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Rob

I have been employed at St. Johns Learning Center since January, 2012 as a tutor for grades K-12 Math and Science, as well as ACT and SAT preparation. In addition to this direct tutoring experience, I am also a graduate of UNF with a Bachelor’s degree in Middle Grades Math and Science Education. During my time in this program, I was required to complete multiple pre-internships as well as a full time internship, all in middle schools and high schools in Duval County in both Math and Science classes. During my internship, I taught seventh and eighth grade Science for the first half of the semester, and then Honors Pre-Algebra, Honors Algebra, as well as Honors Geometry with eighth grade students for the second half of the semester.
Throughout all of these experiences and opportunities and interactions with such a variety of subject matter, ages of students, and settings of instruction, I feel that I have found my niche within the world of education. Tutoring is where I feel most comfortable and where I want to be within education. Public education and classroom settings, in certain cases, do not offer the best environment for students to develop understanding and take real ownership of the knowledge they are learning. I find the atmosphere and environment tutoring offers to foster a stronger connection between the student and the teacher. I have found repeatedly that this can lead to a much larger impact and positive development of the student. Tutoring offers the teacher a more potent influence, as well as allows them to work and assist and instruct to the specific needs and styles of every student.

Undergraduate Degree:

University of Northern Florida - Bachelors, Middle Grades Math/Science Education

ACT Composite: 31

ACT English: 33

ACT Math: 31

ACT Reading: 30

ACT Science: 30

Reading, camping, surfing, hiking, drawing, writing.

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe that education is one of the most effective ways to better a person’s life. Education will help lead students to a better and more informed path in life. Education develops cognitive skills, such as analysis and evaluation and deductive reasoning and logic, that will enable the students to really have their eyes open to the world and the opportunities it may present to them. Education is also a way for a lot of students to find self-confidence and self-worth that may not be supported or developed many other places or times in their lives. Having a positive impact on a human being’s life is the greatest reward I can think of in my life.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

The first and most essential part of a first session would be to build an open, supportive and motivating relationship with the student. I would then work with the student with the intention of seeing their specific learning style and how they work best with material, and what types of weaknesses they may have.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

By helping the student refine how they learn to their specific learning style. This can be done in multiple ways. I like to lead by example, so I would use the "I do, we do, you do" process of modeling how they can improve their current learning style to be more and more successful.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Confidence is a major issue for a lot of children. One strategy I have found to be very effective is by using the student's prior knowledge to fall back on. If a student is struggling with a concept, I will use my knowledge of their previous understanding and relate the new topic to the prior understanding of the student. This will show the student they are more than capable of understanding the new concept, and gives them ownership of the new knowledge, since we used information they already felt good about.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

I do, we do, you do!! I would start with the concept in simple terms and model how to approach the information and how I would be thinking of it to work the problems out. I would then have the student work with the concept with me, and then have the student try it on their own. I would repeat this process with the concept at a moderate level, and finally with the deep understanding level of the concept.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

Start by figuring out what is the most significant information that is included in the reading. Then look at the main concepts involved. Then connect it all together.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

Openness and a positive interaction, working with the student as much as possible. Not doing the work for them but having them explain, and assisting or guiding when needed.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

Be as lively and supportive as possible, and work problems similar so the student can have a model to work from.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

Informal assessments are my favorite to use because they allow me to see the student's understanding in a low pressure environment.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Doing the work in order of increasing difficulty level, and relating the harder information to the easier information that the student already understands.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Watching them work and having them talk with me during the work to see their thinking process and where the weaknesses are, if any.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

My instruction should be in line with the way the student processes information. So I will alter my explanations or models to mimic how I've seen the student be successful with information previously.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

My mind, the student's mind, pencil, paper, text and online resources, pictures/drawings, highlighter, calculator, ruler, protractor, compass, worksheets, and oral interaction.