I currently work with students K-12 in language arts and math. I am comfortable with a wide variety of learning styles, as well as teaching online. My background is in biology and conservation biology, and I am currently a part-time student in Portland, OR learning about Geographic Information Systems.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Reed College - Bachelors, Biology, General
Graduate Degree: University of Hawaii at Hilo - Masters, Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science
sailing, maps, reading, hiking, biology
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe no one is unteachable. A person only needs a teacher to connect the topic to something the student is interested in!
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would learn a bit about their interests, what class I am tutoring them for, and what they want from me as a tutor.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I would teach note taking and study strategies, and tell them about study habits that worked for me in the past, as well as ones I know about that they might want to try.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would help them break down the concept into different parts to see which part was causing them difficulty. If it were a skill, trying different ways of approaching it can work.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I like to use cross-discipline links to show how all knowledge fits together. By drawing connections between a student's personal interests and what they are learning about, I find students become interested on their own!
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
With reading comprehension, a student and I can read aloud together, work out unfamiliar words using context clues, and try and connect individual sentences with an overall story. If necessary we can make vocabulary cards that relate to the reading and review them as we go.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I like to learn a little about a student's personal interests and motivations. That way I can help draw connections between what they are learning and what they like to do, which can build interest in what they're being tutored about, if they aren't interested in it. If that doesn't work, I find showing my own interest in their work to be contagious much of the time.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
If I can, I try to help a student see the connections between their problem subject and the wider world. It's hard to work on something that feels pointless. If they see that their subject is part of a larger whole, that's often a good motivation. I'll also try to connect a subject with something a student is interested in. For example, if a student is learning about genetics and likes horses, I will connect genetics examples with real-life horse research so they have something to grasp when learning about it.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
While tutoring, I take notes on a student's progress and always have notes from previous sessions available. Every now and then I will orally quiz a student on a concept or a problem and note whether they seem to have an understanding of the material. I'll also ask them to define things in their own words.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I use lots of practical, real-world examples. I find that connecting abstract subjects to real life makes most students more confident in their material, because then they are sure their work has a point. I also casually ask questions about previous topics to gauge understanding, and then point out their grasp of it if they succeed.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
First, I ask the student what they are having trouble with. Once I know what they think their trouble area is, then we start covering the topic in more detail. I like to throw out other side questions to make sure that I'm covering potential weak spots they might not have considered as well. I also orally quiz them during our tutoring sessions to make sure they have a good grasp of the material, and see how classes went between sessions.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I keep very open communication between the student, myself, and the student's parent, if the parents are involved. My teaching style is flexible, and I am experienced with different learning styles, so I can adapt my approach to be more technical or more conceptual as each student needs.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Normally, I use the online learning interface with the student. If they have sent me materials beforehand, I have those open and ready for reference. I also always have a notepad ready that I take notes and work things out longhand with, so I can hold it up to the camera if the student wants to see it. I have another notepad to track the student's progress with questions and concepts that I can show them at the beginning and end of a session. Thus far, I have not needed textbooks, but having an open Google page is also helpful to me.