A photo of Mai, a tutor from University of North Carolina at Asheville

Mai

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Overall, I have ten years of tutoring in a professional capacity, five years of teaching at the college level, and several years of volunteering experience. Through these experiences, I have encountered various types of learning disabilities and language acquisition issues, and I have taken workshops on how to navigate these particular situations. Building student confidence in their ability to learn is an integral part of the tutoring process because student confidence is vital to teaching students healthy study skills and habits that they can take into other areas of their academic life. I really want to work with clients who want to learn how to become more confident and competent in their abilities, regardless of how much red ink they have seen!

Mai’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of North Carolina at Asheville - Bachelors, French

Graduate Degree: Western Carolina University - Masters, English

Hobbies

I enjoy making things. I love to bake and cook because it's a nice break from reading and writing. I also love to be outdoors. This summer I'm picking up kayaking, and hope to continue my passion for hiking and being out in outdoors with the natural chaos of peacefulness.

Tutoring Subjects

10th Grade Reading

10th Grade Writing

11th Grade Reading

11th Grade Writing

12th Grade Reading

12th Grade Writing

7th Grade Writing

8th Grade Writing

9th Grade Reading

9th Grade Writing

Adult Literacy

College English

College Essays

English

English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

High School English

High School Writing

Middle School Writing

Reading

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

At the beginning of the eight grade, I was mortified to learn that I suck at writing, although I had always been an eloquent speaker of thoughts and theories. My 8th grade teacher spilled her guts out about my writing with her red pen. While I cried a lot, I'm pretty sure that little red pen shed more ink than I did tears. So, I got a tutor to help me pass the North Carolina eighth grade writing test. I went from a poor writer to an effective writer‰ÛÓand I believe I did this because of my tutor. Tutors have the luxury of focusing on one learner's needs at a time, whereas teachers must carry a group of learner's needs all at once. I have learned to be a more efficient teacher and tutor by reflecting on my past experience with other tutors. Overall, I have ten years of tutoring in a professional capacity, five years of teaching at the college level, and several years of volunteering experience. Through these experiences, I have encountered various types of learning disabilities and language acquisition issues, and I have taken workshops on how to navigate these particular situations. Building student confidence in their ability to learn is an integral part of the tutoring process because student confidence is vital to teaching students healthy study skills and habits that they can take into other areas of their academic life. So, I really want to work with clients who want to learn how to become more confident and competent in their abilities, regardless of how much red ink they have seen!

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

Typically, I want to understand what makes a student struggle. During the initial session, I want to go over the assignment prompt. I have the student explain to me what they think the assignment is asking them to do--so I can get an idea of how they interpret questions and tasks. Then, we dissect the assignment prompt together to ensure that we are both on the same page and working towards the same assignment or learning goals. I encourage all clients to have a learning goal in mind when working with a tutor. It’s okay to ask your tutor to help you come up with a learning goal.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Independent learners are not born that way. At some point in an independent learner's life, they were given the tools to be confident enough to venture off on their own. These tools are often study skills or habits that they were taught or that they picked up from role models. My approach to developing an independent learner is positive reinforcement and student-centered learning, which involves meeting the student where they are and moving from there--all while establishing positive study skills and habits, and break away from poor habits.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Learning goals are a key to staying motivated. I like to set assignment-centered learning goals, short-term, and long-term goals. Having a one-dimensional goal can risk making anyone lose motivation.

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

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, I like to walk through the problem with them. I like to ask students to explain what they think it means to them before I explain the skill or the concept to them. I follow up with a reflection session about how they understand or how their approach to the skill has changed. Like all things, practice makes perfect. I like to also reinforce a student's learning of the skill or concept with exercises. I usually have some off the top of my head due to so many years of tutoring, and if not, I know where to look for exercises to reinforce what a student has learned.

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

I'm really interested in multimodal learning pedagogy, and it's something I'm going to work on in my doctoral studies. This is fancy for learning that is not centered around written text. There are so many types of literacies, so when a student is struggling with reading comprehension, I like to explore creative ways to interpret the text. Doing so allows a student see the structure of an argument, patterns of claims, and patterns of evidence used in the reading assignment. When a student becomes confident and familiar with the particular reading structures of an assignment, they can begin to look for similarities in other reading assignments.

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

I like to spend a couple of minutes getting to know my client without taking time away from the session. Getting an understanding of a student's work and school schedule gives me an idea of how much time they have for healthy study habits and practices. We have to make time to stay healthy through exercise, and the same is true for learning and skills building. We have to make time for it. After setting a learning for the session, I usually like to ask the student how they might implement the study skills we have gone over during our session.

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

You know, some subjects just aren't interesting! Being honest is probably the best thing a client can do for their tutor. It gives the tutor an idea of why the client is struggling with the subject. After discussing a client's disdain for a subject, then the client and I can both move forward with what to do to understand the assignment--without the obstacle of the subject itself.

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

I like to reinforce student comprehension through a reflection session. There is research that supports student reflection. If a student can recount the information in their own words, they have mastered the material in their own way for their own needs. This is important because each student uses the same information differently based on learning style or communication style.

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

I build student confidence through positive reinforcement. My approach to teaching and tutoring is learner-centered, which focuses on starting a lesson from where the student is most confident and moving from there based on their learning goals and needs.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

There are several metrics for evaluating a student's needs because each student is different. The most beneficial approach is to set learning goals based on how and who is evaluating a student. For example, if an instructor is evaluating a student, I would like to see the instructor's rubric so I can best assess a student's needs.

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

I'm really there for the student. The student's needs and learning goals determine the tutoring session. For instance, if a student decides they want to work on something else that is pertinent to their determined learning goal, I'm up for a change in pace or path. However, "A ship without a rudder is still a ship without a rudder," so I like to always use the learning goal as the beacon during any changes in study plan.

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

I will always have two books: (1) a writing handbook equipped with rules and examples for mechanics and punctuation and (2) a documentation and stylebook for various writing styles. If it's something that I don't know the answer to, I know where to go to find it--even if it means looking it up on my smartphone.