A photo of Ricardo, a tutor from The Ohio State University

Ricardo

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I am current student at The Ohio State University pursuing a degree in Chemistry. I consider a very enthusiastic tutor and highly motivated. I have been tutoring Chemistry and Math at the college level for 5 years now at OSU through the university. I also have experience tutoring elementary school through high school age students in variety of subjects from Math to English to Science.

I have a real passion for learning and teaching. I believe that every student is different and needs to find what works for them. I believe that teaching students study skills and other specific learning tools that help succeed in the classroom is just as important as the material itself. I have found the students with a strong foundation in the basics and fundamentals have the most success because they something solid to build from. I am also a strong advocate of allowing students to work their way through problems step-by-step rather than providing the answer for them. My teaching strategy generally involves ensuring the basic foundation is strong and then helping students work through more concepts with helpful and constructive guidance.

Outside of tutoring I really enjoy reading, music, theatre, going to the gym, and watching every superhero movie out there. I appreciate finding time for hobbies outside the classroom as much as I value the classroom itself. As a tutor I hope bring enthusiasm and passion for learning to everyone I can.

Ricardo’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: The Ohio State University - Current Undergrad, Chemistry

Test Scores

ACT Math: 32

SAT Math: 700

Hobbies

Theatre, Music, Soccer, Swimming, Superhero movies, Books

Tutoring Subjects

10th Grade Math

11th Grade Math

12th Grade Math

1st Grade Math

2nd Grade Math

3rd Grade Math

4th Grade Math

5th Grade Math

6th Grade Math

7th Grade Math

8th Grade Math

9th Grade Math

ACT Math

Algebra

Algebra 2

Algebra 3/4

AP Calculus AB

AP Chemistry

Calculus

Chemistry

College Algebra

College Chemistry

Elementary School Math

Geometry

High School Chemistry

Honors Chemistry

Math

Middle School Math

Organic Chemistry

Pre-Algebra

Pre-Calculus

SAT Math

SAT Mathematics

SAT Subject Test in Chemistry

SAT Subject Test in Mathematics Level 1

SAT Subject Test in Mathematics Level 2

SAT Subject Tests Prep

Science

Test Prep


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

My philosophy has evolved throughout the numerous years I have been tutoring. However, I have ultimately found that my teaching philosophy centralizes on presenting myself as both a mentor and a fellow student that can relate, sympathize, encourage and teach my students. I find that each student I engage with helps me grow as a teacher and a student. I find myself embracing new facets of learning and teaching with every session. With some students, I discover a new appreciation for a topic; other students I come to embrace a new style of teaching. Of course, at times I encounter new difficulties and challenges. Ultimately I try to grow with my students so I can present myself as someone who can relate to their successes and frustrations. By doing this, I can help give them a passion for a subject, the determination to get through difficult patches and give them a reason to learn what they are learning in that moment.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Becoming an independent learner is definitely a goal I have for each student. It is truly a pleasure watching students go beyond understanding a subject or a topic and seeing them develop study skills, discover how they learn, and see them tackle new challenges on their own. Each student is ultimately different, so I like to take the time to understand each student's background and study skills history. I discover that some students have never needed to study and others have ultimately been studying and overworking in a way that does not work for them. I consider myself relatively skilled at understanding how a student learns best. I discover some students to be visual learners, some students need repetition, some students need a stronger background of information before tackling difficult topics, and some just have never learned different ways to study. I find it amazing how some students discover that drawing a picture helps them immensely and some create flashcards they can use at any time. It is amazing how they can absorb more by listening more, or maybe absorb more by reading. I help students become independent learners by helping them discover what works for them personally, making sure they understand their strengths and weaknesses, and develop study skills that correspond appropriately with how they learn.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

During a first session, I start by introducing myself to the student and make sure that they know my background as a person, student, and tutor so that they can have confidence in my abilities as a tutor. After a quick introduction, I look to establish goals for both that specific session and for our time together overall, with both the student and any parents who may have input. I find setting goals not only helpful but ultimately necessary because it gives the student and me something to work toward together. It allows me to understand what I can provide as a tutor during our sessions to help them succeed as well as what tools I can provide outside our sessions to help in their endeavors. My last task I attempt to accomplish during the session is to check-in with the problems the student is having whether it is specific concepts, how to study for a subject, or any problems that are keeping them from mastering their materials. Identifying their problems is just as important as identifying their goals, in my opinion. Some problems can be fixed quickly, while others take a significant amount of time. Being able to target the problems directly can do wonders for a student. By establishing a personal foundation, setting goals, and identifying problems during that first session, I can begin formulating a plan to help the student thrive in school.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Keeping students motivated tends to be one of the most difficult aspects of tutoring. I like to establish two things with students when I begin working with them. The first being goals and the second being why they are doing tutoring. I have discovered that students come to tutoring for a variety of reasons. Without being realistic about those reasons, it is impossible to find a way to motivate them. I have found that establishing goals and tracking a student's progress towards that goal helps immensely. When students can see solid and concrete evidence of their success, they feel motivated to keep working hard. By keeping track of their standardized test scores, homework grades, test scores, and even their level of confidence with the material, I have found that students can see their progress and appreciate their hard work. In addition to providing evidence of their progress, I also find that reminding students of their ultimate goals, providing them with positive reinforcement, as well as the occasional "tough love" speech during individual sessions keeps the motivation high and, more importantly, focused.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

