I want students to be able to say these things when they leave me: I am a worthwhile person, I deserve a place on this earth, I am successful, I am ready for whatever the world throws at me - today or tomorrow. Building confidence and a growth mindset in students is as much the job of a tutor as drilling the academics. Students should be able to feel success and challenge, and gain the realization that they can take anything on regardless of how hard it is. In math especially, a student's mindset can make all the difference. I personally want to grow youth as people and as students.
Providence College - Bachelors, History
Elementary School Math
High School English
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
"The best teachers don't give you the answers. They just point the way and let you make your own choices and your own mistakes. That way, you get all the glory. And you deserve it."
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
A typical first session with a student would include some kind of game for us to get to know each other a little better, then a quick discussion of where the student sees him or herself as a learner. I would ask questions like, "What is your favorite subject?" and "What are you really good at?” I would then do an informal assessment to see where the student is and complete the session with a discussion about lesson structure during their tutoring time so they have a stake in the learning.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Students should never be given answers. There is a productive struggle that must occur for learning to happen. I would begin by giving the student the important information, and then back off slowly while the student does problems or questions more and more independently until they can do them entirely on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would make sure to include their favorite things, like when I was a student and anyone talked about basketball. I was very motivated by and interested in basketball, so even if it was a word problem about basketball, I would be more interested in it than if it was about cows or lamps.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
You have to backtrack and see where the gap is that causes the student to have difficulty learning the skill or concept. A student needs addition to do a division problem, so if they can't do addition, then they will struggle with division. Finding and filling those gaps is the most important part of teaching and tutoring.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Working on fluency is the most basic building block to aid comprehension. When a student can read fluently in their head or aloud, then they are more able to comprehend a passage. Once the student is reading fluently, then comprehension, graphic organizers and discussing themes can help comprehension. Building up a student's vocabulary can also help boost their comprehension of texts.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The most successful strategies are fun. The more fun a student can have learning, the better. If they can find joy in what they are doing, then motivation and pride goes way up.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would definitely bring in their interests. I had a student who loved Star Wars, so every subject we worked on, I involved Star Wars in some way. While we were doing flash cards and multiplication tables, he was able to play with his light saber. I tried to mix in his interests with physical activity to keep him engaged and interested.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would make sure I am doing frequent informal assessments or checks for understanding. This way, I will know whether a student has understood the material. An example of an informal assessment would be completing a math problem before leaving the session, or defining a vocabulary term.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Success. A student who can reach success builds confidence very quickly. After success, building rigor and really challenging the student to succeed at a higher level breeds further confidence.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I evaluate student needs through practicing, discussion, and informal assessments. It could also include practice homework and independent work.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Regardless of grade level, a student needs to be met where they are at. If you begin tutoring where their needs really begin, then that builds confidence and a continuum of learning.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I will use practice tests, worksheets, graphic organizers, white boards, computers, smart phones, markers, art supplies. Really any materials that students can use to make a product.