I am currently an undergraduate student double-majoring in mathematics and secondary education. My primary fieldwork focus this past year has been employing inquiry-based instruction in elementary and middle school classrooms, so I encourage open communication and student thought when working with a student. I have also just been awarded the Noyce Scholarship through the University of Maryland, which commits me to two years teaching in a high needs school district post-graduate, which demonstrates how serious I am about this career and the success of all students I may have in the future.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Maryland-College Park - Current Undergrad, Mathematics/Secondary Education
Reading, writing, music (singing, playing clarinet and piano), Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
You cannot control what you do not know. As a teacher, I believe in entering a new situation with an open mind and being flexible with expectations, to make for a more successful and fruitful teacher-student relationship.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would try to get to know the student a little bit--interests, hobbies--to make he/she more comfortable. Then I would get a sense for how familiar he/she is with the material by presenting him/her with a few sample problems, and go from there.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I would encourage the student to ask any question of me but try to turn it back onto him/her, such that the student is reasoning through the issue himself/herself rather than getting a lecture from me.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Making sure the student never feels completely ignorant is key to keeping him/her interested in what we are working on. I would build up the student's confidence by making sure he/she understands the basics of the topic first, then slowly introducing more conceptually difficult examples that are not hard for the sake of being hard, but rather a challenge that would be satisfying for the student if he/she figures it out.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Depending on the subject, I might try to tie it back to a real-world example. If that were unsuccessful, I would pull an easier example with which he/she is already familiar and build off of that until we reach the type of skill or concept the student got stuck on.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would encourage the student to read the statement aloud, and then break it down into sections he/she understands and does not understand. Whatever the student cannot solve through context is something we will review.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Remaining patient and flexible are the best ways I have found to gain the student's respect and trust. This way, he/she feels comfortable asking me any question, knowing I will not get exasperated or judge him/her.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would try to tie it to something in which he/she is already interested. For example, if the student is very into baking, I might point out that baking requires precise measurement, a mathematical concept of its own.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would ask a more conceptual question about the procedure we just covered, to ensure that the student could answer any kind of question I asked and not just the ones I assigned. I would, of course, give some sort of small, informal assessment at the end of a unit to be sure he/she is ready to move on.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Building a student's confidence begins with figuring out what the problem is. Once I know the root of the issue (i.e. lack of supportive teaching in school, specific topic that was difficult, etc.), I would work to counteract that: for example, if a student had particular trouble understanding concepts in algebra, I would break those down and lay a better foundation upon which we could work up.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
This comes in during the first session. I would present the student with a set of preliminary problems related to our chosen topic, and observe how the student responds, both in performing the procedures and in his/her physical reactions (i.e. signs of confusion, boredom, antipathy, etc.).
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Again, after the first session has been taught, I would tailor my approach to what I had observed. If I see a need to primarily work on concepts, I will come to the next session ready to break down the procedures in a way that examines the conceptual understanding the student possesses.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use readily available materials, for both my own ease and the ease of my student, who can then go buy his/her own copy. These materials would typically be review books, but could be copies from school textbooks.