My passion for tutoring and education comes from the hundreds of hours I have spent searching for the most effective method to learn new material while retaining the old ones. Not surprising, the most important skill I have learned through my constant search is flexibility and the willingness to adopt new skills as part of the process. These skills helped me successful earned a bachelor’s degree in science from the University of California, Davis and have also helped me improve my studying skills during my first two years of medical school education at UCLA. However, in my many years of higher education I felt a deep disconnect between my learning and knowledge and its application. Helping others through tutoring quickly fulfilled this gap and provided me with a platform to make a difference in someone else’s life. Through college, I tutored a range of student from 9-years-old in after school programs in Davis and Woodland, California, undergraduates in upper level science classes (Biochemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, and Spanish literature and writing) at UC Davis, and fellow colleagues at the school of medicine in cadaver-based anatomy. Given my career choice, I have remained passionate in tutoring Anatomy, Physiology, and Microbiology as well as Spanish literature, composition, and conversational Spanish. Outside my professional setting, I thoroughly enjoy hiking in the sierras and backpacking in the majestic planes of Yosemite.
UC Davis - Bachelors, Exercise Biology
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA - Current Grad Student, Medical Doctorate
What is your teaching philosophy?
Learn and understand differences in students' learning styles to maximize their learning acquisition and help build both universal problem-solving skills tailored to the student's potential and build confidence on such skills.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Ask about their learning style, their overall understanding of their academic struggles (if any), their concerns about the particular class discussed, their goals, and their potential plan to succeed.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I have noticed that students need someone to point out all the great skills they already have, as well as point out the skills that need more work. I need to start building confidence and reassure them that not everything they do is wrong or not effective. Building confidence in that student is one of the key ways to help them.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Set short-term goals that are realistic to the students and help them build upon that idea a plan of attack to fulfill such goals. Often time, a short and effective to-do list is incredibly helpful for this.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Get to the root of the problem. Understanding the origin of the problem is the most effective step to approach a specific problem, especially in science. Working backward with the student to figure out the concept or idea that is causing the problem and revisiting the idea to solidify their foundation is one of my favorite methods.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
First, get as much background information as possible to tailored the tutoring towards the student's needs. Set short term goals and expectations. Get started. Adjust on the go, explaining why the adjustment is necessary. Always recap and revisit what was learned and the comfort level of the student with the material just reviewed. At the beginning of the next session, start with 5-10 mins of recall from the previous encounter, and allow time for questions
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Make it meaningful and fun (if possible). Find out what makes the material difficult for the student and understand the reasoning behind it. Then, try to break the current perspective with a better/easier way to approach the specific topic until the student starts developing a sense of confidence in their skills and they see their potential to be successful.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I use the teach-back method and ask the student to walk me through their train of thought as much as possible.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Believing in their potential no matter how low or high their starting point is and working on reassuring them with examples of their own skills that they are in fact improving. Also, helping them understand that all their skills and learning is part of a process and not an end-goal. So, patience is of extreme importance.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Asking the student to describe their struggles with a specific topic or concept. Ask about other experiences that were similar or related. Pay close attention to the student's approach and skills throughout the tutoring session to add, subtract, and qualify the student's needs.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Keeping extensive communication and building a student-tutor relationship is the cornerstone of being able to adapt to the student's needs. By always addressing previous sessions at the beginning of a new session and making sure to recap and allow time for as many questions as needed to clarify the topic before moving on to a new topic.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
It all depends on the class and student's course. Typically, I use a whiteboard, a textbook, and the internet for quick searches.