My background is a strong foundation in Mathematics through learning and teaching. My exposure to teaching Mathematics has been with students ranging in age primarily from middle school through early college years. In addition I have taught online, in the traditional classroom as well as tutoring one on one. The schools have been private, public, urban and rural. Having been in a large urban district mandatory and voluntary professional development sessions were completed. To be most effective and remain relevant I attend workshops, consult with other educators in person and through chats, national organizations and blogs. Through online registrations I receive electronic newsletters of developments in Math and Science and notices of upcoming opportunities such as conventions, workshops or webinars.
Alcorn State University - Bachelors, Mathematics
What is your teaching philosophy?
The philosophy that has proven effective with the students I have taught is to first address the whole student, not just their academic responsibilities. By taking into consideration obstacles, such as mindset and past experiences of the student, barriers are alleviated that impede as well as negatively impact progress. Once in the proper frame of mind the student can focus, because any anxieties have been minimized or eliminated with the goal of building confidence which is the beginning of success.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session with a student I like to have an icebreaker of sorts by first telling a few points about myself that are related to the task at hand; a few personal attributes. I invite the student to do so as well. This begins to relax the interaction for the purposes of creating a learning environment that feels safe and comfortable.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
In order to become an independent learner, a student needs to be given resources that they know how to access and use. Being able to "Google" and copy and paste is simply not enough. Once the student is given the needed tools and strategies, then the student can quite be productive on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
One way to keep a student motivated is with a timeline. When a student can see that a problem, situation or class has a specific end that is fast approaching they tend to stay focused. For an example, in an aerobics class of high intensity, or a marathon, it can be grueling. However, remembering that the class will end in forty-five minutes or the marathon is only for a specified distance, then you can push yourself through to the finish. Also clearly having the benefits in mind will help with motivation.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, then I reteach using a different approach.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
When starting to work with a student, it is effective to know some background about the student and the objective the student has in mind. Also to have an individual approach for each student as opposed to a cookie cutter, one-size fits all method, but an individualized material, pacing and delivery.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
In many instances students have not gained an appreciation for a subject; in other words, they see no use for it now and in the future. Introducing the student to real world applications that the student can relate to, whether they will use the content or not, often helps clear up confusion and gives a visual. Worst case scenario, I will share with the student that whether they will ever use the material or not; it is at the very least a required part of their curriculum
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
To ensure a student understands the material, assessment is necessary. As we go through a lesson I ask the students ongoing questions. At the end of each concept, the students are asked a series of questions. In addition, asking the student to verbally explain in their own words is often a good way to gauge progress.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
A student's confidence can be built by starting with a simple review of material that they are most likely able to do. After being able to successfully complete a task, they can move into the new material with a positive attitude
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I evaluate a student's needs by asking the students, or if applicable, adults that may know. These include parents and teachers. In addition, data such as grades and standardized test scores. On some occasions I will ask a series of questions orally, or administer a written pre-assessment.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
No two students are exactly alike. The amount of material covered as well as the pace and style have to be taken into consideration. The material has to be in line with the curriculum and the supplementary material should fit the student's personality. For an example, if a video is selected as supplementary material and it is a cartoon presentation, it is not necessarily true that an adult learner will not like it and that a child will like it.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
During a session I will see what materials the student has already been assigned. After demonstrating to the student how to make the best use of these, reinforcement will be performed using supplementary materials, including technology as well as hand held manipulatives.