I am a senior in the College of Education at Marquette University. I will be graduating in May, and plan to become an elementary school teacher. I love to teach, and am very focused on the idea of a differentiated classroom that works for all students and types of intelligences. This carries over into tutoring, and I am all for approaching content in different ways in order to find the best fit for my students.
Undergraduate Degree: Marquette University - Current Undergrad, Primary Education/Sociology
Horseback riding, photography, reading, writing, singing
Elementary School Math
High School English
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
The most important thing for me is an individualized curriculum. Learning is not a one size fits all process, so differentiation is imperative. In order to best help a student, it is important to be aware of what motivates them, and the ways they learn best. Getting to know my students is a strength of mine, and something that helps build a successful relationship between a teacher (or tutor) and their student.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In order to work best with a student, I will need to get to know them. I would ask the student what their favorite subject and least favorite subject is, what they think their strengths and weaknesses are, and what motivates them. This information would make it a lot easier for me to design the session specifically for that student, and help them learn in the best way possible.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
One important step in helping a student become an independent learner is helping them find a routine. If they learn a routine, it will make it easier for them to problem solve and know what the next step is. Another concept to teach is study skills and organization. If students have the skills to study and stay organized, it is easier for them to be successful in their classes and on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
In order to keep a student motivated, I would want to ask them what motivates them specifically. Some students are motivated by stickers or prizes, while others are motivated by praise and positive feedback. One of the most successful ways I have found to keep students motivated is by offering breaks in between work. This makes it easier for students to take their work one step at a time and eliminates the possibility of them becoming overwhelmed.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
My first approach would be to present it in a different way. A lot of students have trouble understanding concepts just by reading from a page in a book. Manipulatives, videos, pictures, and diagrams can all be useful in helping a student to understand a concept.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
If a student is struggling with reading comprehension, it is important to teach them strategies. Graphic organizers can be really helpful for this, as can guided reading questions and consistent prompting during reading.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Positive reinforcement is an excellent tool. It works for behavior, motivation, and difficult concepts. Students who struggle behaviorally get rewards when they stay on task. Additionally, students who are motivated by praise or physical rewards, or struggle with a concept will receive positive reinforcement when they master a task or follow through with something they normally don't finish.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Presentation is a lot of what turns students off of some subjects. Sometimes a video clip, a catchy song, or a game that goes along with the concept can be the difference between dislike of a subject and excitement about it. I try to figure out what way my students learn best and incorporate different mediums for learning to keep it interesting and engaging.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Different types of assessments are key. Some techniques I would use are worksheets, higher level questioning, journaling, and verbal discussion.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Sometimes you need to start the student a little lower than their achievement level to give them a confidence boost. Once they master the easy concepts, it is easier to ramp up the difficulty and show the student how easier concepts tie into more difficult ones. Once they have a sound foundation in a subject, they will be surer of themselves and in turn more confident.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I generally evaluate a student’s needs by asking questions at grade level and evaluating the answers. In reading this may be reading comprehension questions, or in math it would be whatever skills they should be able to have mastered at that grade. Once I evaluate their answers, I am able to move up or down in difficulty depending on their skills. I also like to ask students how I can help them, and what they need from me to be successful.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I like to ask my students how I can help them to be more successful. If they need me to talk through math problems verbally before they solve them, that is an accommodation that is easily made. I also continually observe a student's strategies and the skills they use so that I can recognize where they excel and where they need help.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Materials may include manipulatives, journals, videos, computers (if available), worksheets, and any textbooks or schoolwork the student needs to work on homework. This will vary depending on the student.