# Jennifer

Certified Tutor

Undergraduate Degree: East Carolina University - Bachelors, Mathematics

Graduate Degree: The Ohio State University - Current Grad Student, Statistics

GRE Verbal: 164

Reading, playing table top and board games, playing with my four dogs, and enjoying science fiction and fantasy TV and movies (like Supernatural and Harry Potter).

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy is that everyone learns differently, so teachers have to teach differently. By finding the right "language," teachers can help students become successful and confident. Teachers are guides and coaches, while students are the winning athletes.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

First, we would get to know a bit about each other’s backgrounds. I need students to feel comfortable with my knowledge and teaching style, so that they will feel comfortable asking questions when they have them. I also need to assess where a student is in their understanding of a particular subject. I like to maximize our tutoring time by working on the trouble areas, rather than reviewing concepts that a student is already comfortable with.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Mathematics and statistics are subject areas where students who seek tutoring typically feel very uncomfortable. Many students second guess themselves, even when they work a problem correctly, because they don't believe they can be good at the subject. For me, the best thing I can do to help students become independent learners, is to give them the experience and success to feel confident in their abilities in these subjects.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Staying positive is key to keeping students motivated. Students need a tutor to keep them on track, to push them to keep going, but also to celebrate their achievements. Taking time to reflect on their progress is an important step in helping a student have the desire to keep moving forward.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

First, we would take a short break. This is particularly important in math and statistics, as students can get very overwhelmed. Then, I'll ask questions to determine exactly where a student is getting stuck in the problem solving process. Once we know where we need to work, I'll try different ways of explaining the concept until I find the one that works. We'll spend time practicing that skill or concept until the student feels comfortable moving on. I'll also make sure to come back to that concept during a later session, to make sure that the student's mastery of that skill is long-lasting.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

Again, giving students a short break is important to helping them feel comfortable moving forward. From there, it's about showing them how to focus on small parts of the sentence or paragraph and understanding those pieces first. Reading comprehension is about putting those pieces together, so understanding each piece by itself is important. If that doesn't help, we'll work together to figure out what the best next-step is for the student.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

Being comfortable with each other is critical. Students who don't feel comfortable asking a tutor to slow down or go back over a concept will not be successful. Likewise, a tutor that doesn't feel comfortable pushing a student on a concept, or questioning them to make sure they really understand what is going on, will not be able to really help that student. Another strategy that I have found to be successful is to starting and ending each session with something the student feels confident about. This way each session begins and ends with a sense of accomplishment. Finally, I believe that emphasizing a student's accomplishments and achievements is a really good way of helping them feel more confident in their studies.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

This is always a challenge in math and statistics. So many times a student will ask, "Why do I have to know this?" or "When will I need to do this?" At these times, I find real-life applications to show students how they actually will use a particular concept. There is always an example that I can find to make it relevant to the student. It is also important to use examples that feel interesting and accessible to a student. Most students don't know anyone who would buy 7 watermelons, but they might know someone who has watched 17 shows on Netflix.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

Repetition is important in math and statistics, so doing a lot of practice problems in important to ensuring that a student really gets what they are working on. Also, it is important to ask about a concept in a different way. If a student only knows how to solve a problem in one way, then they don't really understand how to solve that problem.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Acknowledging when a student gets a problem correct is a good first step. From there, I build on that feeling by giving them a chance to practice those concepts they are good at in the beginning and at the end of a session. The more a student can successfully solve problems, the more confident they will be. Finally, I encourage them to believe in their own ability to succeed. If a student believes they will fail, they probably will. A student has to accept that they can be successful in order to achieve their goals.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I use a combination of ways to determine the needs of the student I am working with. First, I ask them to tell me what they understand and what they need help with. Then, I ask questions to help me understand just how much they do or do not comprehend. Sometimes it’s only one or two parts of the problem solving process that they need help understanding, and sometimes they don't understand the underlying foundational concepts. I also have them work problems and get as far as they can. Particularly in math and statistics, seeing how much a student can actually do is very helpful. Finally, I try to figure out why they are having trouble to begin with. Are their study habits where they need to be for this subject? Do they take notes, and are those notes legible? Do they understand the teacher or seek out the teacher outside of class? Do they have or use their textbook? If I can help a student find the right combination for them, I am helping them beyond just the course we're working on.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

It's all about figuring out how the student learns. Are they someone who needs to learn all the pieces before putting them together, or do they need the big picture first? Do they need lots of visual examples, or do they learn better with written examples? Do they need definitions of concepts or terms? These are the questions I always seek to answer when I'm working with a student. Then I make sure I apply the best learning environment for that student in our sessions.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

With math and statistics, you usually have to use a whiteboard at some point. It can be very difficult to describe how to solve a problem with words alone. There are also many problems where reading or using a graph or picture are critical for understanding the problem solving process. I like to use multiple colors; to highlight different steps. I also give students notes and step-by-step procedures for certain common types of problems, so they have something to keep after our session is over.