There's something magical about that moment when a child begins to understand a concept they have been struggling with. I remember in Middle School how frustrating it was for an entire class to understand what the teacher was teaching and how embarrassing it could be to admit I still needed help. I understand that in a classroom of 27 students sometimes a teacher doesn't have the extra time one student may need, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't get that time. That's where I come in.
I love being that person who can give that student the time and compassion they need to help building their confidence while at the same time help them look at a subject in a way they understand it. For me, when a student succeeds, that's my success. I am here to provide them with the tools they need to not only bypass that current area which is a challenge for them, but to provide them with the tools they need to be able to get passed the other subjects which they will come across in the future. Much like a mother bird, my job has been completed successfully when the baby bird not only has the confidence to spread its wings, but when it has taken that leap of faith as well and succeeded.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Eastern Washington University - Bachelors, Business Administration/ Management Information Systems
Digital Scrapbooking, Camping, Traveling, Paddleboarding
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Every student needs a tightrope net to give them security in case they fall, but the distance to allow them to try on their own first.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session I like to spend time getting to know the student. A major part of success is building trust with the student and helping them understand that tutor is just a title for me. Many students learn easier when you know enough about them to relate what they know to the problem they are trying to solve. I was to
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
There are three steps I like to use to help a student become an independent learner: First, I guide the student on how to look at things from a different perspective. Second, I allow the student to explore the information with my guidance. Lastly, I have the student work the problems as far as they can and as long as they can, as if I were not there, to build their confidence using the concepts I have taught them to succeed.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I help a student stay motivated with short bursts. Whether you are a student or adult, the time your brain absorbs information is distributed like the shape of a liberty bell. Retention is best at the beginning and end, so if you work in short bursts with a small break in between, it's easier to stay motivated and not lose focus.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Students learn in so many ways. My method of teaching is to try one concept and pay attention, so if we need to change the concept to fit how a student learns we don't waste time on the methods that aren't working. For instance, with English I like to use discussion to get students to think about what they are writing and how they could expand or say something different. With math I try to bring blocks to help the student visualize and "play" to understand the concept better. Once a child begins to understand it, it's important to keep reinforcing these skills until it becomes second nature for the student.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
For students struggling with reading comprehension I like to find a subject they are interested in and start out with an easy book. I think it's important to ask them questions while they are reading in order to make sure they understand a sentence, and then work our way into understanding the paragraph, chapter, etc. Turning reading time into trivia time is often a good way to engage a student and build their confidence in an area; they just needed a little extra TLC.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
When I first start working with a student I like to get to know more about them: who do they enjoy playing with, what do they enjoy doing with their parent, what was something that they really got excited about in life? Gaining a student's trust and helping them understand that I was brought into their lives as a tutor, but am there as a friend to help them succeed, is highly important.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I help students engage by using concepts they know, such as hobbies they enjoy, to help them relate to a difficult subject. All too often we don't think outside the box, and that's where the solution lies. One of the worst things is trying to learn a subject which you can't foresee using in the future. Students need to understand why it's important to learn what they are learning and be able to relate it to their own passions.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
In order to make sure a student understands the material I think it's important to do brief reviews, even once we have moved passed that concept. Brief reviews help strengthen weak areas that need a little more attention. Turning these reviews into a game like "Do you remember?" adds fun and helps reinforce the confidence the student discovered when they initially mastered the information.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
When a student remembers an answer it helps them understand that they have the abilities within themselves. Making sure to throw very easy questions in with more difficult questions helps maintain a level of confidence, because they will be able to answer some of the questions in a set and continue to set goals for how many more they can answer correctly. No matter if it is math, history, or writing, getting a student to understand just one more thing, no matter how big, makes them want to continue moving forward.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I evaluate a student's needs by paying attention to the little details. If a student is having a difficult time writing, maybe they need a pencil grip to help. If a student gets frustrated when they can't pronounce a word, maybe they need additional assistance understanding the letters. Paying attention to body language can make a big difference in success or pushing a student too far.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
The biggest advantage you have with my style of tutoring is that I have no style. Every student is different and needs to be treated as such. I approach each student at ground level and work up the ladder of difficulty until I notice signs that my method needs to be tweaked. Whether it be environment, style, or time, I am very flexible and prefer to find what works best for a student rather than expect them to conform to a certain method.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
During a typical session I like to begin with your standard pen and paper. If I find a fun page online that might encourage the student to work on a difficult concept, I like to throw that into the mix as well. If I notice the student is more hands on I like to bring objects, like blocks for math or books, to help them identify more details and help them solve problems by using the learning style they are more successful with. Many students appear to learn better when an object is directly in front of them as opposed to just on paper.