When a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, I find it important to understand where the frustration is coming from. I have often found that students do not have a strong enough background on simpler concepts that were supposed to be building blocks for more difficult concepts. Other times the difficulty in grasping a new concept or skill can come from how the student learns and understands a certain topic. Sometimes the student needs a more visual explanation or a more in-depth explanation from what they have already received. It is my responsibility to provide that explanation. Of course, there are times when it's just a difficult or confusing topic that requires extra time, practice, and concentration to fully master the skill or concept, which can lead to a lack of confidence. In that case, I find myself developing a plan that works specifically for that student to practice, whether it is more practice problems, flashcards, or watching more examples. Each student learns at a different pace and in a different way. I find it important to do what it takes to establish a level of confidence for each subject and especially for the material a student may have struggled with initially.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

When dealing with students who struggle with reading comprehension, I find that I can help students by teaching them several strategies that assist in absorbing materials that I personally use as well as monitoring their comprehension myself. When monitoring their comprehension, I specifically ask students what they understood and did not understand from a reading. From there I can teach them strategies and make a plan to improve their comprehension. One of the strategies I have found useful is having the student organize what they read, whether it be in bullet points, charts, pictures or some other form of organization. Another tool is having them adjust how they read for different kinds of texts. It is a common misconception that students should read every passage and piece of writing at the same speed. Different kinds of writings can require a more in depth or methodical kind of reading and by realizing that, students can adjust and ultimately absorb more. Generating and answering questions posed by myself or the students is another great skill I like to teach students. Answering questions teaches the students to be more alert and ready for all parts of a passage to be important. Finally asking a student to summarize and explain what they just read is an invaluable tool. It helps students put the content into their own words and language that they will ultimately memorize better.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

When I first start to work with a student, I find that establishing a strong trust and open communication is essential. I do this by giving them my background as a tutor and identifying their areas of strengths and weaknesses. In order to identify these areas, I look to do a couple examples on what topic they are covering. I like to do a few examples with the students and walk them through step-by-step. I generally ask for the student's input at each step and give them hints when they get stuck. I feel this allows me to identify where they are having difficulty. While doing these practice problems, I like to tell the students why what they are doing is important and how the kinds of problems and concepts they are working on may appear in the future. I think it is an important strategy to establish why we do certain problems. It makes sure the student is aware that this content will most likely come back in a new and often more difficult way in the future. Giving them this insight often inspires to gain a real understanding of each topic and concept early on. I then find it useful to allow students to try problems completely on their own while writing everything down, so I can review their work after. I think establishing a starting point and becoming familiar with each student is the most important strategy I use. I often find fast-paced drills and overall review of what was covered at the end of covering each concept extremely helpful in making sure nothing slips through the cracks. I also find that setting up a relationship of honesty and positive encouragement is absolutely necessary when I start to work with a student so that they feel like they can trust and confide in me.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

Getting a student excited and engaged in a subject they are struggling in can be truly difficult for even the best tutors. I found a couple of ways to break through that barrier of frustration that can often consume a student's motivation. This is done by establishing an honest relationship with the student, coming in with my own level of excitement about the subject, and showing that they can and will make progress working with me. I believe that establishing a genuine connection with a student so he or she feels comfortable expressing their frustrations and concerns is very helpful in getting students to look at a subject differently. I have often found that letting a student vent and express their problems about a subject can be quite cathartic, as well as give the student a fresh start on the subject. After allowing them to express themselves, I like to jump in and express my enthusiasm and excitement about the material. I like to discuss how the material is used in the real world, how I enjoy the material outside of class, and how there is nothing quite like doing well in that particular subject. By establishing a strong connection with the student I am able to hear their honest frustrations and they are able to appreciate my genuine enthusiasm. As we dig into the material, I really have found that tracking the progress a student is making can do wonders for how engaged they can be. I have found that students are often submerged under a couple of bad grades and tests, leaving them completely discouraged. By showing them and commending their progress on everything from a single difficult problem to understanding a topic, all the way to better scores, students can genuinely excited about doing well in a subject and eventually become engaged in the subject overall.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

