Tutoring has been an extremely prominent aspect in my life since before I realized I was actually "tutoring". As the older sibling and the oldest of all my cousins, I was the go-to homework hotline whenever any family member younger than me needed academic assistance. It was always gratifying to see that I was a positive impact and a positive role model for my younger cousins. I mastered the art of patience and explaining. I have always loved to talk and I realized that talking things over casually was always an effective method.
Fast forward to high school, I found myself doing the same thing. I continued to help my cousins with their homework and maintained the status as their aid. Additionally, I stayed after school to help my fellow classmates understand concepts that they didn't quite during class. This trend continued throughout college. I found myself flourishing when I helped other friends and classmate study for a test or write an A worthy essay. I found that tutoring others also reinforced my understanding of the topic.
And now, years later, after graduating from UCLA, I realize how fulfilling tutoring can be. I take personal enjoyment when the person that I am helping succeeds through my help. My expertise ranges from all age types to all subject types, particularly essay writing and preparation for standardized testing. I believe that essay writing is a creative and personal process and I enjoy tapping in to the creativity of each student, particularly because essay writing can be an intimidating topic. My method of verbal brainstorming helps build confidence in each student an will enable them to critically think and develop ideas on their own. Also, their practice of creatively critically thinking will also help them solve problems of other subjects with less difficulty.
Similarly, while standardized testing is often a topic of stress my approach of thinking creatively will help the students approach test problems with ease. This with the combination of practice problems will help them conquer any standardized test.
I am extremely personable and I thoroughly enjoy building personal relationships with each and every single person that I tutor.
University of California-Los Angeles - Bachelors, English
SAT Composite: 2150
SAT Math: 710
SAT Verbal: 700
SAT Writing: 740
Elementary School Math
High School English
What is your teaching philosophy?
I strive to stimulate the individual creativity of each student. I believe that the ability to think outside the box, to see beyond the question and to see beyond the standard approach for solutions is a great basis for thinking critically. I believe that with the ability to think creatively, all answers have a solution.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I like to get to know my students on an academic basis, as well as a personal basis. I think it is extremely important to be personable, and discussing topics outside of academics helps break down the wall between tutor and student. In turn, this builds a comfortable environment that will positively contribute to an enriching learning experience. Naturally, I want to know their strengths and weaknesses academically. But, additionally, getting to know the student informally also helps me understand their thought process and would help me find better methods to help tutor them.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
In my experience as a tutor, encouraging students to actively brainstorm, whether verbally or on paper, helps create an active thought process. This helps the student recognize their ability to conjure up their own ideas and build their confidence to teach and learn materials on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I find that comfort is the first step in maintaining a student's motivation. Their comfort would encourage them to continue their studies. A comfortable environment also keeps the students engaged in the learning process. Incentives also tend to work well. However, I feel that the best incentives are results. Positive results give the students the gratification necessary to demonstrate that their work is fruitful and would, henceforth, motivate them to continue.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
All students have strengths and weaknesses, and defining them at the beginning of the session is critical. I would analyze their thought process in order to understand why a concept isn't sticking. I would also take different approaches more tailored to a student in order to help them grasp the concept. Once they show the beginning of understanding certain concepts, I would continue with different variations of the troubled area to solidify the understanding.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension tends to be a challenging topic due to the complexity of the reading material and the trickiness of the questions. I would start by discussing the overall format and objective of the questions. By understanding the questions, students will then understand what key points to pay attention to, specifically, when reading the passage. I would also emphasize making notes in the margin about any outstanding ideas that they find in the reading. I would also go over breaking down passages, which can be intimidating.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I have found that active brainstorming works best. I ask them questions in relation to their work and have them answer them to the best of their ability verbally. I also queue them to jot down important brainstormed ideas. I find that this is a more relaxed method that encourages students to think critically without feeling pressed for providing me with what they think the correct answer is. It also helps build their confidence in being able to do similar work on their own.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
A student's lack of engagement in topics that they are struggling in is very common. I would start by addressing their concerns and attempt to understand, specifically, which issues they find challenging. I would also present the information in different formats and engage their personal interests and fascinations in order to make the topic less intimidating.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Repetition, as well as a give and take method, I find, is an extremely effective method in solidifying a student's understanding of a topic. Verbally having a discussion about the material provides a more relaxed environment and would eliminate the stress of learning material. I feel that this is one of the best methods of retention. Also, having the student explain the material back to me in their own words at the end of the lesson would help me gauge exactly how much of the material the student understood and at which points there was some confusion.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I would start slow and begin the student with smaller and simpler assignments and then follow up by gradually building the difficulty level. Positive reinforcement will also give the student a taste of success and will gradually give the student the confidence they need to master the subject.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
A relaxed discussion about topics that they are excelling or struggling in is always helpful to evaluate the best course of action necessary. It lifts the stress and eliminates any embarrassment or insecurities a student may feel about certain subjects. Also, having an open discussion with them would assess their learning method and would help me tailor specific tactics necessary that would help ensure full mastery of certain subjects.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Not all students learn and retain information the same way, and, as a result, my teaching methods vary from student to student. Overall, I like to openly discuss a topic which each interest as opposed to a lecture styled session. I feel that, overall, this would help all students feel relaxed. But, based on their struggles or areas in which they lack understanding, I would change my discussion tactics to include more or less written practice. Some students are visual learners, and incorporating more written practice would be more effective.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Depending on whether the session is based around a school subject or standardized testing, I tend to stick to my usual tactic of verbal brainstorming and tailored practice problems. I am a firm believer in "practice makes perfect," and practice problem sets, I find, are the best materials to use during a tutoring session. However, I also find that relating the subject to daily objects or to activities that the student enjoys also helps reinforce understanding of the material because it helps maintain their memory and understanding of the topic. So, materials, such as media, may be used during a tutoring session.