I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but it was not until my senior year of high school that I made the decision. I had an internship working in a classroom, and it was so exciting to see the students grow in their abilities. It was rewarding to see a student light up with pride when they finally grasped a concept. I knew that I wanted to continue making a difference in the lives of others, and decided to go into teaching.
I completed my teacher training at the University of Kansas. After graduating, I became a third grade teacher and held that position for two years until I moved. I worked with my students to gain confidence in their abilities by engaging them with technology, hands-on activities, real world problems, and lots of discussions in each subject. I believe that all students can succeed and truly enjoy helping them learn and grow.
University of Kansas - Bachelors, Elementary education
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that all students should be given the opportunity to succeed. I work to meet my students where they are at, and help them gain confidence in their abilities. I believe that it is important to make sure that my students know why each topic is relevant to their lives. I believe that learning should be fun, but also require the students to think critically.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
During the 1st session, I would take time to get to know the student. I would do different activities that help me learn about their personality, interests in and out of school, and learning styles. I would also give a few skills assessments to see what they already know about each topic.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
One of the ways I would help a student become an independent learner is to teach them strategies on how to approach a task. I would also provide them with opportunities to discuss their learning and their ideas about a concept. I would also provide them with skill-appropriate challenges to help them dig deeper into a topic.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I often find that students become unmotivated for several reasons, such as they are bored, they do not have the skills required for the task, or they do not see the relevance of learning the skill. If a student were bored, I would work to provide them with a more complex task where they could apply and enhance their knowledge. If a student did not have the skills to complete the tasks, I would work with them to learn those skills. I would also build their confidence in their abilities by keeping track of their progress for them to see. Students need to understand why a topic is relevant to them. I would give them examples of how they would use the skills in the real-world or I would find ways to get them excited or interested in the topic.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would provide the student with different tools and strategies to help them understand the task. This may mean providing them with a more hands on approach, or giving them visual references. Another step I would take is to re-teach them the concept by demonstrating the skill and explaining each part of the process. Next I would work with the student to do a similar task together and eventually have them complete several tasks independently.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would start by making sure the student could read the text fluently, because if they are struggling to decode words then they cannot focus on comprehension. Then we would work on building their background knowledge of the text. This may mean discussing vocabulary words, giving them a summary of the text, or having them read an easier text about the same subject. I would also have them read the text multiple times. The first time would be for enjoyment, and the following times would be to increase comprehension.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
It varies from student to student because each student has different needs and learning styles. It is important for me to figure out what motivates each student and their learning style so I can provide them with the best possible instruction or help. One strategy that I have found beneficial is to get students excited or interested in the topic. I will either show a video clip, a picture related to the topic, or give a demonstration of the topic. Another strategy I have used is to give students multiple methods of learning the skill, such as a visual reference, hands on activities, or discussing their work.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
The first thing I would do is to make the subject relevant to them. For example, if a student was struggling with reading, and liked sports, I would have them books about sports. In math, I would give them real- world application tasks. For example, having students use area, perimeter, addition and subtraction to design a clubhouse within a budget. I also found that when a student could see their progress, they were much more engaged in learning. I would give pre and post assessments to show a student their growth. Building confidence in their abilities is also an effective way to get them excited or more engaged. It may mean starting with foundation building exercises, and then moving to more complex tasks.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would give the students multiple opportunities to practice the skill independently. I would have them complete a worksheet or project to determine their understanding. I would also have students verbally explain their thinking process. I would also give them a short assessment of the skill to determine understanding.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
The key to building a student's confidence is to make the content accessible for them. This means that a student needs to be given the right tools and strategies to help them understand the content. This may mean working with them to understand vocabulary words, building their background knowledge of a subject or providing them with another way to solve the problem. I also believe that a student should be given multiple exposures to a subject or skill. Once they have mastered the topic with the teacher, they need to be able to practice it independently. I also think that is important for a teacher to provide positive feedback on their independent work so they can see the progress they have made.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I evaluate a student's needs by giving them a quick (no more than 10 questions) pre-assessment over the subject or skill. This allows me to see what they know and what is difficult for them. I also like to ask the student where they feel like they are struggling. This allows me to determine their confidence level of the subject.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
By determining the needs of my students I can determine how to adapt my tutoring. If a student is struggling with a concept, I will often reteach the core aspects of the skill. If they know how to complete the task, but are not yet confident in their abilities, I will give them opportunities to practice and ask questions. If a student needs more of a challenge, I will find ways to dig deeper into the content with a student. I will also give them situations to apply their knowledge.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I enjoy using a wide range of materials, because every student learns differently. I like to use iPad apps, video clips (that are relevant to the subject), and songs. I also like to provide tools such as math blocks or tiles, for a more hands on approach. Games, projects, books, and worksheets are all other materials I like to use as well.