A photo of Alexander, a tutor from Old Dominion University

Alexander

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I am working on my Bachelor's of Science in Physics at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. I am highly experienced in STEM courses, ranging from core secondary-level mathematics, to University Calculus. I teach my lessons flexibly, taking my students' learning style inventories into careful consideration. I employ strong connections in my tutoring, relying largely on analogous connections to my students' strengths and interests. I have no problem drawing interest out of a student for our worked subject. It is extremely rewarding to see a student grow, and understand your role in the intellectual growth observable in a student following their working with me. If you are interested in any help with Mathematics, Physics, SAT/ACT Preparation, E.O.C. studies, or even Reading and Writing, do not hesitate to contact me. The experience gained in my sessions will greatly augment you or your student on their road to success.

Alexander’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Old Dominion University - Current Undergrad, Physics

Test Scores

ACT English: 30

ACT Reading: 34

Hobbies

Physics, Chess, Puzzle Cubes, Music, Writing, Reading, Hiking


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

In teaching, I am a huge proponent for a gradual release of responsibility. I follow the model of "I do, we do, you do," meaning I introduce the concept, work on a problem around the concept, and then I work with the student cooperatively on a similar problem. After I feel the student is ready to tackle the problem by their own work, I allow them to approach it, and I take note of any difficulties or barriers to the student's learning that I observe in the process. Everybody can learn. I like to do this by allowing the student to gradually take charge and dominate the material.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

The first session of tutoring is critical. It is in the first session that you are able to understand the student's background with the subject, any relative material, and most importantly, their learning style. Everybody learns differently. It takes a keen eye to identify a student's learning style. This allows me to tailor my lessons and work with the student in the way that most benefits them and helps them understand.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

By gradually releasing the responsibility of problem work to the student, I allow the student to get used to "holding the reins" of the coursework. By keeping up with a student consistently, I can help identify how they learn BEST. By understanding a student's learning style, and gradually giving them more power in coursework, the student can become stronger, more independent, and highly prepared for future learning.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Perhaps the largest barrier to student motivation is a lack of immediate, tangible improvement. Rome wasn't built in a day, nor will the student's learning follow that. Learning and mastering of material is gradual and cumulative. Being that I am a college student, I relate well to other students. I do not fret if improvement is not immediately noticed. Through study ethic and cooperation, we can work through anything.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

It is imperative that a tutor identifies the difficulties faced by a student when learning. This is impossible without knowing the source of the student's frustration or misconception. Communication is key. Ask questions; get the student to tell the tutor what exactly is confusing them. The tutor has to listen well, and tailor their lessons around this new information.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

With reading, it's important to make connections. This vastly improves a student's ability to understand what they are reading. If a tutor helps a student make connections in reading, it is easier to recall details of what they read, thus allowing the student to make inferences on the text, filter important information, and truly understand what they are reading.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

No two students are the same. Every student learns differently. In my experience, the greatest success in teaching comes from understanding the student on an individual basis. This allows me to respect the individual perspective of my student as we work together, and to adjust how I teach, and by what methods, to best accommodate the needs of my student.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

The best ways to draw excitement from a student are: encouragement, involvement, incentives, creativity, and connections. Positive encouragement is invaluable to a teacher for a student. A student needs to know when they are on the right path. Likewise, the discouragement of bad habits is equally necessary, but less openly stressed. Getting the student involved and working on the material helps them become more invested in the subject; they get out what they put in. Students need incentives to truly be involved in the work. A bored student is a student who will check-out of your teaching, and that is bad for everybody involved. Finally, creativity is key. Repetition breeds familiarity. Familiarity breeds boredom. Boredom breeds failure. Failure is unacceptable! It is the tutor's job to keep the student's engaged.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

To tell if a student truly understands the material, you have to ask questions. You have to switch the roles. Let the student be the teacher. You accomplish this by asking the student about details of the concept or problem, and allowing them to show you work from their perspective. This will allow the tutor to see if the student actually knows the material.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

A student becomes confident through mastery and comprehension. As a tutor, I like to give the student opportunities to show me what they know based on what we've done together, or by what connections they can draw between our work and their experiences outside of our tutoring. The student will not feel comfortable until their comprehension is communicated and met with encouragement or, in some cases, correction by the tutor.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

To evaluate a student's needs, I first set out to understand their background in the subject or any relative subjects. I then look to the student's learning style, often by a learning style inventory quiz: a simple quiz designed to tell you how the student prefers to learn, and what does or does not work for them. It is imperative that you understand the individuality of your students in order to be an effective teacher for them.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

I tailor my lessons based on the needs of my students. If a student feels they learn more by example, I will work problems on end for them to ensure they understand it, and ask questions to gauge their comprehension. If they learn more by hands-on work, I will do an example, then work cooperatively with them on a similar example, then release the responsibility, allowing them to work through problems individually. I observe their individual work, and deliver any questions or take note of discrepancies in their work for future teachings or corrections of habit. You have to be malleable to be an excellent teacher.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

Good tutoring is done by the use of varying resources. In this age, textbooks are just as important as an online engine, yet they serve different roles. A student comes out of my tutoring well-prepared and ready to engage any difficulties they may face by the use of any and all resources available to them. I use everything.