I graduated from UMSL with a BA in history and a minor in German. I'm strongly interested in most kinds of history and language, and am always ready to help students in subjects from European history to German to going over essays. I believe that language and history are topics that anyone can understand if they are just taught in the right way.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Missouri-St Louis - Bachelors, History
ACT Composite: 32
ACT English: 35
ACT Reading: 36
SAT Composite: 2280
SAT Math: 700
SAT Verbal: 790
SAT Writing: 790
History, language, military history, archery, conservation
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe in helping students help themselves. I assist them enough that they do not get lost, but encourage them to come up with answers themselves. If possible, I try to relate the subject to something the student already understands. I also believe that if students struggle with history or language, it just means they need to be taught in a different way.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I would first try to figure out what they understand and what they don't. Then, I would question them and challenge them to find patterns so they can eventually determine the answer on their own and understand why it's correct.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would ensure that the student did not feel too discouraged by difficulty with learning. I'd gently let them know when an answer was wrong, but would congratulate them when they succeeded. If possible, I'd also try to compare the subject matter to something they find interesting.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Practice makes perfect. I would focus on the difficult subject and try to guide them towards learning the patterns behind the concept until they could figure out the answers on their own, doing my best to keep them from feeling discouraged.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
People learn best when they want to learn. I'd find books on topics they find interesting, starting with easy-to-read ones. That will keep them engaged and motivated.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
If there's a pattern behind the concept, I would help the student go over examples until they found the pattern and could correctly achieve the answers. If, however, there's no real pattern (such as with German plurals), I will just have to help them memorize.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
It's important to make the subject interesting to the student; when possible, I would try to compare the subject to something they already find interesting, show them examples of the subject in media, and explain the subject in simple and entertaining terms.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Questioning them to see if they can come up with the correct answer in one try or a few is effective. It can also help to present new examples of a subject they already understand to see if they understand the underlying patterns.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
It's important to keep students from getting discouraged. Being tactful instead of blunt when correcting them can help avoid discouragement. The students should also be congratulated when they get something right. Occasionally going over a subject they already largely understand can also help them succeed more often and gain confidence.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
It helps to directly ask them what they're struggling with, but I can also ask them questions about various topics to see for myself.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
If they have textbooks, those would be useful. The Internet is a good source of information on all sorts of topics displayed in various ways. Of course, simple pencils and paper help to create images for visual learners to understand.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Introductions would help us get to know each other and would help the student feel at ease. Then, I'd ask them what exactly they needed help in, and ask them questions about various topics to test their knowledge. After that, we could decide together what the student most needed help in and focus on those areas.