I've been in the field of education for fifteen years. In that time I've worked with students from all walks of life, and from all over the world. I've taught/tutored on a wide range of subjects, including SAT/ACT/GED/AP/SSAT Prep. In addition, I have taught college Composition, AP English Language and Composition, Creative Writing, grammar, and reading.
My main purpose in becoming a tutor is help students achieve their goals, both academic and otherwise.
Undergraduate Degree: Rhode Island College - Bachelors, English/Secondary Ed
Graduate Degree: Providence College - Masters, Education/Special Education
Hiking, Kayaking, Literature, History, Film, Food
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first thing I do is get to know the person I'll be working with. We discuss their needs, their goals, and what they feel are their strengths and needs. Next, I devise an individualized plan. That plan includes short term as well as long term goals. Depending on the subject, we will do a basic, brief assessment so that we can see where you're at and what I need to do to move you forward. I'm a firm believer in working as a team. YOU know yourself better than anybody; therefore, I'm interested in what you can share with me so that I can best serve you. We're a team. There are some students who want to get started on academics right away, and that is perfectly fine. I am always prepared ahead of time to begin teaching during that first meeting. Again, I tailor each individual program to the student's needs.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
There are a number of ways to help students become independent learners. How I do that very much depends on the individual. Some students need to build their confidence, and once they do, they become capable of working more independently. Other students become more independent as I help them build their skills. I scaffold instruction so that we begin by learning a new skill together. As we move forward, he/she does more work independently, so that eventually they are able to work without my support. That technique of scaffolding is a basic tenet of good teaching, and it is one of the best ways to ensure student success.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
There are a number of ways that I help students stay motivated. One, I give students choices, whenever possible. For example, they decide for themselves what they want to write about. In addition, I motivate students because I have a positive attitude. I love what I do! I have a passion for teaching, and that passion is definitely a motivator for students.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
There are a number of things I do when a student is struggling to learn a skill or concept. One is that I would reassess the lesson and then amend it, if necessary, to ensure that the student understands better. Sometimes repeating a skill is in order. Other times a student needs the information broken down into chunks - into easier to manage portions. What exactly I would do depends on the student; I get to know my students, so that rather than having a one size fits all approach to teaching, I tailor what I do to each unique person.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
There are a number of ways to help students who struggle with comprehension. Employing before, during and after reading strategies are all invaluable tools for struggling readers, and for readers in general.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
One strategy that is always helpful is the find out the student's particular learning style. If she/he is a visual learner or a tactile learner, I focus more heavily on those modalities. I also have students take an informal assessment, at the beginning of our time together. The results of the assessment let me know the areas of need, and we start on those areas right away.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I'm a firm believer in giving the students power and choice as much as possible; students are always more excited and engaged when they can focus on an area of interest, rather than having it forced upon them.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would use frequent informal and formal assessment. In addition, I promote the idea of open communication, therefore my students know that they can tell me when they don't understand the material. They know that I will take action and rectify the situation.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
One way that I build confidence is to determine a student's level at the beginning, so I can be sure that the instruction is appropriate. When instruction is tailored to the level of the student, it maximizes success, which in turn builds confidence.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I evaluate a student's needs in a number of ways. Three of the methods of evaluation are regular assessments, open communication, and exit and entrance slips.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I adapt to students' needs in a number of ways, including regular assessment to determine student need. Once I know the student's areas of need, I can tailor my instruction appropriately.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
The tools I typically use include computers, test prep books, exercise handouts, workbooks, images/illustrations and videos.
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is quite simple: The student comes first; therefore, the tutor needs to do everything she can to ensure student success. Every student is unique, and they bring their own individual set of needs and capabilities. It is my job to work with those needs and talents and to boost your achievement to the highest level possible.