I grew up living around the world: Tripoli, Quito, and various states. I have a degree from MIT and spent 25 years at Intel in a number of positions. My hobbies are playing the piano, hiking, reading, bridge and bowling (yes, bowling!). I enjoy talking about anything and will often make stuff up just to keep the conversation going. I started tutoring back in the 90's in a program called Start Making A Reader Today (SMART). I found some computer programs that did alphabet and word recognition with animation. I also worked in an after school tutoring program for high school students. It was a melding of tutoring and mentoring, trying to get some at-risk students into college by improving their grades. I like math and physics, so much so that I tried to teach myself string theory. No luck there, it is a much harder nut than you might think.
Q & A
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Introduce myself and give a little background, then ask about their hobbies and interests. Basically chat for 15 - 20 minutes. Then ask them what they think these sessions are for. Explain my role as a tutor, and do a quick assessment in the subject mater.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Teach them how to do study and do homework. Most students I have worked with at the HS level think doing homework is all about getting the right answer. It’s not, it’s about getting the right approach.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Positive feedback when they do well, and back off and take a short break when they get frustrated. Come back to the subject with an example, and use that to lead into the area that caused frustration.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Make sure they have had a vision test. Assess their competency in the subject prerequisites. Verify that the student is spending time on the subject matter outside of tutoring.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Spend time getting to know each other; don’t just jump into the lesson plan.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Find a way to relate it to something they are interested in. math = music, physics = skateboarding, and so on.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Verbal feedback such as, "are you getting this?” Evaluating how well they work with examples. Testing if required.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Start slow and build a good foundation. Make sure they understand new concepts when they are introduced before moving on to more new stuff.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Ask the parents and look at past history. Then discuss it with the student to find out if its "I don't get this" or "I'm bored".
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
First find out what those needs are, by conversation, past history and/or assessment. Then bring in supplemental material to address any deficiencies.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Books, internet, and a whiteboard,.
What is your teaching philosophy?
Keep trying until you get it right. Watch out for frustration. Don't introduce more material than the student can handle.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Back off to some simpler material without being obvious about it. Find the level of competency and build from that.