Carlos Jon Paul
I am an experienced tutor with strengths in writing, mathematics, psychology, and anatomy/physiology, and I especially enjoy helping students in their middle school and high school years. My skills are enhanced by time in traditional school (Wilsonville High School) and home school environments as well as with general and special education (ADHD) students. A core belief that drives me is that I have an inexhaustible hope that everyone is capable of improvement.My recent career history consists primarily of mental health service and care provider experience, although I plan to one day enter into a career involving teaching or therapy. I would characterize my tutoring style as patient, collaborative, resourceful/creative and optimistic. For fun I enjoy running and triathlons, puzzles/games, karaoke, writing, and reading; I have, in the past, enjoyed acting in small theater productions, as well.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Pacific University - Bachelors, Psychology
doing puzzles; playing word, trivia, and board games; running; biking; swimming; singing karaoke; watching movies; writing; reading
High School English
What is your teaching philosophy?
Both as a teacher and as a human being, I maintain that there is hope for everyone. That is, I believe--I know--everyone is capable of improving some aspects of his or her life. If given the opportunity, I wish to be a part of that process.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I like to get to know each student as an individual. I want to learn not only what my students' academic strengths and weaknesses are, but also what their personal interests are, what they find fun (& funny), interesting, and, if possible, what compels them either intellectually or emotionally (or both).
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I can help my students find (better) ways to organize and motivate themselves by giving them insight into helpful study strategies--both old, proven study methods and new, creative ones--as well as into their own, possibly hidden strengths.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I see every interaction as a new opportunity to make things fresh, interesting, and challenging/growth-stimulating in some way(s). In that sense, I feel one of my duties as a tutor is to keep striving to know my students, by continually trying to find out about them and employing a variety of creative ways to approach/address lessons to see what clicks with them and what may interest or excite them.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
At first, I would probably try a hands-on approach, for instance, if at all possible, I would make an abstract concept into a concrete one by using props to represent the smaller parts, then I'd show how they work together and how they can be rearranged to arrive at different solutions, thus showing the relationship between the items, the various problems, and their various solutions. I would also check in with them to see if they needed a short break to refresh, recharge and reorganize their thoughts, hopefully enabling them to come back to the concept with which they had difficulty with an entirely new perspective. If that didn't work, I might try putting that aside for a while--maybe even overnight--and moving on to other concepts in that academic subject or, perhaps, on to an entirely new subject at that time.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
First, I have them slow down. I'd ask them to tell me whenever they come to a word or phrase they don't understand. Then I'd either have them look it up or initiate a brief discussion with them (i.e., I'd do more than just "give them" a rote definition or explanation) to help them understand that initially confusing word or phrase to their satisfaction.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Developing rapport is always the most important starting point. That may happen in the first session or two, or it may be a gradual process that takes several weeks, or even months. Sometimes a student remains somewhat disconnected during the entire time period I am working with him or her. That's not ideal, but if it happens I just try to focus on what is important to them. (In such cases, it is usually getting their homework done quickly so they can move on to something they'd rather do more.) Frankly, those interactions feel the least successful. But what all my student-tutor interactions have in common is that I treat them all with respect, I take a personal interest in not only their work but the things they want and enjoy (at least as much as they're willing to share with me), and I maintain a positive belief that they will always be able to improve beyond their current state--while also accepting them for who they are and what they are capable of right now and encouraging them to do the same for themselves.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
My best strategy for eliciting engagement and excitement in my students is by making lessons fun--even making a game of it, whenever possible. When I see my student's eyes light up and hear the enthusiasm (almost wistfulness!) in his or her voice when reliving a past lesson, I now I'm on the right track!
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I try to assess a student's understanding in different ways. Sometimes I'll ask them specific questions. Sometimes I'll ask very broad, open-ended questions. Sometimes I'll have the student explain one or more concepts to me and maybe even take over the lesson, in a sense, especially if (s)he is enthusiastic and has a good idea for a relevant experiment or project (s)he wants to try. And sometimes I'll give the student a quiz to answer quietly, in writing, requiring an additional explanation after each multiple-choice answer as to how they arrived at that conclusion.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Slowly. If a student lacks confidence in a particular area, (s)he often lacks ability, as well (although not always). So I will do my best to give them the respect and approval every child needs (at a minimum). Then I will gently urge them to address their difficulties, little by little, so that, number one, I avoid pushing them too fast so that they don't feel as if they're failing by not being able to keep up with standards that are set too high, and, number two, make them experience patiently working through each point of difficulty until they feel ready to move on, and they can thereafter recall those former trouble spots as points of pride and satisfaction instead.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I evaluate a student's needs by asking the student and the student's parents and by observing that student, first as I have him or her make as much progress as (s)he can on his or her own and then as we work on that and other problems together. I perceive the student's needs as constantly changing, so I'm always doing my best to observe and look for new clues/insights into to how best to help him or her.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I try to identify things we have in common, no matter how seemingly minor, at first. I keep a mental note of their likes/wants and their needs, and how one relates to the other. Then I try to put myself into their shoes, as much as I truly can, and think of how I might best approach satisfying my academic needs, given their preferences and wishes. I see myself as a partner in helping the students meet their personal and academic goals--in tandem, as much as possible--and I want them to see my role in that same or a similar light.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I tend to use a lot of scratch paper and pencils to write notes on, work out problems, and/or illustrate things with. I also try to use whatever "props" are available, especially for illustrating math concepts that are challenging for some students. If I can't find a prop that adequately does that, I will usually try to find or create one at home to bring to the next lesson. The Internet, too, can be a valuable source for presenting material in new and engaging ways. Memory and imagination are also essential tools; in that sense, both my mind and that of my student can offer valuable contributions.