My philosophy of education is that as an educator I have a responsibility to honor and educate the whole child. I believe in the full mastery of subject matter. I also know how important it is to help develop a child’s character and motivation to succeed as well as develop their unique gifts and talents. My goal as an educator is to foster a love of learning and to provide genuine opportunities for students to explore individual interests and pursuits.
Howard University - Bachelors, English
Loyola Marymount University - Masters, Elementary Education
What is your teaching philosophy?
I am a constructivist. This classification fits my way of teaching and learning information. The constructivist view of education states that learning is an active, constructive process. Children learn information based on their past experiences and interactions with their environment. Understanding that each child brings their own life experiences and cultural viewpoints and honoring this truth in the learning setting has been, for me, the most successful way to teach and learn. My experiences as a student and my years of being an educator have deeply defined and influenced my personal philosophy of teaching. As a child I did not like school. I was bored a lot of the time and my joy came when that last bell rang and I could go home. My Kindergarten experience was particularly challenging. I do not have fond memories of my teachers or any of the events of that first year of school. I often feel that the opportunity that I have to teach a grade that I did not enjoy is a corrective experience. My goal is to create a safe and loving classroom community and when that is established, great learning happens because classroom incidents that take away from the learning experience are minimized. As a tutor, my goal is to engage the learner and make them feel safe so that they are able to learn, retain more information and enjoy the subject matter being taught.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session I would ascertain what is known in the subject matter and assess the areas of growth. I would also find out the student’s hobbies and interests so that I may tailor lessons to further engage the student.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
The most effective way for a student to become independent is to have a full understanding of what the student knows and build a bridge or "scaffold" that will help the student to take chances and develop the ability to learn on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I have found that the reward system works with children and adults. Once I learn what the student enjoys, I will use this information as a motivator. For example, I have a student that loves trash trucks. I purchase books and stickers about the subject as a way to encourage the student.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
When a student has a challenge with a skill or concept, I will assess what the student knows about the subject and build from there. For instance, if a student has difficulty with a particular letter-sound association, I would have the student create a personal alphabet book and use drawings and words to reinforce the letter/letters sounds that are a challenge and practice saying the letter, sound and picture name to reinforce the concept.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
It is very helpful to strengthen a students' reading comprehension by stopping during a story periodically and asking pertinent questions about what was read. This will train the student to pay attention to the ideas being conveyed and with practice this helps students focus on comprehension.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
It is important to establish a rapport with the student so that they will feel comfortable. One of the most successful strategies is to find out what the student enjoys and have a casual discussion about it. I like to ask questions that will help me to get to know the student a bit better. This also helps to relax people when they get an opportunity to talk about things that they enjoy.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I am an advocate of the use of gamification when a subject matter is challenging. When a student is allowed to engage a subject in a more relaxed way, more learning happens. Technological games assist in creating excitement for students.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
The use of formal and informal assessment will help me to know that the student understands what is being learned.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I will perform informal and formal assessments to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the student. This will assist me in determining what concepts are known, and in how to assist the student to gain deeper knowledge in the subject matter.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Because every student is unique, I would determine the most effective ways the student accesses information and gear my lessons to adapt to the student's learning style. For instance, if the student gains deeper understanding through educational games, I would find a way to incorporate this in our lessons.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
The most effective way to build confidence is to discover what the student understands in a subject, and to help them to use their current knowledge to incrementally learn more about the subject.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
When teaching reading and writing to students, I use magnetic letters, grade level books, journals and technology to support the learning. In Math, I use manipulatives so that the concepts are more easily understood. For instance, if a student is having challenges understanding place value, I would use ten blocks and unifix cubes to reinforce concepts that might be confusing to the student.