I am currently a student at Pasadena City College, planning to transfer in 1-2 years. I am pursuing a science degree (I'm considering both Life Sciences and Physical Sciences).
I first began tutoring in spring 2014 and immediately fell in love with it; as a college student I myself study with friends/study partners quite frequently. Working with clients feels almost similar to these relaxed and enjoyable - yet highly productive and efficient - study sessions. I find joy in demonstrating to students that these tutoring sessions don't have to feel like tribulation; although I am their tutor, I am also a student just like them so I know how to study (and thus help them study) without burning out.
I've tutored students ranging from 3rd grade to high school seniors. For my younger students, I've mainly tutored math fundamentals, Earth Science, writing, and ISEE prep. In addition to tutoring, I've been teaching at an after-school program for exactly one year; this experience gave me the opportunity to teach a class of up to 10 elementary-school kids, developing my ability to attend to various students' needs simultaneously. As a teacher with a more active role, I arranged a curriculum with supplemental topics to complement material being taught to them in school, and as a 3rd-4th grade instructor, I organized many games and "art projects" to familiarize students with the learning material. This job has helped me practice putting together lesson plans based on common core requirements, rather than just using the student's own material. As a tutor, it's not always necessary to supplement the student's schoolwork with additional material, but if appropriate I feel very comfortable creating targeted lesson plans.
As for high school students I've mainly tutored Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry, Trigonometry, SAT math prep, Chemistry, and Statistics. I have much experience tutoring high schoolers; in fact the majority of my previous students have been at the high school level. Not being too much older than students of this age range, I find I can relate quite well and I can serve as a role model, exemplifying how well-educated/smart/happy they too can be in 5 years (at my age).
I generally prefer tutoring SAT math, Geometry, and Algebra 2; using mathematical reasoning to approach a challenge appeals to me because it's a skill that requires experience. I enjoy helping students reach the answer, emphasizing not the final solution, but instead the process used to find the solution. Being forced to think and solve critically is what expands students' minds and gives them experience mathematically, helping them figure out how to approach problems of all subjects in the future. These math courses incorporate a lot of critical thinking into each problem and that's where the fun is!
I believe that all students are entitled to the best education possible, which can be accomplished in a variety of ways. It could mean a weekly tutor to supplement learning, or extra time with a teacher. Regardless of how it is accomplished, a student's access to efficient, individualized education catered specifically to his/her needs can define his/her successes in life. It is my belief that students deserve individualized attention from a single educator who is monitoring that specific student's strengths and weaknesses. A student deserves the best possible shot at life!
In my free time I've recently started playing the piano, which also consequently got me into classical music. I sometimes take apart classical pieces on my computer and merge them with others, integrating various composers and styles; music has recently become a great hobby of mine.
Pasadena City College - Current Undergrad, Chemistry
What is your teaching philosophy?
Everyone should be entitled to a strong education. School should be a pleasurable experience. Being able to graduate, find a job, and support oneself is a priceless achievement that sets one up for a successful life. I feel that everyone is entitled to that level of success and the independence it brings.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would begin with the fundamental concepts of that subject; building a strong foundation helps set the student up for success. I would supervise as the student worked through a good amount of practice before moving on to the next topic. Depending on the student's understanding, I would move on to different concepts.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I make sure to make students think about problems and try to set it up themselves using information they know. Once I teach a new concept, I have the student practice it in different ways. I ask the student questions and encourage participation rather than just lecturing.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would break down harder assignments and test-review into smaller chunks, helping the student decide on both short and long-term goals. I would use easier material if needed to help the student understand and gain self-confidence. If needed, I would give the student a short break and allow his or her brain to rest.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would break it down into its constituent components and explain each one individually. I would use visuals if possible.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would have the student pause after each small section and paraphrase what he or she had just read. I would offer examples to help the student grasp the concept being explained. We would go sentence by sentence, if necessary. I would highly encourage and assist the student with making notes as they go along.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Once I pick up on a student's learning style, I format material to fit that style. I often draw out concepts (including mathematical concepts) on paper for the student to make visual connections. Breaking down problems into constituent components helps the student realize that they're putting together building blocks of information they already understand to form a more difficult concept.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would indirectly point out the subject's applications to everyday life, and help the student realize the unique, fun aspects of the subject.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I've often made color-coded notes for students to help their brain grasp the material visually, as well as mentally. I would work with the student to help them make their own notes as well, including example problems and important formulas.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I start with the fundamentals of the subject, and strongly encourage critical thinking. I help the student form short-term goals to give them a sense of accomplishment. I use verbal praise to let the student know that I notice their hard work and intelligence, and that I'm proud of them.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
While going through a homework assignment or other material, I make note of any topics the student has difficulty with. I recognize what formatting of information the student learns best from.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
While working with the student, I actively ascertain his or her receptiveness and adjust my teaching style accordingly. I organize notes in the simplest and most effective format. If I notice the student has attention problems, I patiently relate the information to the student's interests.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I generally use a portable dry erase board and paper. Depending on the subject, I use different types of visuals. For example, for a chemistry lesson I might bring my model kit to represent atoms. For math or reading lessons, I generally draw out concepts on paper or the whiteboard.