I think I've had a love for teaching before I even realized it. As a child, I always found some type of fulfillment in helping others understand things.
In the sixth grade, my Language Arts teacher, Mrs. Reglos, pointed out that I had a natural ability to assist my classmates with understanding writing. She also tucked personal notes in my notebook and encouraged me to pursue writing not just as a hobby, but as a career. I listened to her encouragement and set on a path to establish myself as a writer.
I competed in local poetry slams, directed after-school poetry programming, and even coached international youth poets.
I received my BA in English Literature in 2008 from the University of Guam and enrolled into their graduate program afterwards. I received my MA in Teaching in 2015.
For years now, I have been balancing the life of an independent writer and full-time educator. I have taught students from 9th-12th grade. Classes I have taught include EN 11 Honors, EN 11 ESL, and Creative Writing: Contemporary Literature.
John Norman’s Qualifications
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Guam - Bachelors, English Literature
Graduate Degree: University of Guam - Masters, Teaching
Bowling, writing and performing poetry & hip-hop, film, music
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Growing up, I learned that the purpose of education was to get good grades. I internalized this with the help of my traditional Filipino parents. For them, good grades were precursors to a successful college career. Good grades meant I was studious. Good grades meant I was well-behaved. Good grades meant I was smart enough to do well in higher institutions. I internalized early on that the purpose of education was to prepare me for college. Though I still do believe that education should prepare students for higher institutions, I now understand that there are more dimensions to the purpose of education.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would perhaps greet the student and see first how they were feeling. Sometimes a student's mood can greatly affect their ability to focus.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I would ask the student questions that require extensive critical thinking, based on the material being studied.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would remind them what education is all for. Also, I would remind them that feeling demotivated is normal, but staying demotivated can adversely affect their chances at educational success.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would find different ways to teach that particular skill or concept. There is more than one way to get a student to learn or comprehend a skill or concept.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
The stem of reading comprehension problems is always an issue with vocabulary and analytics.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
A few strategies that have been most successful have been the lecture, collaborative work, and the jigsaw.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
A personal connection will always excite a student.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would use both formative and summative assessments.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I would employ benchmarks.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I would pay attention to the results of formative and summative assessments, but also simply ask them what they believe they need.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I would again pay attention to the formative and summative assessments. Also, I would adjust my methods depending on how well the student is receiving them.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I would utilize the student's school materials and supplement them with online readings, films, music, etc.