I am known to my students as Mr. A. I have been a Public School teacher in Chicago for over seven years. During that time, I have worked with a wide variety of students (kindergarten through middle school) in the areas of Math, Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts. Currently, I teach math and science for 5th grade. Over the past several years, I also have developed a consistent track record of growing students in both Reading and Math on the Illinois MAP and PARCC exams. My experience is not entirely limited to the classroom, either. In addition to teaching my students, I have over seven combined years of tutoring experience in math, history, science, and language arts. Those tutoring experiences have allowed me to work with a wide variety of ages from elementary all the way to adults in college.
During my years as an educator, I have helped countless students find success in my classroom. When you work with me, you can be assured that I will do the same for you as your tutor.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Chicago State University - Bachelors, Social Work
Graduate Degree: DePaul University - Masters, Elementary Education
Martial Arts, Reading, Music, Making Furniture, Traveling, House Repairs, and just having a fun time
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Science
Elementary School Writing
High School Chemistry
High School English
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Science
Middle School Writing
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Through the students and teacher working together, we can learn anything.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In our first session, we will get to know each other, I will find out what you are having trouble with, and we will get right to work to start to help you understand some of what you are having trouble with. I don't believe in wasting time.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I use a method called scaffolding. I start by first showing a student how to do what they are having trouble with. Then we work on the problem together. Finally, when I am confident that the student understands the process, I will have them work on a few on their own. If at any time during the process, I see that a student does not get it, we take a step back and then move on when they have it.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Students who do not understand concepts usually don't get them because they are either missing a part of the strategy or they need to learn it in a different way. I would break the method down and continue to check for understanding. If, after this, a student still does not get the method, then I will teach that student a different way to approach the problem. This works in all areas from math, reading, and writing, all the way through science and history.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would use a method known as chunk-and-chew. Common Core often requires student be able to break down simpler task to answer more rigorous questions. Thus, by using the chunk and chew method, I can break down difficult task into. simpler more manageable tasks that build upon one another. While doing this, I can also check for deficiencies that a student may need to improve upon before they can complete the task before them. We then, work on those troubled areas and move to complete the task.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I first need to know where a student is in relation to what they need to learn. For me, I find that students can very well be stronger in some areas than in others. So it important to know where a child stands in relation to the task they need to accomplish. This can easily be done with a short pre-assessment. After this, I can develop a short plan of action to get a student from Point A to Point B. I find scaffolding and the chunk-and-chew method are very good for these things. Still, in other cases students just simply need to practice fluency. Thus, the pre-assessment is the most helpful in gauging these things.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I find that when a student sees that a task is reachable, it makes it easier for them to get excited. my goal would be for the to get some immediate success, and from there, the excitement will build. I find most students generally do want to do well, and by providing students with that quick success and celebrating that success with positive compliments, it makes it much easier for students to get excited.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
A quick assessment is probably the most ideal way for me to make sure that a student understands material. This can come from anything from a simple question to reading a short passage and performing a task that reflects mastery. This would allow me to see if they really understand it. Also, by following up with parents to check on their child's overall success, I can assure that students are taking what I teach them and are using it successfully in the classroom.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
By breaking down hard tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks, and having students accomplish these smaller tasks successfully, I find that students naturally become more confident. Especially when I take the time to celebrate those small accomplishments.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
This takes place when I question the client about what they are struggling in, and when I we go through an initial question and I see how they solve the question (pre-assessment). From there, I can see what the student's needs are in relation to the task they must accomplish.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
There are a variety of things I could do to help a student be more successful. I could slow down my pace. I could use a different teaching strategy, or I could ask new questions to get the student to think about the problem in a different way. Whatever strategy I would employ would become clear through our communication, through my questioning and their questioning, and through the student's work that they do with me.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
The materials I would use would vary based on the session and subject I was teaching. If I were teaching reading, I may bring passages, leveled readers, graphic organizers, reading games or task cards that may help the student to better understand the material. If it were writing, I may bring sentence starters, mentor text, and fiction or nonfiction text that may incite ideas for writing. If it were math, I may bring math games, task cards, sample problems and/ or manipulatives that may help the student grasp concepts.