As a person with diverse work experiences (EMT, Marine Corps, pharmaceutical scientist), I have been challenged to communicate complex ideas under a wide variety of conditions. Using analogies to compare new ideas to familiar ones is a strength and an effective means of teaching. The ability to recognize when an approach is not working is also of great importance. Having tutored, taught, and presented in the past has kept me aware of my audience be they middle school students on a lab tour, visiting scientists, or sales representatives. Experience with a variety of people with different backgrounds has taught me to quickly gauge an individual's needs and deliver appropriate content and learning.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Eastern Michigan University - Bachelors, Biology (Chemistry Minor)
Graduate Degree: Eastern Michigan University - Masters, Cell and Molecular Biology
ACT English: 34
ACT Reading: 36
ACT Science: 34
GRE Verbal: 168
Q & A
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Establish both our backgrounds with regard to the material and identify some problem areas for the student. Attempt a few sample problems and survey the material which the student has already begun.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Working on study skills such as improved note-taking, reviewing readings ahead and after lectures, looking at chapter questions before readings and lectures and studying materials on a consistent basis well ahead of exams.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Show students where they have improved and keep the objectives near-term and achievable ("let's get chapter 3 done today" not "gain fluency in Exam 2 material over the next few weeks").
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Try different approaches with analogy, memorization techniques or ask the student to try to explain the material to me so I can detect the problem and help.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Encourage them to download lectures and listen while they drive or are doing chores around the house...record their instructor's lectures and repeat aloud what is being said while studying...read chapter summaries and questions before the reading and try to answer them while working through the material.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Establish why the student is having trouble and tailor a teaching style that is best suited for that student. Some people learn best working in groups and others have trouble with memorization...but learning about why the student is having trouble is always the most important first step.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
By relating interesting stories in the real world to what they are studying - such as how a bird of prey at a nature park once lighted on a handler's arm above the protective glove and pierced his radial artery (anatomy), why cold medicine is an antidote to Viagra (physiology) or how testosterone and estrogen are the same molecule except for minor changes in their functional groups (chemistry).
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Asking them to explain the material to me as if I were a student not only reinforces their understanding but clearly reveals any weaknesses or misunderstandings.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
By asking a student to demonstrate their competence in an area where they are strong and building slowly into new areas where they need improvement.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Generally by engaging directly with a student and asking them, but also by talking about background and history with the material. Looking at notes taken in class reveals a lot about the level of engagement and understanding, too.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
By directly asking if the style seems to be working, by using non-verbal cues to sense comfort and familiarity, and by changing styles when one approach fails.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Paper and pencil. Less often, colored pencils for diagrams and, rarely, internet videos to show complicated or real-time demonstrations e.g. circulatory system.
What is your teaching philosophy?
Use analogy to relate what students already understand to what they are trying to learn. Relate the new material to events in the news, culture or personal experiences to give it relevance.