Based on my IQ, I should barely have graduated from college. I am convinced, though, that the successes in my life have come from hard work and learning how to work in the right way and that IQ, or natural talent, are very often irrelevant. I try to push my students to accomplish their best while at the same time being happy with most results. I have taught almost 100 classes in Composition. I have achieved my PhD and have professional reading fluency in Greek and Latin. I am about to finish a Masters in Latin at the University of Florida in the Spring or Summer of 2017. I have six undergraduate Latin classes from Patrick Henry College with a 3.8 GPA. I have 3 years experience teaching overseas second language learners, including 1 year at an institute in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and 2 years at an American college in Bahrain. I am here to help you in any way that I can and only as long as you need me.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Florida State University - Bachelors, English
Graduate Degree: University of Florida - Masters, Latin
GRE Verbal: 165
Working Out; Reading; Listening to Audiobooks; Spending Time With My Wife
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is that students become very good at a subject with lots of hard work and a teacher looking over their shoulder and guiding them with their experience and encouragement.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would give the student my educational philosophy and also assess the student's strengths and weaknesses in the subject matter being tutored.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I am constantly reminding students that I will not do the work for them, that they must be able to think on their own, and I buttress this with a method of constantly quizzing and re-quizzing students on old and new material.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I try to always relate insights from the material about life. For instance, I might show a student how in Latin, thinking about another culture allows one to question one's own culture whereas otherwise one might think all cultures have worked the same way.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I am often asking students to try to teach me a concept and this is what I would do when a student begins struggling.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I remind students to read as much as possible. There is no magic pill for being able to read well outside of constantly doing it. I would also recommend that they study the ancient Greek and Latin languages, and also German. Such knowledge of the core roots of the English really increases reading comprehension in the way memorizing multiplication and arithmetic helps one with math. It's not necessary but helpful.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I have found that they must constantly question. I don't want them to simply accept what I am saying. They should live by Plato's dictum "Expose yourself to many ideas, never automatically believing any one." Questioning many things helps them to get to the why as opposed to simple surface knowledge that often comes with automatic acceptance.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I like to show students appropriate clips from movies that illustrate a concept I am trying to communicate. Many times they are inspired by thinking they share many of the weaknesses and strengths of those in the film clips I show them.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I am constantly quizzing the students and re-quizzing them. I teach them concepts, quiz them on the concepts, and then spot quiz on the past work, move on, quiz on everything, move on etc.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I remind them that all successful people have struggled with self-doubt and feelings of failure, that their teacher struggled with self-doubt and feelings of failure, but that working hard and the (usually) inevitable improvement in ability is the best way, as Plato says, for them to be convinced of their own abilities when they see objectively how far they've come.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
In the first session, I probe to see the student's emotional intelligence relative to a subject. Do they understand the things that may not be taught in every textbook but that are necessary for success in a field? There are usually only a few of these, and they can often be communicated (not completely understood) in one lesson, but they must be the basis of study in that field.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I can definitely make sure that I meet a student's basic needs in a subject, but often I will have to communicate to them that they must work harder than they are working now. I also try to gauge a student's learning language and match it to how we study a subject.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I might use film clips, but primarily I will use simple discussion and quizzing back and forth, as well some appropriate Google searches to talk about a story, etc.