Hello! My name is Thomas, and I am an assistant principal at an Orlando elementary charter school. I love teaching; it gives me great satisfaction when I can help students achieve their academic goals. For over 7 years, I travelled from house to house tutoring middle and high school students in math, language arts, science, social studies, history, geography, biology, chemistry, ACT, etc. That was a lot of miles for my 2005 Kia to handle! The car has since retired, but I have not.
How can I help you? I can definitely help you with almost any content you need to master, but more importantly, I can TEACH YOU TO IDENTIFY THE STRATEGIES YOU NEED TO DO WELL IN A CLASS OR SIMPLY GET THE EXAM, ESSAY OR ACT/SAT SCORE YOU WANT. Memorization will only get you so far. I help you strategically think about questions so that you answer them correctly even if you don't remember exactly what the facts are. Whatever the middle, high school or (in some cases) college subject you are finding difficult, this approach is going to help you. My goal is to make you not need a tutor as soon as possible.
Just a little about me: I lived in Madrid, Spain for ten years, where I was the director of a language academy and oversaw English, French, German and Spanish classes. When I moved back to the USA, I became certified in Special Education. Since then, I have been taught or co-taught the subjects mentioned above or in my profile. As a tutor, I saw the need to adapt classes to the strengths of my students. This is what I will continue to do with my online students - you, I hope!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Azusa Pacific University - Bachelors, Human Development
Graduate Degree: California State University-Fullerton - Masters, Special Education
CBEST - The California Basic Educational Skills Test
CSET - California Subject Examinations for Teachers
Elementary School Math
FCAT 2.0 Prep
High School Biology
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
All educators know that no two students learn in exactly the same way. But not all educators are able to adapt their teaching style to the needs of their students. A good tutoring session should have all the elements of quality teaching described in educational research -- preview, scaffolding, personal connections, Bloom's taxonomy, etc. -- in order for the student to have a meaningful instructional experience.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would get to know the student first; building a personal connection is key to successful learning. I would also assess the student's needs and baseline mastery.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
STRATEGIES! Teach students strategies they can use on their own so that they do not need a tutor.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would incorporate multisensory examples (video, games, brain-based learning activities, high interest resources) that would keep my student engaged.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would break the concept down into individual steps and teach those steps until the student understands and can independently perform each step.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would try to find out why they are struggling with reading comprehension. Students sometimes do not know the vocabulary needed to comprehend a text. Their eye scans or processing skills may be lagging. They may need to start with texts at their true instructional level.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
It helps to identify the student's learning style (visual, kinesthetic, auditory, etc.). It is also important to understand the student's goals for tutoring, and then work with the student to create benchmarks for obtaining their learning objectives.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I like to look on YouTube for funny videos related to the subject. I like to incorporate 'rewards' into the tutoring session - of course, the reward depends on the age of the student, but even college students enjoy being rewarded!
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
1. Have student teach it back to me 2. Explain the strategies that you are using to solve a problem 3. Provide multiple questions that are similar but not the same 4. Provide multiple questions in different formats (from a book, from a picture, presented verbally by teacher, from a game-like problem) 5. And many more.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I focus on what the student has gained, not what the student has yet to learn. I also provide examples of people who have struggled but were able to understand a subject.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
1. Baseline assessment 2. Have student explain how they arrived at their answers to baseline assessment. 3. Talking to the student about his or her needs (or the parents, depending on age of student).
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
From the very beginning, I structure a lesson to meet multiple learning styles. I use a lot of different resources as well. If I find something that the student enjoys and helps him/her learn, that is what I incorporate into my tutoring.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
A white board, pictures, and Internet resources.