I always loved school and learning new things. I especially love being able to pass this knowledge on and help students gain confidence and be able to perhaps map out their futures and understand what their strengths are and what subjects they may be the most interested in. I'm a rather relaxes and easy going person, so I think this helps students feel a little less stressed out and able to communicate more freely with me. I try to do everything I can to make a student feel comfortable and have them understand they I will never, ever judge them for anything they need help with or find difficult. I try to make them understand that we ALL were students at one point, with strengths and weaknesses. I think being honest and open is a great way to keep communication easy and honest.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of South Florida-Main Campus - Current Undergrad, Biology/Sociology
Writing, baking, sewing
What is your teaching philosophy?
Everybody solves problems and makes sense of their work in different ways. Most people have a preferred method, or a way that helps them understand the material the best. It is my strong belief that finding this method is the best way to ensure a student is able to grasp understanding of a subject, and ultimately is able to use this process or method to be able to problem solve on their own without the help of a tutor, teacher or peer. Understanding how or why a method works is extremely important for full understanding.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I'd find out their strengths and weaknesses and find out how they learn best. Some students are more "hands on" (they prefer kinetic learning), while some students prefer to watch how something is done before attempting to do it on their own. I think determining the way they learn best is the most important first step.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By finding their method of problem solving or learning. Everyone is unique, and the best way to ensure a student can become an independent learner is by catering to their needs and preferences in learning new material or getting through difficult subjects.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would remind them that their performance in school (until graduating and through college) depends on the ability to problem solve on their own and ultimately become a better learner. I would also remind them that there is no better feeling than getting a good grade on material that may be difficult. It is extremely rewarding to see how you have improved, and how proud your teacher or parents are of you when you master a new subject or one you previously had difficulties in.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Explore various methods and ways of learning and mastering that skill or concept. If a certain method is not working for that student, we would need to figure out a more individualized approach to learning that particular skill or concept. Each student is unique and deserves a unique teaching or tutoring experience.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would help them understand that they need at least a rudimentary idea of the reading material prior to ensuring they know the details of the story/passage and are able to answer questions about it. I would try to find out exactly what it is about comprehension that is difficult for them. Is it that they lose interest in the passage and simply skim through it? Are they having difficulty understanding meanings of words or the way the grammar is set up? I try to understand the reasoning behind their difficulty or confusion and address that issue first and foremost.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I have found that understanding their frustrations and verbalizing this understanding is a great way to help them work through their stress, insecurities or frustration. Sometimes it is helpful to remind them that even adults had issues while in school. I had an extremely difficult time learning to tell time when I was younger. I believe that adults or superiors admitting to having their own weaknesses helps to encourage them that they WILL be able to master something they find difficult or confusing. It is proof of being able to work through difficulties successfully.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would try to find out what it is about the subject they find boring or difficult. I would then find ways to remind them how this subject is actually interesting or necessary to a broader understanding of subjects or life. For example, if a student finds science boring or difficult, I could remind them that science understanding helps them to answer general questions they may have always wondered - for example, why the sky is blue, how or why rainbows form, etc. Subjects always have an interesting side, and encouraging exploring this point of view is important.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
As much as they may dislike it, repetitive work and quizzing really ensures that I know exactly where and what they are having difficulties in. I could then focus on where they are having difficulties, versus trying to drill something in their heads that they may already understand. Also, applying concepts to the real world helps students understand things more easily. Using coins or money is an excellent way of doing this. Kids (especially the younger ones) are fascinated by the concept of money, and sometimes relating things back to money piques their interest. This is especially helpful during math, but could also be useful in science.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
When they get answers correct without too much help, students feel good and develop greater confidence. Working with them and finding out the best method of learning will help them master material and ultimately build confidence in their abilities.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
By having them problem solve and answer questions. I pay close attention to exactly WHERE their difficulties lie, and then focus attention on rectifying those difficulties. The best way to find out their needs is to listen and pay attention to the way they attempt to problem solve and where these attempts may be derailed.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Each student is unique and has unique needs. Finding out their best way of learning and feeling confidence is the first step to developing a tutoring method catered specifically to what a student truly needs to succeed.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Reference sheets are always a great way for students to have helpful reminders during problem solving. Depending on the material, sometimes coins and money help students visualize various concepts. It truly depends on the way the student learns best.