When in a tutoring session, I am constantly checking to make sure that the student is absorbing the material fully. I do my very best to avoid yes or no questions like "do you understand?". In general, after covering a topic during a session, I will ask a question to test their knowledge or ask the student explain to me what they learned in their own words. Generally, I find that if a student cannot explain a concept or problem back to me, then their understanding is not where it should be and ultimately they will not retain the knowledge. Yes or no questions can be misleading and many students will answer yes because they are afraid saying no makes them seem like they've failed. Testing the students with a problem or several problems and allowing them to do them on their own is a great way to check that material is being retained. When meeting with a recurring student, I often ask them at the beginning of session about what we covered last time to see how they are progressing. That check-in proves very useful because I find some students are afraid to ask for more help or more questions. I really try to create an atmosphere where questions are not just welcome, but encouraged.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

I have found that building a student's confidence definitely takes time and sometimes a lot of effort. However, having that confidence can truly change how a student does in a particular subject. When first starting a new subject and building a relationship with a student, I encourage them to say everything out loud. I ask them to explain each aspect of their work and express hesitation they might have going through the material. This allows for immediate feedback from me, makes the student comfortable with the language of the subject, and create an atmosphere of control for the student. I have also found reviewing topics previously learned and expressing how far they have come also really helps with student's confidence. This can come in the form of a simple conversation or a mini-exam review. Along with that, I do my best to monitor their progress and grades closely to show them how well they are doing. Seeing how they have improved and grown in a concrete way does wonders for a student's confidence. I have found that it is truly essential to focus just as much on what a student has done correctly as well as what needs improvement. Focusing solely on the negative can be very difficult for a student trying to gain their footing in a new subject.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

When coming to a session I find that bring a variety of materials can be extremely useful because each student is different. I tend to bring a lot of materials I have used when I was a student going through the same subjects. I bring old textbooks, problem sets, exams, and notes. Bringing these materials prove to be great references when I need to check facts, show visuals, and come up with extra practice problems. I also always come with extra pens, pencils, note cards, and highlighters just in case I can lend to the student. My computer I have found is an extremely useful tool. There are many videos, pictures, and illustrations I often reference on my computer because they are easy to find. My computer is also useful for finding more practice materials and questions for my students. I always direct my students to our website for extra practice. Bringing extra materials has proved useful for all kinds of students because each one is unique and responds to my materials in different ways.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

When evaluating a student's needs, the first thing I do is look at their performance prior to our tutoring beginning. I like to look at their previous grades, talk with their parents, hear about their teacher's assessments and, most importantly, talk with the student. I like to hear what the student thinks their difficulties are as well as encourage them to set concrete goals that we can work toward together. This allows us to focus on where they can improve. Are they having trouble with the subject itself, school in general, or are they striving to just do better? Getting their performance history with the subject and school in general is essential. Next in evaluating the student's needs, I test their knowledge by giving them sample problems. When I do this, I look not only if the student got the right or wrong answer, but also how the student approaches a problem. Do they write everything down? Do they ask for help? Are they missing a basic building block? Do they know when and how to use their tools provided? I often find that I'm also assessing things outside of their general knowledge of the subject. I look at their studies and learning skills, for example. Can the student learn from a text book? What is the best way to help them memorize something? Are they a visual learner? However, most of these questions can only be answered with time and with trial and error. I also look at how a student responds to certain material. How do they react to different kinds of assignments? Are they stressed by homework or just by exams? What is their relationship like with their teacher and parents? Evaluating a student's needs can be a long process, but it is truly essential to pinpoint what each student requires to be successful.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

I find that flexibility and patience are my best tools when adapting to a student's needs. Each student is different and has their own unique strengths, weaknesses and needs. Acknowledging this and identifying these strengths and weaknesses, are of the utmost importance when adapting. I find that building a relationship of open and honest communication also allows me to adapt more easily. When a student feels like he or she can tell me when something is not working for them it makes a tutoring session immensely more productive. A lot of times it is trial and error when first working with a student. I find it very important to check in by asking the student questions and asking the student to summarize/discuss the topic we are covering out loud. When I find a student is struggling with a lesson, I do my best to explain the material in a new way. Sometimes I like to give a metaphor; other times I provide a visual aid. Sometimes it just needs repetition with different wording. It is about being receptive to a student's learning style and being flexible enough to change to a technique that is effective for the student.