I have a very extensive experience in teaching and tutoring. For 20 years I taught third grade with most years averaging mid fifth to mid seventh grade level for the entire class on standardized test scores. This includes Special Education and Learning Disability students. Some students attained post high school progress while in the third grade. When I trained other teachers, they got the same results. I was given honors by the Governor of Idaho. I have also taught abused children at a private school. Tutoring experience includes elementary Reading and Math, high school Algebra at the Houston ISD, and English as a Second Language to students and adults. Tutoring individuals or small groups is the key to success for many learners having difficulties or for learners who want to excel in success.
University of Utah - Bachelors, English
Boise State University Graduate School - Current Grad Student, ESL, Reading, Education
3rd Grade Math
3rd Grade Reading
3rd Grade Science
3rd Grade Writing
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Science
Elementary School Writing
High School English
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I introduce myself to the student with a formal name and handshake. I treat the student with respect and have expectations of the same for me. Openness and freedom of communication gets established by asking questions and giving answers freely and openly. Together we create an outline of what needs to be accomplished and the steps to get there. Agreement is met that both the teacher and student work on that outline to accomplish the goal. And I always throw in some humor to help laugh at ourselves sometimes.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Students stay motivated by seeing their own progress, whether by marking their progress on a chart or giving verbal and tangible rewards. When they can see and feel positive steps moving forward and progressing, it motivates to do even more. When students feel good about their progress, they want to keep progressing. They want to keep building on successes. Even very low need to feel that they are progressing, improving and successful.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Reteach. But the reteaching has to be done with more in-depth search of what part of the skill or concept is difficult for the student. Then work on that part. When the individual parts are mastered and put together to form the whole picture, then the student gets it. The student needs to see how that part fits in with the whole picture. Then you can move to an even bigger picture with more parts or on to another picture with its parts.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
My students become "Junior Detectives" searching for the clues. They have to find the main idea or topic so they can answer "What is it mainly about?" The rest of the sentence, paragraph, or story supports that main idea. Their job is look for the clues to find the main idea so that they can comprehend or understand it.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Getting to know them and letting them know that I think they are important. I care about them and their goals to succeed. I let them ask questions of me and tell me what they want to learn. I give them the history of my teaching experience for the past 100 years or so, and want them to feel confident that I can assist them to attain their goals.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
When a student can feel that they have a "grip on" whatever was a past weakness, and now has a "hands on" ability, they can really feel and be excited about the subject. I keep reassuring the student that they can "handle it" and really point out to them when they've "got it". We celebrate with verbal praise, high fives, stickers, patting themselves on the back, cheering and maybe goodies to eat.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Having the student teach the material back to you is one way to ensure understanding. They're not just doing it, now they have to put it into words in order to communicate what they're doing, which is much more complicated. Besides assessment tests, the student needs spot tests to make sure that the material is retained. These spot tests could be verbal or written. The student may require reteaching to understand the material because new material is built upon the previously learned material. Like going up a ladder, if one rung is weak then it may break. Review is always necessary. Understanding the material will help the student build upon it to learn new material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
A student builds confidence in a subject when they can see their own progress and feel good about it. Encouraging comments help the student to try their efforts and keep trying until they are successful. Praise keeps the student feeling their success. Improving grades helps the student see their success and build even more confidence in the subject.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Evaluation can be done by testing, observation, and talking with the student. Setting goals for the student and with the student are based on these needs and how to overcome them. The teacher's job is to look for whatever weaknesses there are that may be holding the student back, such as listening skills. Discussing this with the student and setting goals will help the student overcome any obstacles to their progress.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
One real advantage to tutoring is that the teacher can narrow your teaching for that one student and his/her needs. If it's needs for Math skills, you can closely evaluate that student to their level in Math. Then you can work on those needs/weaknesses and use their strengths to build up their weaknesses. You may have to go back to the third grade level of multiplication to help the student with their eighth grade algebra. The tutoring program is custom made for that one student. It's great.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I go to the school/teacher stores to get workbooks for the student at the appropriate grade level. We also use their books from school. Whiteboards to write on may be necessary to see the hand movement required when carrying or borrowing. Drawing paper with colors can be used to show distinction on a pie graph. Verbal discussion builds their listening skills. Giving directions helps them follow directions, even if it's a game. Word games and math games are used frequently at the end of the session. Posters of algebraic formulas are hung. Stickers or mints can be used for rewards and tracking progress.
What is your teaching philosophy?
Learning new things is a spark of life. Teaching what you have learned is love and caring for others. We teach our students, and this is their education, their future and the future of America. It's extremely important to teach and learn.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
The ultimate goal is to have the student become independent in their own learning. When they are given the skills to actively learn on their own, they can take the same skills to learn new things. Learning is active, not passive. The student has to know that they are not at home watching television passively. When learning they have to become actively learning. They have to do their part, be engaged in their learning, learn and use these skills to become an independent learner.