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Hello, my name is Joel Kerr and I have a great wealth of knowledge in how to help students problem solve and learn for themselves. I have eight previous years of tutoring experience in multiple different areas and socio-economic levels. I teach students how to learn.

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Joel’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Illinois State University - Bachelors, Special Education


Playing drums and guitar, drawing, and exercise.

Tutoring Subjects


College Level American History

Comparative Literature

Earth Science

Elementary Math

Elementary School Math

English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

High School Level American History


Homework Support


MAP Prep

Middle School Math





Special Education

Q & A

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

In a typical first session with a student I would talk to the student in a short, but specific conversation. I want to know who they are, but on a professional level. Their likes and dislikes as well as personality will help me to prepare material. I would then do some diagnostic assessing. Nothing big, but flashcards or word problems for a student in math, or a reading text to be analyzed to see their reasoning skills. It is important to make sure the time together is effectively used to improve the student's confidence and ability with the subject matter.

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy is one of guidance. I don't know all the answers, but I do have strategies for inferencing and ways to look for an answer by using resources.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

One must first demonstrate what an independent learner looks like. One can do this by simply making passing comments in conversation about personal learning they are doing as an adult. Students should see that learning continues with age and also does so with intensity. Aside from that, one must treat the subject matter as interesting, debatable, and full of options.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

The best way to help a student stay motivated is to have them chart their progress along the way. Data does not usually lie. Showing how to make and chart your own data is a great life practice as well. Seeing their own data, that they are managing, allows them to take ownership of their progress.

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

Try a different method of presenting the information. Find a different way to connect the material.

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

When reading, focus on big picture concepts with struggling readers. Having them answer numerous questions from a small text has a lot of interruptions in the reading. It's not realistic in approach because people don't read that way. When students really get broad questions, narrow the ideas down bit by bit.

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

Being direct and honest. Give praise, specifically when it's due, and be constructive in criticisms, but do not avoid criticisms. If students only ever hear that they did well, it inflates the compliment. The bigger the hurdle and drive, the bigger the feeling of accomplishment and reward.

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

One way is to connect it to them personally. This can be done with a book, a movie, a play, or a visit to a museum. Finding lore about the subject can help bring it to life, while also being a reading lesson at the same time.

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

Having the students explain why things are is a great way of understanding material. If I give an incorrect math problem to a student and they can find and fix the error, and tell me why my work was wrong, that student REALLY knows that concept. Additionally, if I give a student a text after learning irony and highlight a passage and say, "explain why this would be funny?" and they can, they really understand the use of that irony type.

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

A student's confidence is built by taking small risks in learning and growing from each one. Even if it ends poorly, if they made the choice, it's a learning experience. Knowing one can do better than a previous failure is a confidence in itself.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

One way to understand a student's needs is to watch them work and ask questions. Sometimes a person does not know what they don't know, and it can be made apparent in their work.

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

It's best to read the student's level of interest and concentration while tutoring. When tired, stand up and walk around to learn. If too hyped up, work on some coping skills to get them back into the groove of working.

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

It would all depend on the student's needs. I can work on paper, with physical manipulatives, and on computers. I can tailor each lesson to the student's need.

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