for Sociologists and Sociology majors), as well as an alumni of Phi Theta Kappa (the international honor society of 2 year colleges). My G.P.A. from P.S.U. is 3.70.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Portland State University - Bachelors, Sociology
Hobbies: Music (jazz, playing and listening), table top games, video games, and community service.Interests: Research, as it relates to the field of drug/alcohol addiction (to include recovery from addiction); Non-profit community and college radio.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I am a visual and kinesthetic learner, predominantly, and as such, prefer to tutor in these manners. Through the utilization of experiential learning, my hope is that the students that I help are able to see for themselves the how and the why of the mechanics of the material that they are learning, thus reinforcing what they have already learned in the classroom.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session, my goal is to assess what the student already knows, often times from sample practice problems (and sometimes through a review of their class notes, when available), in order to see where I, as the tutor, can meet the student on their level.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
From my experience, discussions with more experienced persons, as well as goal setting, have been most helpful for me. This, along with dedication to the material at hand, have paved the way for my success as a student, thus far. Finally, I am an advocate for independent research on behalf of both the student and myself (as the tutor) in order to reinforce the principles and mechanics behind the learned material in question.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Positive encouragement goes a long way in learning. Often times, I will refer to personal experience in a particular situation, in order to connect with the struggling student.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Generally, I use metaphors and analogies in order to help the struggling student to relate to concepts and skills that they are struggling with. Additionally, I will also, through visual learning, complete a sample problem (and check my work with the student watching) so that the student is able to understand the mechanics behind the example in question.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Simply put, we will together research (whether online, or through other sources) the answer together. For example, if I am tutoring a student online, and student comes across an unknown word, phrase, etc., I would use an online dictionary to research the material.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Humor is perhaps one of the greatest tools, and motivators, in helping a struggling student. This is because of the levity brought to the circumstance at hand. In terms of referring back to previous material, I will also recommend to the student to refer back to previous sections of work in order to bolster their understanding of the present material. Learning to me is like building a home; without a solid foundation, the home cannot stand.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
In my opinion, humor and personal stories of struggle make for the best tools in helping a student overcome their fear of not being able to comprehend. I also encourage breaks and small rewards for a job well done.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Through justification (i.e., understanding why the material is important to learn), repetition of work, and review of previous material (along with present material), my goal is to help the student appreciate and understand how understanding the material impacts their scholastic life.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I build confidence in a student's ability by offering multiple instances to practice the material in order to help them learn for themselves.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Generally what I will do is I will ask the student to explain, in their words, what the material means, both by definition of what's assigned, and by what the definition means to them as a student learning the material. In this manner, I am able to appropriately assess where a student's knowledge base is at so that, as a tutor, I am able to help them fill in the missing pieces of information.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Often through pop quizzes (both open note and closed note), I am able to assess where the student is as far as their learning is concerned. From there, I am able to assess what concepts, and sub-concepts that a student needs to learn, if any. Occasionally, if a student is feeling confident enough, I will even select a random problem and have them teach me the material in order to assess their skill level.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Typically for math, I like to use a graphing calculator (TI-83+) and flash cards for the concepts related to the material.