I am currently a philosophy student at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, majoring in philosophy, with much of my studies revolving around social justice and the cultivation of an equitable society for all. Often, I become an impromptu tutor in many of my classes, and due to the diverse learning environment at MCTC, I tutor students of various ages and backgrounds. Further, my experience in philosophy has led me to many discussion circles wherein a number of students, myself included, are working together towards a greater comprehension of a difficult text. These experiences have led me to a general teaching ethos of flexibility and adaptation. I believe the tutor should be working to meet the student on their level, and I take every opportunity I can to adapt my style of teaching to the individual's proficiencies. My favorite subjects to tutor are English, writing, college essays, ACT reading, ACT writing, and philosophy. When I'm not tutoring, I spend much of my time reading either for class, or self-educating within a number of subjects. Besides that, I do a lot of cooking and sewing.
Undergraduate Degree: Minneapolis Community and Technical College - Current Undergrad, Philosophy
ACT Reading: 34
ACT Science: 35
Philosophy, Social Justice, Education, Cooking, Sewing, Biking, Reading
10th Grade Writing
11th Grade Writing
12th Grade Writing
CLEP College Composition
CLEP College Composition Modular
High School English
High School Writing
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe in adapting the teaching method to the individual, as there is no single form of teaching that is effective with every student. The tutor should, by definition, meet the student at their level of need, rather than using an inflexible and maladaptive tutoring style.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
My first action as a tutor is to have the student explain, in their own words, some of their greatest struggles in the subject in question, as well as what they remember has helped in the past. This is so I may alter my tutoring style to the individual student, rather than applying a blanket, one-size-fits-all approach.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I focus on teaching students broader concepts and learning tools, including study habits, creative problem solving and resources outside of the classroom that will help the student learn to work through difficult problems from beginning to end.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
My approach heavily leans on maintaining an attitude of attainability towards academic success. I believe creating independent learners involves making the student understand that anyone can succeed academically, and there is no determinant of success outside of their control.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would try to approach it from as basic a point as they still understand (for instance, if the concept is unit conversions, I may start at multiplying fractions), and take it one step at a time, working towards a functional understanding of each element of a concept.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
My first step is always to slow everything down, because I believe many students panic a little when they don't understand something. I like breaking down an article piece by piece for the student, and having them examine and understand each part of it before we tackle bigger-picture concepts like theme, tone and main ideas.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
In short, diagnostics. Not only does every student struggle with something different, the way they'll improve is also going to be unique. If I can tell how a student approaches a problem in the first place, I can work with them in a way that improves their core competencies as well as their areas of struggle.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I believe having students approach the subject on their own terms is one of the best ways to keep them engaged. If a student is struggling with sentence structure, and enjoys creative writing, I would give them some short creative writing prompts, or let them decide on one themselves, and then we would write and edit a piece together.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Practice problems are always useful for determining progress. I might begin by explaining some of the mechanics at work in a problem, but after some time I like to leave it entirely up to the student, because if they're continuously correct on a type of problem type, I know we can shift focus.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I emphasize relaxation and mindfulness whenever I can, especially with test prep students. One of my suggestions for many students is to always get a good night's sleep, and a full meal, even before practicing for a test. One should always be cultivating a welcoming environment for studying, otherwise there's a strong, negative connotation associated with studying.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
For the first session with a student, I always bring a number of practice problems in our area of study of varying difficulty. While we run through these problems, I like asking students why they chose the answer they did, because it's incredibly illuminating of their thought process, as well as how their core competencies and areas of struggle interact.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I always come prepared with a variety of materials, but I'm never 100% committed to one lesson plan. I believe teaching is a dynamic, two-way relationship, such that if a student wants to work more on one area than another one day, I'd rather swim downstream than upstream, so to speak.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I try to use free materials that the student can access any time, as much as possible. I don't feel comfortable telling a student to purchase an ACT prep book when they're already paying for tutoring, so I believe in bringing materials both supplied by the ACT website, as well as using the tutoring platform’s free online tests.