I'm very passionate about working with students to help them better understand mathematics. I have a bachelor's degree in Mathematics and I am in Graduate school pursuing a Masters in Adolescent Math Education. In the next 2 years I hope to start Teaching math on the middle school or high school level. I hope to give students a strong understanding of math and change those students that "hate" math into students who at least persevere through it because they understand it's importance.
Outside of academics I like to keep myself well rounded. I am very active with my puppy who is a few months old; going hiking, running, and being on the water. I also stay active by playing and coaching volleyball. Other hobbies I have in my free time are weight lifting, reading, computer gaming, and cooking.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I want to teach students to memorize a little and understand a lot.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
A first session is our introduction to one another. I expect that we spend at least 10 minutes talking about ourselves (hobbies, interests, etc.). Then, the majority of the remaining time would be spent getting a baseline of the knowledge the student has and where he/she may need my assistance.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Students become independent learners through their teachers giving them the opportunity to think about the problem. Many go straight to the step-by-step procedure to solve a problem, but if actually given the opportunity to think about why something is occurring students will learn so much more on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation often comes from confidence, and confidence is often a product of success. My tactic would be to reaffirm the student’s strengths in prior knowledge and use that prior knowledge to tackle the current problem set and stay motivated to complete it.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
When a student has difficulty learning it is important to first identify what the student doesn't know. When the issue is pinpointed you can address it by asking focused questions that are relevant but within the student’s knowledge. Then by using scaffolding you can build to the current skill or concept.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Students who struggle with reading comprehension often have issues with identifying vocabulary and it's relevance to a sentence or story. I would start by having a student identify any words they don't know and then look them up and define them. Once a student understands the words it sometimes can pull their entire understanding of the story together.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The strategy that works best for me is leveling with the students and not talking down to them. When a student knows you are on their side and not trying to belittle them they are far more likely to be receptive of what you are saying.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Two tactics would be to 1) relate it to an interest of theirs (relating physics to sports) or 2) build on their strengths in the subject. A student that excelled in algebra but is slacking in geometry should be taught geometry through an algebraic lens.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Depending on the subject different techniques can be used, but the most effective way is through either an assessment (exam/quiz) or a written response (essay/short paper). Through these two methods a teacher can get a grasp of how much a students really understands.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Through building upon concepts the student already knows.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
We can evaluate student needs by providing a baseline assessment and by asking what parts of the subject they don't feel comfortable with. Then, when moving forward, watch for where common mistakes are made.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Some students have strong prior knowledge and are only missing on concept, these students should be left to their own devices to answer questions and then you can step in when needed to help them get over hurdles. A student who barely gets the basic concepts should be given more attention and will need guidance and often will require scaffolding and back tracking to older material before you address the current content.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
It often depends on the student’s needs, but paper and writing utensils, white boards and markers, and calculators are almost always in the mix. Some times games, videos, or other devices could be used.