I believe that all students can learn the math that they are presented with at school. Often the concepts will appear confusing and hard to understand without some extra help. Using my 38 years of experience teaching Math, I can help those students identify and overcome the problems they are encountering. My favorite memories are when the student "gets it", and their smile shows their confidence has returned!
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that all students can increase their knowledge with practice and patience. I believe there is more than one way to solve most problems and each student should be encouraged to use whatever reasoning method they can apply.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Learn what the student likes to do for leisure and fun. After that, I would ask them what is difficult in their current math setting and begin to identify their weaknesses so as to set a course of action.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By learning that many problems can be solved in more than one way and solving may come from something as simple as trial and error. All students need to know how to use the resources they have: books, notes, previous solutions, etc.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By getting the student to understand that a mistake can be a real positive and can help them learn as much as finding the solution the first time. Also, convincing the student the value of struggling to find a solution, it may take several tries before that is accomplished.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Try to break the concept into smaller parts and work through those to see what the student understands and what they find confusing.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would restate the problem in different words and encourage the student to ask what certain words mean and identify those words which they are unsure of.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Setting a positive mood by learning who the student is and their likes and dislikes. I also would give them tasks which they can succeed at to get some self reinforcement.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
By explaining that many others have had the same struggles and that nothing beats persistence and effort. Also that getting 100% is not realistic in most situations!
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
By doing many problems and changing the look of the information to cover all forms which are commonly used for a particular concept and emphasizing the key concepts and what to look for before beginning a solution.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
By giving praise and being patient when learning comes slowly. Again, 100% is not a realistic goal!
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
By getting to know the student and understanding what they want, what areas are difficult and setting small easy to reach goals.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
By learning exactly what they are struggling with by doing examples with them and discussing their fears or weaknesses, as well as their strengths.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Lots of paper and examples. I like to have a student text to help the student understand examples. I try not to do too much in one sitting, rather find a key area and dwell on it until the student feels good about their understanding.