Hi, my name is Heather Lynne Sutton and teaching is my passion.
I have a bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education, a masters degree in English as a second Language and am almost finished with a M.Ed in Teaching and Technology. I have 14 years experience as a teacher, especially with culturally diverse student populations.
I love to travel, cook and read. I am a huge college football fan :) "Go Buckeyes"!!
I look forward to working with new students through Varsity Tutors!!!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Western Governors University - Bachelors, Early Childhood Education K-6
Graduate Degree: Western Governors University - Masters, English as a Second Language (ESL)
Reading, volunteering, gardening, cooking, traveling
Elementary School Math
High School English
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe the fundamental goal of teaching is to foster learning. Learning takes place in many different circumstances and contexts. Although everyone is capable of learning, a student's desire to learn is a vital pre-condition to effectively mastering new concepts and skills. Humans have multiple learning styles: some learn best in lecture atmospheres, some are motivated by discussion, and others absorb best when they read and reflect on what they have read. The classroom setting can encourage or inhibit learning depending on the dominant learning style of each student. Accommodating different learning styles creates an atmosphere that is conducive to learning. Students take many of their learning habits from the instructor. If the instructor doesn't show interest in the subject and a passion for learning, students are less likely to put forth the effort to learn in that class. An instructor must convince students of his or her knowledge and expertise before they will show a willingness to learn. My job, as an instructor, is to create an atmosphere that fosters learning. I am an instructor because I have a passion for guiding students through the learning process, in addition to a passion for the material I present. One of the best ways to foster learning is to demonstrate those feelings to my students. I encourage learning by creating a relaxed environment for students, stimulating conversation about concepts being presented and organizing material in a way that makes it easiest to understand. I treat subject matter as interconnected, emphasizing that everything students are learning fits together into a holistic understanding of the world, from which they develop their personal worldview. I believe this is best accomplished when I am demonstrating general research methodology. I demonstrate that learning how to find information applies to all areas of life and I use topics and examples that are multidisciplinary. Finally, I believe that respect for my students is one of the most important things I can show - not only to encourage their openness to the material I am presenting, but also to inspire them to respect each other and all other humans. One of the most important concepts I hope to impart to students is that learning is a process that never ends. For me, the learning process includes improving myself professionally. I want to read more about formal learning theories to expand my understanding of how learning takes place. As I continue to instruct classes, I also aim to enhance my ease and confidence in front of classrooms and audiences. Finally, I plan to experiment with different methods and means of presenting information to classes in order to improve the learning atmosphere I create for students.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
A typical first session should include time to get to know the student and what they feel they need help with. This is also a great time for the student to get to know the tutor.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I can help a student become an independent learner by allowing the student to do the work. By giving control of the process to the student, I will encourage active learning and increase the student’s self-confidence. The learning process can be frustrating and slow. Part of the learning process is also getting things incorrect and learning from it. I Turn the learning over to the student and guide their thinking. The more independent they become, the better learners they will be.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
*Give students a sense of control. *Define the objectives. *Create a threat-free environment. *Lower the affective filter *Offer varied experiences. *Use positive competition. *Give students responsibility. *Give praise when earned. *Encourage self-reflection. *Be excited. *Know your students. *Harness student interests. *Help students find intrinsic motivation. *Manage student anxiety. *Make goals high but attainable. *Give feedback and offer chances to improve. *Track progress. *Make things fun. *Provide opportunities for success.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would try another approach that might better match the student's learning style.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would apply several reading comprehension techniques that would allow the student to develop comprehension skills.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
There are several strategies to choose from, but you can't really choose a strategy until you know the student, their individual culture and their learning style. After I gather this information, then I can choose the best strategies that will align with the students and their learning needs.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Knowing a student's likes and dislike, their strengths and weakness, and their interests can help shape a lesson and create excitement.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Questioning strategies - To help students grasp ideas in class, ask pointed questions that require students to use their own prior knowledge. Analogy prompt - Periodically, present students with an analogy prompt: “the concept being covered is like ____ because ____. ”
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
1. Say It Out Loud When students encounter material for the first time, it is helpful if they can talk it out with a peer or teacher. 2. Brain Dump After learning new material for a set period of time, have students do a brain dump on a blank piece of paper. This serves the purpose of helping the student realize that learning and knowledge acquisition have been happening.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I would do a "student needs assessment;" this will tell me about a student's learning style, a learner’s desired outcomes, and prior learning experiences.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
First I would need to have a holistic understanding of the student's needs (Student Needs Assessment). Next I would need to about the student, their individual culture, learning style and prior knowledge. Then I would be able to put together an action plan that would be tailored to meet the student's individual needs.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use a variety of material, props and resources during my tutoring lessons. It depends on the subject matter, the student and their learning style.