For the last six years I have tutored and taught from French to physics and back again. As a bachelor's graduate with a chemistry/physics degree, I know full well what's required to succeed in those subjects. I also know how to face the endless standardized tests and leave the battle in victory, not resignation. I've been speaking French since I was old enough to read and I have a Russian heritage that can help out with colloquialisms and grammar. Languages and linguistics are fascinating to me and I don't get to speak mine enough, so please speak them with me!
My physics background, as well as my years of teaching, means I know a disturbing amount of math (through advanced calculus). Yet, I've also been reading since I was old enough to hold a flashlight (my eyes don't thank me), so if you need help with following any sort of literature, I've got your back (excluding the original text of the Canterbury tales, I never learned Middle English).
Live long and prosper, friends.
Undergraduate Degree: New College of Florida - Bachelors, Chemistry/Physics
ACT Composite: 34
ACT English: 35
ACT Math: 34
ACT Reading: 34
ACT Science: 33
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1510
SAT Verbal: 800
SAT Writing: 720
GRE Verbal: 165
SAT Subject Test in U.S. History: 710
SAT Subject Test in French: 800
Reading, computer programming, creative writing, foreign languages, video games, running, swimming, geocaching, bird watching
AP US History
High School Chemistry
High School English
Middle School Science
SAT Subject Test in French
SAT Subject Test in French with Listening
SAT Subject Tests Prep
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
Experience has shown me that direct recall and hands-on interaction with ideas is the best way to both understand and process them. I believe teaching should be centered on the student, in an inquiry-based setting, rather than around a lecture hall.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I find it important for both the student and teacher to have a clear idea of the student's specific goals and what they expect to be able to achieve after tutoring. Therefore, first we would decide upon a reasonable goal list (with expected completion dates). From there it depends entirely on the student, their knowledge base, the subject, and the student's level of fear or stress about the subject or test.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Besides explicitly talking about study skills and tips, for a long-term student it's a good idea to progressively increase their involvement with question completion and explanation rather than jumping in as the tutor as often as at the beginning. Things like specifically asking the student to walk me through a problem or explain a passage requires them to directly recall the information and analyze it without using me.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
When it comes to staying motivated for standardized testing, usually either taking a moment to look at the student's progress or reminding them why they care about getting a great score works. For academic fields, I find enthusiasm is the cure for all ills. If they're so fatigued with the subject they can't look at their textbook without cringing, it can be a good idea to look up a documentary or a computer game/YouTube video about whatever they're studying. Taking a drastically new approach can jolt the mind out of stagnation. Maybe making up a board game about the Great Depression or drawing pictures of magnetic field lines will help them feel less like they're spending all their time trying to get an A and instead show them how cool the subject is.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If the student is having difficulty with a concept, that generally just means we need to change our approach. For example, if we had been focusing on flashcards or exercise drills, we should switch to a more inquiry based, hands-on approach like working through one problem at a time, as a team, on a whiteboard. In the same fashion, if the student understands conceptually what they need to do but haven't practiced enough by themselves, we'd switch to the former method.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
To begin, I would read the passages for the student in a tone that allows for the writing to become a conservation as opposed to a monotonic diatribe. Even the most boring of ACT passages can be made interesting with the right inflection. Once they feel more comfortable with the approachability of a given passage, I would ask them to start reading aloud. The process of making writing audible allows for students to more easily see complex ideas like a general theme, tone, and the intent of the author.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Getting an idea of the student's background in the subject and then jumping right in with something that they feel confident in. For standardized testing, giving an overview of the test, getting an idea of the student's feelings about the tested material, and then taking a diagnostic test have worked very well in the past.