I'm currently a third-year biology and history student on the pre-med track at the University of Florida, with the hopes of one day becoming a pediatrician. As of right now, my interests and hobbies are pretty scattered, but I love to play soccer, spend time at the gym, listen to music and discover new artists, and journal. I'm also a UF Honors Ambassador, so I get to spend a lot of my time giving tours and relaying important information about the honors to prospective students!
In terms of my tutoring experience, I love to teach biology for both general classes (anywhere from elementary to university level, including IB and AP level courses) and standardized tests, such as the SAT and ACT. Additionally, I have had experience helping multiple students improve their reading comprehension and writing skills, whether it's for a standardized test, an essay due for class, or college admissions essays. As an IB diploma graduate, I can also assist any student in need of those specialized services, from helping to compose the perfect Extended Essay, to studying for HL examinations. I hope to make a difference in not just grades, but also in shaping and modifying the way students learn in order to make the biggest long-term impact possible.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Florida - Current Undergrad, Biology, General
ACT English: 32
ACT Reading: 34
ACT Science: 32
SAT Verbal: 730
SAT Writing: 750
Pediatrics, soccer, giving university tours
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Science
Elementary School Writing
High School Biology
High School English
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
Pace is key. All students learn at a different rate, and it's important to stick to that schedule. Rushing material is detrimental for long-term understanding, but moving too slowly can ultimately bore the student. Be patient for those who need more time to absorb information, but be prepared to move quickly for students who can pick up material faster.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Introduce myself, and make sure to set the basis of a professional, yet personal and friendly relationship with the student. I'd give a breakdown of my typical schedule for the subject being tutored, and switch it around depending on the pace desired by the student. After the basics are set in place, I would give an introduction of the material to be learned.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By providing the student with the tools necessary for future success, in the form of studying methods. For example, I could teach a student how to set aside five minutes a day for planning the day's obligations, a skill that can easily be used outside of tutoring sessions to better a student's time management skills. Additionally, I can teach certain studying methods, such as the proper use of highlighting and underlining, to allow a student to study on his/her own time, but still learn effectively.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Through consistent praise for both obvious effort and good work. I believe that a lot of motivation has to stem from the students themselves, so I would simply aid in the process by ensuring that students feel validated and appreciated. Though poor work should not be rewarded, I think that an indication that a student is working hard to achieve their personal best is always praise-worthy.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would take the problem and break it down into more manageable and more understandable chunks. If the problem is more mathematically based, for a subject like chemistry, I would sit with the student for as long as necessary to break down every single step in the problem's process. With more math-based problems, I would put together practice sets to repeat over and over again until the skills become second nature. As for concepts, I would take a similar approach in breaking down the idea into individual steps, hopefully connecting the dots and showing the student the cause-and-effect nature behind difficult concepts. I would have the student then explain the concept back to me, step-by-step, as saying things out loud can often aid in both integration and memorization.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
For standardized tests, I like to teach students how to skim through passages to maximize on time while still understanding the main themes/topics of each reading. For these types of tests, it's important to pick up on the overarching themes, but not necessarily the smaller details. These skills roll-over to classroom-geared reading as well. Students who struggle with reading comprehension are often focusing too much on insignificant details. If a character in a book performs an action, it's more important to focus on WHY the character performed the action as opposed to HOW is was performed. However, I also like to teach reading the questions prior to the passages given, in order to make it easier to search for relevant information.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would have a student reiterate steps in a process or a concept verbally to me, to ensure that all main points are being included and that essential details aren't being skipped. For math-based subjects, such as algebra or chemistry, I would give a final set of practice problems to work through, and determine a level of understanding based on which questions can be completed, and which still need work.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Taking problems and working them out step-by-step always helps to pinpoint areas of weakness and make a seemingly complex, incomprehensible concept easy to understand. I've also noticed the usefulness of mind-maps: diagrams that represent the step-by-step breakdowns visually.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Oftentimes I'll get students excited by relating the material to real-life examples. For example, when talking about DNA and its structure, I could relate the lesson back to mutations, and how those mutations can be identified and studied to pinpoint the cause of various genetic diseases. By tying in seemingly boring topics to exciting, real-life scenarios, students understand the importance and the applicability of the material being studied, which is often hugely motivational.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Constant encouragement! If a student works through a previously difficult problem on his/her own, or is able to comprehensibly reiterate a concept step-by-step, that student is deserving of praise and encouragement. By seeing progress and gaining that positive feedback, confidence is built, and the student is more motivated to keep pushing forward and breaking down walls.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
The first thing to do when meeting with any student is sitting down and identifying problems that have consistently been encountered. For example, if a student was struggling with constructing persuasive essays, I would look through as many previously completed essays as possible to identify common mistakes. If the student seemed to consistently struggle with writing hard-hitting, brief thesis statements, that would be the student's personal need, and that's what I would work to fix.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I often try to figure out how a student learns. For visual learners, I use mind-mapping and presentations with pictures and diagrams to explain concepts. For auditory learners, I often repeat concepts over and over again, step-by-step, and have the student repeat the process out loud until it has been ingrained in his/her memory. In general, I adapt my tutoring to each individual student based on the way he/she best learns.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I like to use the good old-fashioned pen and paper. If creating diagrams, I find that using certain color schemes can make studying a little more fun, but still informative. Practicing problems or writing out sentences on pen and paper is a great way of enforcing hard-to-memorize material, whether the information is a mathematical process or a grammar lesson. For test prep scenarios, I like to use practice problems from prep books, simply because the best way to prepare for tests like the SAT and ACT is to be completely familiar with the types of test questions that will be present.