Everyone in my family is a teacher in one form or another. My mom teaches 6th grade English and History, my dad is a truck driving instructor, both of my grandmothers are instructors in their field of expertise. Knowing this may lead one to believe that I was forced to become a teacher however, I fell into tutoring by accident. Throughout my time in school I excelled in mathematics and humanities and I was often asked by my peers to help them with their studies. Once I became a senior in high school I began charging for my services and thus a tutor was born.
I currently have 10 year’s experience tutoring students of all subjects and grade levels. Although math is still my favorite subject, I have become quite adept at tutoring test prep and have developed many strategies designed to help students excel. Students often describe me as stern but caring and I try to live up to that description with every student I help. I hold my students to a high level and although I push them to excel I’m always there to lift them up should they fall short of their goals.
California State University-Fullerton - Bachelors, Sociology and Comparative Religion
Elementary School Math
High School English
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that all students have the capacity to excel in academics, and as such, I hold my students to a high standard. Through pushing my students to be better I have found that most of them begin to believe in themselves as well. I see my knowledge and experience as a tool for my students to use to achieve their goals, and I strive to aid them in any way I can. I believe that with guidance large problems become small and difficult subjects become a student’s favorite subject. I think education must be made accessible and relatable in order for students to really succeed; this is why I strive to give all of my student’s real world examples applicable to their lives. Additionally, I attempt to incorporate as many learning styles as possible in my lessons so that a student truly has every opportunity to succeed.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
During the first session with a student I try to assess the student's goals and develop a plan of action to help them reach these goals. Often this assessment comes in the form of a no-pressure mini test, a conversation, and general observations. Once this assessment is done, I typically ask whether the student has any homework that night that they need help with, or if they would like to proceed with the developed plan of action.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I try to help my students learn where they can find the answers themselves. If a student is looking for an answer to a history question I teach them how to use the index or do a proper internet search. If a student is looking for sample problems I help them access those resources online.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
School can be tough for kids, so I try my best to make tutoring fun. If a student is having trouble staying focused, I will suggest a quick break where they can do whatever they want to refresh their brain. If a student is frustrated because they aren't grasping a concept or getting the correct answers, I try to approach the subject a different way. Sometimes a student is just overloaded with the amount of work they have, so I try to make a game out of getting their homework done.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Approach the subject from another angle. Most problems have more than one path to the correct answer or more than one way to answer in general. Every student's brain works differently and the way I think may not be the way they think. It's a tutor’s job to help each student find the way their brain works best.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Help students learn what the important information is and what is not important. If a student can distinguish between the two then they can know where to focus their energy.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I've found students are the most successful when they are relaxed. Getting a student comfortable with both the material and myself is important. Really listening to what a student tells me can help me make lessons more interesting for my students.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Students do the best when they see the purpose behind what they are learning and when it is relative to their lives. I try to tailor my problems and examples to each student's interests. I'll also make a game out of what we're learning because students like to try to beat their tutor at any game.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I'm not a tutor that likes to assign copious amounts of work; students get enough of that at school. For math or test prep I will ask the student to complete 3-5 problems correctly before we can move on. For reading I'll have a little discussion about what they've just read. Every subject and student requires a different approach.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Words are weapons, and I have learned that well-timed words of encouragement and praise go a long way to instill confidence in my students.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Conversations with the student and with the parent, assessments, and looking at previous assignments/exams are all useful to evaluate a student's needs.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I will shorten or lengthen how long a student looks at material, change the ways in which they approach a problem, assign different kinds of material, and offer breaks and rewards for each student depending on need.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use computers/tablets, worksheets, the student's books, and other assigned work during tutoring sessions. Occasionally I will make a physical model that a student can use to physically manipulate a problem should the student need one.