Hi, my name is Chris Ketchum. Originally from Moscow, Idaho, I graduated from Willamette University May 2015, where I majored in English/Creative Writing. I learned a huge appreciation for education from an amazing, lifelong network of students, professors, and administrators in both public and private institutions. I believe firmly that every student is capable of learning given the attention and opportunity they deserve, and that each road of critical thinking is individual and unique. I'm thrilled at the opportunity to give back to the community that has supported me in the pursuit of a meaningful, enlightening life.
I love all things reading and writing: literature and poetry, creative or technical, in English or Spanish. Books, music, and film are what I talk about in my spare time; how could I help but love to teach it?
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Willamette University - Bachelors, English
Reading and writing fiction/poetry, rock climbing, hiking, backpacking, skiing, music (hip-hop, indie, folk), Sundance filmfest winners and the New Yorker
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Teaching should be hands-on, active work. Every student has the potential to learn and love a subject given the attention and consideration they deserve. Tutoring should be, first and foremost, a conversation.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
A typical first session involves a short introduction, a conversation about the goals of the session and of future sessions, and then we dive into the student's current material or project.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
A huge part of a successful education is learning how to ask yourself the questions your teacher or tutor asks you. Tutors can set a good example by both asking students critical questions, but it is essential to teach students when, where, how and why to enter problems curiously and inquisitively in order to lead their own education in the future.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Encouragement is essential. Focusing on positive steps and identifying even the smallest moments of success can give students the extra motivation they need.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
We can always spend more time on a concept, but often the best thing is to look for other learning resources, new perspectives and materials, that shed light on another angle of the problem.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
First we identify the problem. Is the vocabulary unfamiliar? Is the language metaphorical or literal? Do we have a strong understanding of the text's context? From there, we can move on to address the specific issue.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Find a personal angle. If poetry seems outdated and boring, maybe we can study that same poetic device in a song the student likes before turning back to the assigned poem.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Is a skill repeatable even after the student says they understand it? Practice is essential, so after we've worked on a problem together, the student can demonstrate their understanding on the next one.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Focus on the positives! Every word learned, every percentage point earned. If a student struggled on a test, what caused them to go wrong? Perhaps they were closer to the correct answers than they think.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Books, dictionaries, or online resources for providing examples and improving comprehension. Some online programs are useful for practicing Spanish skills, too. But the most useful materials are always the textbooks and homework a student has for class.