I try to treat every student as a violin student -- lots of feedback and one-to-one attention, not so much lecture.
I've been working in education for nearly 10 years, as a tutor, classroom teacher (I am certified in Math 7-12 in Connecticut), and developer of teaching materials.
My most recent gigs have been hourly / independent contractor / free-lance, which I haven't put on my resume. I've been tutoring, mostly for the Hamden (CT) school district as a three-quarters-time job but also occasionally for some local agencies. And I've been developing materials for several publishers of math textbooks and web-sites.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Union College - Bachelors, Computer Science
Graduate Degree: Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion-New York - Masters, Computer Science
SAT Composite: 1500
SAT Math: 740
SAT Verbal: 760
Chess, Scrabble, bicycling
SAT Subject Tests Prep
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Treat every student like a violin student; i.e. with plenty of practice, feedback, and personal attention (versus large-classroom lecturing!).
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Find out needs, evaluate those needs for sure, find out other weaknesses-- i.e. an apparent problem finding slope of a line may actually stem from discomfort with fractions.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Stress self-evaluation-- e.g. be an active reader, so after every paragraph, ask "What did I just get out of that?"
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Emphasize future goals. Have the student think of extra tutoring or test prep as another class-- i.e. "Period 9" in the day; another item that gets checked off.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Sometimes go back to underlying basics. Another approach may work better.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Dive right into it! Especially treat the student as an expert on his/her learning style and an expert on what he/she is missing.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Have the student walk me through a similar problem. I ask "dumb" questions to probe understanding.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Lots of paper. Sample questions when appropriate. Some computer technology and graphing calculators for certain subjects.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Some vocabulary issues can be eased by pointing out similar words. And frequent pauses for reflection help the meaning of what has been read sink in.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Small steps give an impression of success-- i.e. relate to previous material, show increments to new material.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Formally, from previous test scores or homework. Informally, from working with student as he/she explains the process of solving a problem or answering a question.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Some learners are more visual; some do better with written explanations. Students often know what they prefer, so it's simple just to ask.