Hi! I am a pre-med student at Cleveland State University. I currently have a bachelors degree in psychology and working towards a second degree in health sciences with plans on matriculation to medical school in 2018.
I have been tutoring since I was 14 years old. I have worked with all ages from elementary school up through college.
Throughout my journey to medical school I have taken an abundance of science classes (biology, biochemistry, general and organic chemistry, as well as physics). During this process I have experimented with different learning and studying styles to help myself excel in each class which has also helped me with students that I tutor. The understanding of different types of learning has allowed me to deliver instruction to others on the most personalized level possible.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Cleveland State University - Bachelors, Psychology
Graduate Degree: Cleveland State University - Current Grad Student, Health sciences and pre-medicine
Studying for the MCAT, listening to music, spending time with my children, family and friends
Anatomy & Physiology
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Science
High School Biology
High School Chemistry
ISEE-Lower Level Mathematics Achievement
ISEE-Lower Level Quantitative Reasoning
ISEE-Middle Level Mathematics Achievement
ISEE-Middle Level Quantitative Reasoning
ISEE-Upper Level Mathematics Achievement
Middle School Science
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy ties first into love of learning and wanting to spread that feeling on to others. My goal in doing this is to realize that not everyone learns the same (some may require further verbal explanation, while others may need examples that can visually be seen or imagined). Determining the student's learning style is the first obstacle to overcome. At that point, the material is better delivered and some of that initial frustration with the subject at hand dissipates. I find it handy to explain a subject in as many ways as possible through simple explanation, analogy, and visuals (if applicable), and after that moving on to multiple practice problems or scenarios. After the student has achieved mastery at that, it has proved beneficial to have them explain the subject to me, in a sort of role reversal, and to make a few questions of their own. By becoming "the teacher" of the subject they had issues with, they gain a sense of confidence and have hopefully come to appreciate what they have learned in the process!
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
My first session with a student consists of determining what their goals with tutoring are. For example, are they feeling insecure about the subject at hand and needing further explanation of current topics, are they a bit behind in understanding the material gone over in previous classes, are they looking to get ahead in material the class may not have touched on yet, or are they just looking for some additional study before an exam? After determining their goal, I assess what their learning style may be to get a better idea of the teaching approach that will be best suited to their needs. It is at this point that I start with the material that they have been presented with in class. I may back up and explain more basic information that leads up to that point if the student is behind or feeling unsure. If the student has the goal of getting a bit ahead of the class, I assess what their current understanding of the material is and move forward from that point. If this session is a review before an exam, I aim to go over key points and go further into detail with things that may be unclear or stand out as very important (and almost guaranteed to be tested on).
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
It is my belief that any student can become an independent learner if they are aware of the way in which they learn best. Has the student pinpointed their learning style? It is important to keep in mind that not all students learn the same way. Some may excel with lecture based learning, while others do better reading the book on their own, and others may need something to visually see that explains the subject at hand. It is important that the student knows what way they learn best so that they can convert the material the teacher provides to them in the way that will register best. For example, a student with a visual learning style may be in a class with a professor that simply lectures. The student needs to know how to somehow make visual study aids that converts the topics given in lecture to something that will better serve them. After knowing how to do that, it is also important to be sure that the student has quality study skills and a study plan.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Constantly going over material, and what may possibly be dull material if not of interest to the student, can be extremely frustrating (especially if you're having a hard time with it in the first place). I encourage students to not book extremely long study sessions every session and to also give themselves frequent breaks when studying. In addition to that, I think it's a very good idea to set some sort of reward system for yourself. For example, after studying for a set period of time, possibly give yourself a break with a nice walk or leisurely activity, or after receiving a good grade on a test (as a result of excellent study skills and a great tutor ;) ), treat yourself to something nice! Things like this can be highly satisfying and a push to keep up the good work for the next exam.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would try to explain using all methods available, such as verbal explanation, visual aids (such as videos and hands-on examples), even coming up with mnemonics that may help with understanding or memorization. I would also encourage the student to look outside their assigned textbook to give another author's instruction a chance as well. I would give additional practice questions and worksheets, and encourage the student to make their own questions as well.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I tackle reading comprehension by breaking things down. I have the student paraphrase the paragraphs of what they read to find the main idea of what the author is saying. I also point out keywords (words that compare or contrast something or make definite statements) to help find the feelings of the author in the passage. When an unfamiliar word comes up, I have the student look at the surrounding words to help determine the definition. By looking at the big picture and the generalized main idea of the passages, it helps to apply it to the smaller points and makes things a bit more understandable.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
To check for understanding of the material at hand. I have the student go through practice problems, if applicable, and upon finding correct answers to the problems, I have them explain to me why they chose that answer or what steps they took in order to reach that answer. I also have the student explain an overview of the material that we are covering. I feel that you show your understanding by how well you can explain or teach it to someone else.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I have found it extremely helpful to explain in detail the subject we are working on. It is useful to do a couple of practice problems together, breaking them completely down and going over each step, and then having the student do some problems by themselves. I have them explain to me what steps they are taking and why and how they came up with the answer that they reached. This allows me to see if there is a misunderstanding about the entire concept or if there are just one or two parts that need a bit of extra instruction.