I am a lifelong learner and lover of education. I have been invested in academic work throughout my education - I was a member of the state championship-winning quiz bowl team in middle school, and I participated in academic bowl in high school. I was a learning coach for my brother, who has special learning challenges, during the time in which he attended virtual school. I assisted him in his day-to-day schoolwork and helped provide outside resources to ensure information retention. I am excited to share a positive learning experience with other students, and inspire a love of learning. I am currently a criminal justice major at Georgia State University's Honors College.
Georgia State University - Current Undergrad, Criminal Justice
SAT Verbal: 720
SAT Writing: 750
AP English Literature: 5
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that every student has the capacity to learn, but that it may take explaining the same concept five or ten different ways to find what "clicks." For most students, this will be relating the subject matter to something in the real world that interests the student, but no matter what, I will find a way to make sure the student truly understands the material, not just long enough to take a test, but going forward.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would first ascertain what kinds of things the student was interested in, as that would help me ground their schoolwork in something they personally liked. Then, I would determine what, specifically, the student was struggling with and try to handle those issues first before moving on to other coursework.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By giving students tools to make it easy for them to study on their own, you help them become an independent learner. Organization, planning, and beating procrastination are all huge factors, as well as learning how to find information independently.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would remind the student that, while every individual exercise may not be useful for them, every single thing that we learn how to do in school is "learning how to learn." For example, a student may never critically analyze a poem again after school, but having learned how to do it and learned how to push past personal disdain for a subject is invaluable, as we are often asked to do things we dislike as adults, like taxes or unpleasant projects at work.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would attempt to explain the subject in a different way, to help the student understand it. Because different people learn differently, it may just be a matter of drawing a picture or listening to a song, or even using physical objects to model the concept. Sometimes, it's even just doing additional practice.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I find sometimes it is easiest to break down reading into smaller chunks - it's often far easier to understand a paragraph/stanza or even a sentence at a time than to become overwhelmed trying to read an entire chapter or poem. By reading through it, asking the student "So what does that mean?" and then helping them find evidence to support it, the student will learn the skills to comprehend what they read when they are on their own.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Establishing a rapport and place of common understanding with a student is what I have found to be most helpful. If the student doesn't trust you enough to tell you what they are really struggling with, progress is seriously halted, and the student won't get nearly all they could out of the session. Establishing trust and a relaxed environment are crucial when you begin to work with a student, so you can immediately begin to work on the subject matter.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Especially with younger children, I have found it very helpful to relate the work to something they are interested in, or give them something interesting about the work that will help engage them. History, for example, is full of fascinating stories, many of which are amusing, such as in 1856 when Representative Preston Brooks beat Senator Charles Sumner with his cane. For older students, it is often useful to help them see where the skills they are learning might be useful in their future profession.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would either use the review materials the student already has or come up with my own to go back over the material after homework was completed, just to be sure the student understands it. Additionally, it is often helpful to go back over work some time later, such as before a big test, to ensure the student has mastered the content.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
By starting off with easier work and walking them carefully and methodically through the steps so they reach the answer on their own before easing them into harder work, you can build a student's confidence in a difficult subject.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Simply by asking a student what they are struggling with and making notes of what they appear to be having difficulty with when doing homework or projects; it is often fairly simple to determine what a student's needs are.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I have a very flexible style, so whatever a student needs to master the material, I will do. Whether they need to practice flashcards over and over, or they need to pace around while they talk and explain their thoughts to me, or they need me to carefully go over every line in a poem with them so they really understand it, I can change it up so that the student truly understands the material.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Normally I'm pretty simple - a pen, notebook, a calculator if needed, and a phone or computer to look things up as needed. However, if a student needs something else, like index cards for flashcards or small objects to model concepts, I'm more than happy to do that as well.