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Three important qualities that I have developed from my tutoring and teaching experiences that I believe make me a great tutor are passion, patience, and flexibility.

I have an immense amount of passion for both learning and the subject matter. Mathematics, the primary content area that I am interested in tutoring, can be challenging for many learners. I believe that passion is infectious and my passion for mathematics helps others to both grasp and appreciate a subject that they originally perceived as challenging or difficult.

Great tutors are patient with learners. From my experiences working with many students in the middle and high school classroom setting, I know that mastery is not usually an immediate result. Achievement in mathematics requires a considerable amount of repetition and practice to fulfill learning objectives.

As a tutor, there is greater autonomy in working one-on-one with students. Great tutors are able to be flexible and deviate from an original teaching approach, especially if the initial attempt did not yield expected results. I know that if a student does not grasp something, I have the ability to re-teach or re-explain in a different manner such that he or she reaches comprehension.

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Nicole’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Maryland-College Park - Bachelors, Middle School Math and Science Education


Dance, skiing, Pittsburgh sports teams

Q & A

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

"If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way we learn." - Ignacio Estrada

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

Modeling reading strategies and techniques is beneficial to the struggling reader. Additionally, students who struggle with processing and organizing textual information will benefit from using graphic or visual organizers while reading.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

When starting to work with a student, it is important to build rapport and confidence. A student should have confidence in his or her tutor. By exhibiting enthusiasm and appreciation for a subject, a student begins to build such confidence.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

All subjects are connected. If a student hates math but loves science, he or she will be excited to see how math is applied to science. Providing a real world context makes learning a challenging subject engaging and exciting.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

Assessment of learning is done formally and informally. "Formal" assessments such as checks, quizzes, and tests evaluate a student's understanding. "Informal" understanding should occur frequently, and a student is answering questions or explaining their understanding of a concept.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

To build confidence, students start working at a comfortable level of difficulty and gradually increase.

What is your teaching philosophy?

"If students can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn." - Ignacio Estrada

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

In the first session with a student, I like to spend 5-10 minutes getting to know the student. What are his or her past achievements? What are the student's goals? What is challenging for the student at the moment? How does the student feel that he or she learns best?

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Students learn to become independent learners through modeling. I help students to achieve autonomy in learning by demonstrating what they need to do to be an independent learner.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I help a student to stay motivated by focusing on the end goal. All successful people, such as famous athletes or politicians, have had setbacks or bumps along the road. Focusing on the final goal helps students to stay motivated, despite challenges.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

I provide some informative materials, such as guided notes for students to study after or between sessions. I also provide lots of practice, in varied levels of difficulty, to assist students in achieving subject mastery.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

I adapt to a student's needs by providing whatever it is to make the sessions more productive. Younger students benefit from short breaks to refocus. Some students need more review or recap before moving on to a new concept. I strive to ensure that all students are receiving whatever it is that they need in their learning.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I evaluate a student's needs by conferencing with the student and parent, if applicable. Most students will advocate what it is that they need while learning.

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