My name is Katie, and I am a recent graduate from Washington and Lee University. I have tutored for the past 7 years, mostly in middle school algebra and pre-algebra. My goal is to perfect students' basic math skills to gain confidence when they attack more difficult skills such as algebra and geometry. I also work on testing to ensure confidence in a testing environment.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I want to build a student's confidence in the classroom by perfecting their basic math skills, such as times tables and division. Through my experience as a tutor, I have found that students that falter in their basic math skills tend to be less confident with more complex equations. Confidence in ability is the key to success, and my goal is to build confidence in foundation concepts to ensure success in future math classes.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first session with a student I will simply talk with them and build a relationship. Trust is the foundation to the tutor/student relationship. I want them to know that I am interested in their success both in and out of the classroom. This will also allow me to figure out what kind of learning style they have, how they react to instruction, personality, and other things that factor into learning. I will also test basic math skills--times tables, addition, subtraction, fractions--to see what sort of foundation the student has in simple math.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
One of the most important ways to ensure that a student becomes an independent learner is to have them "teach" me. I may give them an example to show how I expect the problem to be laid out, but I will have them do the work. I will have them teach me by talking through the problem with me. I guide them, but it is really the student that is doing all the work. After a while, they realize this and gain confidence to do the problems on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
It's all about feedback! Remind the student of small victories to keep them striving for the big ones.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Practice practice practice. I will demonstrate the steps they need to take to solve the problems, but I am a firm believer that one of the key ways to learn math skills is to practice them. Take different approaches to solve the problem, but they will need to put in the effort to succeed.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Gain their trust. They need to understand that I am here to help and that I want to help. They need to trust that I will do my best to help them achieve. It's the foundation of the student/tutor relationship.