A photo of Kaci, a tutor from Seattle Pacific University

Kaci

Certified Tutor

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Hello there. I am a certified teacher with a conglomerate of experience. Among my professional experiences, I have worked with all ages in various capacities, most recently teaching math intervention at the middle school level. I am a trained professional, but also consider teaching to be among my natural abilities and something that I love doing.

Kaci’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Seattle Pacific University - Bachelors, Fine Arts; Elementary Education

Graduate Degree: University of Phoenix-Online Campus - Masters, Curriculum & Instruction; Language Arts Emphasis

Hobbies

Cooking, baking, painting, sewing, reading, crochet, polymer clay


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe in reaching the heart before reaching the mind. If students know I care, they will be more likely to care. If students know I have a passion to learn, they may follow suit. I believe in making learning experiences meaningful and honing in on what students really need.

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

In a first session, I would first get to know my student--what are his likes and dislikes, what motivates him, what does he think he is good at, or not good at? Then, since I would likely be tutoring in a specific subject, I would gather information on what the student is currently in need of learning and administer an assessment to identify weak areas.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Teaching a student how to use the skills he already has is invaluable. Being an independent learner means knowing how to conduct research or where to look to find the needed information. I have extensive practice in allowing students to work through processes on their own, with guidance, so that they glean more from the experience and have ownership of their learning.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Coming to the table with a positive attitude, reasonable expectations, and encouragement helps to maintain motivation in students. However, if students are struggling to be motivated, I may create incentives, whether it be tangible rewards or time or activity awards once students reach a set goal.

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

When students struggle with a skill or concept, I try to find new ways of approaching the concept. If possible, it helps if the learning experience relates to the student in some way. For example, a teenager can relate more to examining the costs of a phone plan than to the costs of an insurance plan, since insurance plans are not relevant to them.

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

There are tools students can use to aid them in reading comprehension, such as using flashcards for vocabulary, highlighting evidence, pre-teaching activities so that once the item is read the student already has background information, or taking notes and writing questions about things that are not understood.

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

Keeping the atmosphere light, but focused, is the best environment. A student will be more successful if he feels like I am here to coach him and guide him to his goals, that I will not criticize or judge him for his errors, and that we all learn from our mistakes. I find, though, that if a student feels too comfortable, as though the session does not have a purpose or goal, that the student will not put forth as much effort and tends to get sidetracked. Starting sessions with a warm-up activity and communicating the goal for the session helps a student to understand what he is to accomplish.

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

When at all possible, I try to find games that are related to the content. There is no way around the fact that sometimes students just have to listen and watch in the beginning to be introduced to a new skill, but once students are in the practice part of the lesson, games make learning more fun and memorable.

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

Informal observation is sometimes the best measure of where things are at any given moment, because watching a student work or listening to him talk about what he is learning can often reveal misconceptions that may not be shown in a written assessment. Formal assessments are valuable, though, in that they provide data of prior knowledge and post-knowledge of the subject being assessed.

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

Setting expectations at a reasonable level--one in which a student can attain a skill through my scaffolding--is the best start. Once a student sees he can make progress in something, confidence is gained. This is especially true when a student receives help through tutoring or other intervention methods, and then returns to his general classes and knows the material.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I primarily use formative assessments to identify students' areas of weakness. This helps me to select goals and lessons that the students need most. Assessment can also identify strengths, which are valuable in helping a student to build on what he already knows.

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

In any teaching assignment, I focus most on skills students need most, as shown in formative assessments. Sometimes students have other needs, perhaps a learning disability or behavior issue, or other physical or emotional obstacle. I adjust my methods depending on the need of the student. I also try to make my teaching relevant to my students whenever possible, touching on their interests.

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

In my past tutoring experiences, I have used flashcards, packets, worksheets, games, and online activities.