Hello! I am a recent graduate with a B.S. in Marine Biology. I am planning on enrolling into a Master's program for Biology in the Fall of 2016. I have tutored plenty of middle school, high school, and mostly college-level courses in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and english literature. Teaching is a passion of mine, and my personal philosophy is to encourage students to build an enthusiasm for learning and to use that energy to excel in any course or project they are faced with.
California State University-Northridge - Bachelors, Marine Biology
What is your teaching philosophy?
Enthusiasm and curiosity are they key components to a star academic career.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first session is very crucial, because it is where the student and the tutor must be on the same page and set expectations for the following sessions. Typically, I like to be straightforward and discuss expectations from the student so that we can move forward as quickly as possible.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I always encourage students to solve problems on their own with a minimal amount of assistance from my end. Ideally, the first few problems will entail some review of the material so that the student can use that knowledge to solve the problem on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
My number 1 priority is to instill a sense of enthusiasm into the student. No progress can be made unless the student shows a willingness to learn and to succeed.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
There are always roadblocks that are tough to overcome. In most cases, it takes patience and perseverance to get through a difficult concept, but I believe that any lesson can be learned as long as one is willing.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension is one of the most difficult skills to master. As a personal strategy, I like to read a passage 3 times and register the overall impression before I start to analyze the parts separately.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The best strategy - in my experience - is to start by observing the study habits and practices of the student to get an idea of what needs to be adjusted in the way they solve problems.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
For many students, it is critical to convince them that the challenge of a subject is the best tool for learning and becoming smarter. No one improves without feeling stressed out once in a while. They need to know that having a hard time is the best way to learn.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Once we go through the initial phase of reviewing the concepts, it is always useful to go through as many practice problems as necessary to reinforce the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Confidence is important, but it comes naturally with progress. Typically, students who seek improvement are lacking in confidence with their abilities. This is fine, as long as they come to realize that any idea can be learned. With this realization, they tend to become more confident with their problem-solving skills.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Observing as student as they attempt to solve a problem is critical to use while determining where a student needs the most help. I will often wait for the student to work through a problem that they cannot solve, just to see how they attempt to find the answer. This method is very effective, and can guide the tutoring strategy for following lessons.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
There are always students will different needs, and they all have to be handled with various teaching methods. For some students, the best way to learn is to practice as many problems as possible until they "click" with the solution. For others, it takes a lot of conceptual explanation of a subject to get them to wrap their minds around it. I try to always get a sense of how the student is able to handle a stressful problem before going into the tutoring strategy. Also, it is important to follow the student's learning pace, and to be patient with progress.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Paper and pencil will do the trick for most students, for math and most sciences. I urge students to use blank white paper - with no lines - because it frees up a lot of space and does not restrict the thought-process to small lines.