A photo of John, a tutor from Loyola University-Chicago

John

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The best way to practice a language is to live it. That's why I continue to keep up with my language skills on a daily basis by speaking, listening, writing, and thinking in French. Learning another language not only allows you to better understand that language and the culture which has influenced it, but it also helps you learn your own language better.

Hello! I am John Cardas Martin. I include my middle name because John Martin is, I believe, the most common name in the world. Originally from St. Louis, MO, I have lived in the Washington, D.C. area, Springfield, IL, Chicago, IL, and most-recently, Los Angeles, CA. Graduating from Loyola University Chicago in 2011, I made the Rogers Park neighborhood my home for the years following graduation. Rogers Park is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the country, with many residents having been born in Africa, Europe, East Asia, India, and South America. Rogers Park is, and will always be, home. During my college years, I saw the comings and goings of many Rogers Park-"ers" by working at the local Starbucks. I also enjoyed tutoring many foreigners in the area in English, and made one of the best decisions ever in traveling abroad to France, and spending a semester studying in Paris during my senior year.

Where was my French degree going to get me? Well, at first, I didn't really know. I just knew I loved the language, and was very talented at it. As it turns out, my French skills helped me land every job following college. first, working at the front desk of the Westin Hotel, and then, at the financial data and research company, Morningstar Inc., which needed a French-speaker for its French-Canadian operations. Three years later, I find myself in Los Angeles, exploring a new land, working on film sets, and still speaking my adopted language. Having lived in Chicago for 8 years, since the age of 18, it was time for a move. Personally, I need to know how far I can spread my wings, and so far, I'm loving exploring California. Koreatown is my new home, and my new food of choice, (and I know this sounds cliché!)...tacos.

My days here are a mix of two worlds. When I'm working on set, it's a 12-hour day of gripping, nothing but. When not working on any film sets, I generally wake early, make 2 cups of coffee and spent a good hour reading the Wall Street Journal. The opinion page is the first go-to, then the real-estate section, (I love real estate and have invested in properties in Chicago). Then, I'll turn to whatever catches my fancy. I work part time for a social media brand, Positively Woof, and will spend some time working on Facebook, Youtube, etc. In the afternoon, I'll turn on a personal finance podcast and go on a walk (yes, before you even ask,..this is my idea of fun). A walk to me is about 90 minutes or more. I love long walks. My shoes, on the other hand, get pretty worn out; WSS here I come! I'm a cook, but also love a few Korean restaurants nearby, so, for dinner, I'm either cooking for myself or indulging in steamed dumplings, soy sauce, kimchi...the works. None of my friends are big fans of Karaoke, which is a mainstay of many establishments in my neighborhood, but I'm working up the courage to have a go at it on my own.

Born with the most common name in the world, but, as you'll get to know me, certainly not the most common person in the world...

John’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Loyola University-Chicago - Bachelors, French Language and Literature

Hobbies

Architecture, investing, cooking, hiking, film, French, sudoku,

Tutoring Subjects

10th Grade Writing

11th Grade Writing

12th Grade Writing

6th Grade Writing

7th Grade Writing

8th Grade Writing

9th Grade Writing

ACT English

Conversational French

Elementary School Writing

ESL/ELL

French

French 1

French 2

French 3

French 4

High School English

High School Writing

Languages

Middle School Writing

Public Speaking

Reading

Test Prep

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I mix discipline and organization with empathy and personal connection. Learning should be both fun and effective, and the two often go hand in hand.

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

I want to know the student. His or her interests, background, reason for seeking a tutor, and level of proficiency in the subject. As well, I want to share with this person who I am, and how I plan to teach.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

It is necessary to show a student how it is possible to engage with the material in everyday life-- how the material is interesting. Doing so will motivate the student to take a proactive interest in the subject.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Constant encouragement is needed, as well as varied teaching methods. The ability to adapt to a student's achievements or frustrations is crucial in keeping the lesson relevant, and the student encouraged and motivated.

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

Good insight and prescience on the part of the tutor is necessary in understanding which areas a student may have difficulty. One needs to plan for this and adapt the teaching to progress being made. If progress is not being made, the subject needs to continue to be revisited. Practice does make perfect (or near perfect)

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

Storytelling and allegories are priceless tools in drawing out the who, why, what, where, and when of a story or other written material. Connecting the dots takes a big picture thinker. It is the role of the tutor to tease out the natural analytical parts of our minds that we all have.

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

Sometimes, we need to step back, and change the topic for a bit. Just like the mind when it has too much to focus on, a student who is struggling may not make improvement simply by "working harder." Take a step back, talk aloud to one another, share a laugh, and decide mutually how to go forward. Anything can be made exciting. But, nobody is one size fits all. The exciting "thing" has to be something that the student and tutor equally have a zeal for.

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

The student needs to explain to the teacher what has been covered, and what has been learned. Examples of the knowledge gained need to be provided. A recap of the lesson, and questions on appreciate for the material (did the student like it or not, and why) must be asked to ensure the student is actually gaining something valuable and long-lasting from the lessons.

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

Constant encouragement and mutual appreciation for the subject matter and its difficulties. I share my struggles with every student I've had. Learning is not easy! But it can be lots of fun and enormously rewarding. Shared activities are also a must. If I ask a student to write a passage, I too, as the tutor, should write a passage. We are in this together, and will work together.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

It takes a very patient, insightful, and disciplined tutor to accurately assess a student's needs. Other forms of evaluation are testing, which can easily tease out strengths and weaknesses.

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

The first few sessions should provide more than enough information on the individual qualities of the student for any good tutor to be able to tailor the teaching style to each student. Feedback must be elicited from the student in order to engage in a mutually understood and agreed-upon path of learning and teaching.

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

-Reading (pre-selected passages) -Writing (student and teacher write passages based on prompts) -Formal materials (lesson books, notecards, etc.) -Conversation

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

Getting to know the student through informal conversation is the best way to start a strong relationship. One must invest time in getting to know the student. It is absolutely necessary to do so, in order for the tutoring to be effective over time.