Through my training and experiences as a teacher and as a scientist, I will bring high-quality instruction to the children that I am working with. While an undergraduate at Virginia Tech, I studied in the geosciences and earth sciences, learning how the Earth and its systems function. Also during this time, I served an internship with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, doing research with an active scientist. This represents practical experience that I have gained actively practicing and learning science. I have even taken the PRAXIS II in Earth and Space Sciences, passing with flying colors, showing that I am indeed knowledgeable. Through these experiences and assessments, I have gained and shown considerable content knowledge focusing in the earth sciences.
As part of the graduate program I attended, also at Virginia Tech, I learned how to effectively teach others through a variety of ways. Furthermore, I used many of these techniques in classroom settings: I served student internships in both middle and high schools under practicing teachers. Through these experiences, I have learned how to use teaching techniques beyond lectures, to include hands-on activities, such as labs and investigations. I also have scientific instruments at my disposal to teach with, such as a home telescope. Continued, I have content-related items that I have already used to teach, such as the rock collection I have already used to teach middle-schoolers geology and chemistry. I plan to continue using these props to tutor the students I am responsible for. Through these experiences, I have gained the ability to effective teach and tutor children in the math and sciences.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University - Bachelors, Geosciences
Graduate Degree: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University - Masters, Education
Rock collecting, video games, electronics, gardening
What is your teaching philosophy?
My philosophy of teaching science is that students should be engaged in the science learning from it as much as possible. As a product of the public education system, I have come to learn that the lecture format of teaching is causing our country to fall behind in science education, since few students learn well under those conditions. I know this to be true with myself: I was always more engaged in science classes, learning more, when they had me actively participating in the science itself. As part of my Masters of Arts in Education program, I have learned how to engage the students through discrepant events, the 5E and MUSIC models, and hands-on science labs. My placements have reinforced this for me, as students learn best through participation of the material. Not only did students have fewer behavioral disruptions of class, but they enjoyed the classroom much more when engaged in hands-on activities. They were focused on learning and participating rather than on fidgeting and daydreaming. Through these experiences that I have obtained, I plan to have a more hands-on and interactive classroom rather than a lecture-based format.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Assess what the student knows, understand the material the student needs to know (i.e. where they are in class, what material they've covered, and what material they're about to cover), and establish realistic expectations with the parents.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Encourage the student to use a variety of resources outside of myself: textbooks, teachers, reliable/credible websites, etc. Furthermore, I would attempt to teach critical thinking skills for my students to think through general concerns that crop up for them in class.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Show that they can be successful with learning and classroom assignments. This can be easily shown through improved classroom grades, but also through their abilities to work through problems and homework with reduced support from me. Furthermore, I can use positive reinforcement to encourage the student to participate in my instruction: a few minutes of relaxation time if they perform well, verbal encouragement, etc.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Switch the way that I'm teaching them. Every student has the potential to learn what they're being taught; the err is in how the student is being taught. Instead of using the technique that clearly isn't working in teaching the student, I can easily switch to another.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Use audio books with read-along text. I can have the student read along to the subtitles to their favorite movies. I can have the student start reading books below the reading level of their grade, and slowly step them up in book reading difficulty as they improve.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Through working with the student to build experiences in the subject. This isn't just problems from the book, but experiences practicing the skills on real-life applications.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I plan to adapt to my students' needs based upon which teaching styles and assessments they seem to respond the best to. Most students seem to dislike straight lecture, so I plan to largely phase that out in favor of hands-on learning and experiences in that subject.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I have found that hands-on activities are quite successful with students: that is to say, students work with the scientific materials and instruments themselves. Furthermore, these activities can be enhanced when students think about the purpose of the lab, what it was intended to teach, and what they learned.