Hello! My name is Michael, and I am a local tutor based in the Tampa Bay area. I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biology, specializing in Ecology, from the University of South Florida, and a Master of the Arts in Religious Studies, specializing in South Asian Religions, also from USF. I have had experience in education as a graduate assistant, an adjunct professor, a professional tutor, a middle school teacher for grades 6-8th, and an elementary school teacher for grade 5. I am very passionate about my subjects (listed below), and love to help students succeed!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of South Florida - Bachelors, Biology, General
Graduate Degree: University of South Florida - Masters, Religious Studies
Hiking, Fishing, Video Games, Model Rocketry, Movies, Music ( Especially Vinyl Records), and Cooking
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy centers on sparking a love of learning in my students. When students are eager to learn, the rest falls into place.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In the first session, it is important to not only get to know the student and their interests, but assess where they stand with the subject matter in general, and where and why they are struggling.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Being an independent learner is important in all levels of education, and the key to learning independently is twofold. First, the student must find learning to be an enjoyable and beneficial activity. Second, the student must understand how to learn effectively and efficiently.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation changes depending on the particular student's goals and dreams. What helps is making sure to connect the dots between education and said goals. There are, of course, many tips and tricks to break up the monotony of a particularly lengthy assignment, such as getting started early, and rewarding yourself during each step.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
It is important, when a student is struggling with a certain skill or concept, to get to the root of the problem. There is always a more basal skill or concept that the student either never learned, or did not completely understand. If the difficulty still cannot be overcome, the key is time and patience.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading is one of the most important skills to cultivate in any level of education. When a student is struggling with reading comprehension, it is important to read together, as well as independently, and review what was read in terms of the overall message, the motivation of the author, etc. This skill takes time to cultivate, but will be very rewarding to the student.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
When starting to work with a new student, the most important thing to do is to get to know them and their interests, as well as their overall understanding of the subject. This will assist and inform later tutoring sessions.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
The best way to engage a student with a subject that they find boring or are struggling in is to connect it with their life and interests in some way. When a student places an importance of any kind on a subject, they are more eager to learn it.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
The best way to be sure that anyone truly comprehends a given concept or idea is to ask them to explain it in the simplest terms possible. I use this technique frequently with my students. If they give an answer that relies too heavily on subject-area vocabulary or larger, more complex words, it may be a sign that they do not comprehend the concept or idea to a satisfactory level.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Encouragement is the key. Positive reinforcement will go a long way when a student is not confident in their abilities pertaining to a given subject.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
There is no one answer to this question, and it really depends on the individual student. The student may be straightforward about what they are struggling in, or may not even know themselves. It is important to pay attention to the student and their work to deduce the areas in which they need the most help.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Every student is unique, and so are their difficulties. It is important to listen to the student's concerns and to pay attention to their work to deduce the best way to assist them. For example, if a student seems to comprehend the subject matter, but still gets unfavorable grades on exams, it may be a sign that we should focus more on test-taking skills.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
The answer to this question depends on the materials that are required by their teacher, as well as their individual needs. The textbook is a must, as well as a pen and paper, but it is always important to add or subtract materials based on how the student learns. For example, a student may want to read a book they are interested in to help them with reading comprehension.