I have been a high school physics teacher for seven years. My focus is on providing students with strategies that help them approach problem solving in a methodical and organized manner. I encourage students to observe their surroundings and use those observations to make connections to what we are learning in the classroom. Through a methodical, inquiry-based approach, students learn how to think critically and approach new scenarios with confidence.
College of the Holy Cross - Bachelors, Physics
SAT Verbal: 710
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Usually I will outline a concept through a brief lecture, answer any questions a student has, and then provide a few practice problems for the student to work on. We usually start by solving the problems together with me providing less and less help until the student can do it on his/her own.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I like to focus on how the subject relates to a student's own life and experiences. Physics is "the study of nature" and so it can be seen all around us at all times. I sometimes use video clips or other online resources to help the concepts come to life.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Usually I will have a student explain a concept back to me. If the student is working on problem solving, I provide multiple sample problems of increasing difficulty to make sure that the student understands thoroughly.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Students become confident when they feel like they understand the material. I help students to connect concepts to each other in order to provide them with a broader basis for their understanding. Also, establishing certain problem-solving procedures that consistently allow students to reach the correct answer can be helpful, especially in physics in which even similar problems can require very different approaches.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
First I discuss with students what they want to accomplish through our sessions and what they think their strengths and weaknesses are. From there I pay attention to how they solve problems and where they tend to go astray, and then I make sure to provide additional practice in those areas.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Because I have been teaching physics for several years, I am aware of the most common pitfalls and misconceptions in a student's study of physics. I can explain or illustrate most concepts in multiple ways, using analogies, diagrams, graphs, etc. If the student needs more skill-based practice, I can easily provide worksheets to cover the relevant topics.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I have seven years worth of classroom materials at my disposal. These include various targeted problem sets and worksheets, a litany of videos and gifs, and a variety of applets.