As a tutor, I make it a point to understand what the student doesn't understand before I even get started looking at their homework or notes, that way, we both know what needs to be tackled. As I am tutoring, I make sure to check for mastery, ask if there is anything that is still 'foggy' to the student, and come up with acrostics or visual aides to help the student remember concepts. Also, if there is any doubt or anxiety, I make sure to address them and offer any advice or solutions to building self-confidence.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Trinity University - Bachelors, Physics
SAT Composite: 1180
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Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe pedagogy is holistic; one must understand the student and their learning style(s) and also the material to be presented. Being empathetic to the student's needs makes a tutor or teacher more effective and efficient, regardless if they are an expert on the subject matter or not.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First, I will ask my student what issues they see that they are having with the material, textbook(s), or understanding their teacher. Then as we are working, I gauge if the problem is mainly ability or anxiety-related, or a combination of both.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
What I like to do is ask how the student feels about the way their teacher or text presents the material, and if there is another way to improve on it. Sometimes, I am able to offer either a more efficient way or, at least, another way of solving a problem; this way the student knows they have choices. I asked them questions about their next steps in the process of figuring out a problem and guide them in the right direction if they are lost; that way, they start to rely on their own logic instead of going straight to "I don't know."
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I like to inject silly jokes, aspects of real life that relate to the material, or talk about my own struggles with learning in order to keep sessions relaxed. I also make sure to encourage students even if they make the slightest improvement in their problem solving.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I will try to propose several ways of solving the problem if it doesn't include any "hand waving" information (information outside of the knowledge of their class material). Sometimes, I'll have to make a joke about it or relate it to real-life for it to make sense.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I tell students that the reason they don't understand a subject is because it is not presented to them in a way that they are able to understand it best, and that sometimes they may need to work on it harder than other students; I let them know that it's perfectly fine to have to work harder, and that they will eventually understand it.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I have to do a lot of listening, observing, and inquiring about their processing to fully understand what gaps are present in their learning, and how to help springboard them into learning more efficiently.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I typically only use a white board, a touch-sensitive LCD notepad, but also have notebook and graph paper, pencils, rulers, erasers, and sometimes a laptop.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
In order to get a student excited I would ask them their goals and encourage to achieve them, but I would also try to make jokes about the material or something that the material reminds me of. I could also use a real-life example or two to make the material relevant.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Depending on the comprehension level of the student, at times I have to slow down and explain every step in detail. Other times the student and I are both working in a frenzy-like state. I make sure to really pay attention to their processing pace and work with their speed.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
When it comes to reading comprehension, I like to take things one word at a time, breaking it down by its roots and prefixes if needed. When I need to, I will paraphrase the entire sentence.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Depending on the subject, visual aides seem to work very well, whether they be outlines, sketches (of the problem), detailed dimensional analysis, or just definitions and sentences rewritten on a white board I use.