I am a law student seeking to help fund my living expenses while I go to school. Before I entered law school, while I was getting my master's degree, I tutored a variety of high school subjects and the SAT and ACT. I enjoy tutoring immensely, and after nearly eight years of doing it, I have developed a repertoire of tricks that help my students learn more easily. I particularly enjoy tutoring high school math and physics, Spanish, and literature, but I have experience in most subjects. I know many, many words :-)
Undergraduate Degree: Tulane University of Louisiana - Bachelors, English
Graduate Degree: The University of Texas at Dallas - Masters, Literature
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1590
SAT Math: 780
SAT Verbal: 800
SAT Writing: 800
GRE Quantitative: 163
GRE Verbal: 170
Whitewater kayaking, strumming the guitar, internet chess
SAT Subject Test in Spanish with Listening
What is your teaching philosophy?
Almost all of us are surprised by how much more we can do than we initially believe.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
We'd get to know one another, and then go over the rudiments of the material to find gaps in understanding that need to be resolved.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Independent learning is based in interest and confidence. Confidence comes with practice at the right difficulty. Interest is born of enthusiasm, which is easily communicable. In short, work hard and have fun.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation is tied to support, personal achievement, and interest. When a student feels that his or her family supports him or her and wants him or her to do well and when the student sees that he or she can succeed with enough practice, motivation is nearly assured.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Approach the skill from a variety of different points of view, and of course, practice, practice, practice. Ideally, in a way that is not too mind numbing, especially involving other students who need to practice the same skill.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension is a skill developed through exposure to a variety of materials. There is no substitute for extensive reading. The key is to start with materials that are not too difficult and work up.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Being kind and supportive.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Enthusiasm is often a group product. The tutor and fellow students can often communicate their enthusiasm to the student.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Do not proceed until you have checked for comprehension. If retention is an issue, re-check at each class or session. Do not fear review.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Confidence comes from achievement. Demand what the student can perform and slowly ratchet up the difficulty. Past success increases confidence like nothing else.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I speak with their parents, and, if possible, their teachers, as well as spending time during the first few sessions to check their understanding, or lack thereof, myself.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I try to discover what learning style best fits the student, as well as what motivates them. Often finding each student's personal source of motivation is the most valuable adaptation.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Tons of paper and pencil, a white/chalkboard, if one is available, a calculator, if appropriate, books, usually paperback, textbooks, and colored pencils, if complex diagrams are necessary.