Hello! My name is Millie Hemingway, and I am an experienced high school math teacher. The language of algebra can be complex and challenging, which is what I find interesting and fun! Not all of my students agree with me. :) My favorite subject is Geometry, but I have over 15 years of experience teaching all types of math subjects from elementary arithmetic to Algebra to Pre-calculus.
Working with students is another challenge I often enjoy. Some students need a cheerleader to encourage them in their work. Others seem to need more explanation or practice in a subject; sometimes hearing the same thing from another person helps us to understand.
I am currently teaching, so I am available Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays after 4:00 EST, as well as Saturday mornings for tutoring help.
Pensacola Christian College - Bachelors, Math Education
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe each student comes to us with individual strengths and weaknesses that I can support and encourage as a teacher. Getting to know students' personalities and interests is the best way to reach them academically.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would ask them some basic questions about what they like and don't like at school, including extracurricular activities and basic grade information. This will help me to know how to approach each student and meet their individual needs.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Students need to know what they need to know. Sometimes they get lost in the concepts of a subject without being able to discern what they should focus on to succeed in the class. Also, some students simply do not know how to study, especially in math classes. Pointing out exactly what they can do to review and prepare for tests and quizzes can be very helpful.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Setting goals can be very helpful with student motivation. Struggling students, and especially discouraged students, need small goals to baby-step their way to larger goals and greater success.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
When a student is struggling they often need a clearer understanding of the foundational concept or more practice with the problems that apply that concept. Sometimes hearing an explanation of a concept from another person helps to clarify what the teacher has been saying all along. This is when a one-on-one tutoring session can be very beneficial because the tutor can devote time and attention to this one learner to ensure sufficient understand and focused practice.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension is essential to student success, but students may not realize that most of us struggle with comprehension depending on the subject we are reading. Key words and vocabulary knowledge are critical to help students understand what they are reading. Also, using subject-based vocabulary in explanations helps students to become more familiar and comfortable with the material they are working through.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Small victories are essential to provide students with immediate success. If they can start to see some achievement right away, they will be motivated to continue working at the problem they are facing.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I like to share with students what I find interesting about a subject, and what questions I am asking that I would like to learn more about. Also, it is always helpful for students to know about real-world applications for any subject. The better you know a student, the better you can match their interests with some of those applications.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Asking them to explain what they are doing on a math problem can demonstrate their grasp on the topic. Similarly, if a student can work through a problem on their own, they usually have a pretty good understanding. If they can go further and explain their work, they are doing very well.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Confidence comes from repeated success that is recognized. Give the student opportunities to succeed, praise and encourage as much as possible, and offer helpful instruction to promote further success. Students love to succeed!
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Asking directly what they are struggling with is often helpful, but perhaps more helpful is observing their work. A student's self-assessment may not be completely accurate. So, assessing frequently, paying attention to how they are doing along the way is always helpful to accurately determine how to best help them.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Being a tutor is different from being the teacher. As a tutor, I am a little more flexible to student preferences than I would be as a classroom teacher. However, I may still know better what a student needs for success than he/she does, and at that point, I need to push a little to help them over the next hurdle.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Using the student's own textbook and notes is best because it gives them a reference point for later on. However, supplemental books, websites, and practice problems can always be helpful as well. I do not have all the answers, and it is misleading to convey to students that I do. It is best to show them how I learn and help them to find ways to learn on their own as well.