For the last 13 years, I have enjoyed teaching a variety of subjects to middle school students. The piece I have enjoyed the most is watching my students "get it" and then just take off with their new knowledge. Seeing that excitement and confidence build is contagious and it makes others and myself want to learn more and help others learn more.
Many times though it isn't the student learning, it is myself learning from each one of them. During my teaching career, I have learned so much from my students including more effective ways to teach a topic, thinking outside of the box, among so much more. And I am continually amazed at their resilience, acceptance for others, and desire to learn.
While teaching, I love to try new and inventive ways of teaching an idea. My goal is to get the student involved in their learning and eventually to direct their own learning with the hopes of each one coming to their own understanding of the topic. It is exciting to see a student take ownership of their learning and derive to their understanding through their problem solving strategies with some guidance.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Grand Valley State University - Bachelors, English
Watching Sports (American Football, College basketball), playing sports (golf, basketball, hiking, kayaking, fishing), photography, knitting, movies, enjoying music (live with friends or just chilling at home), exercise, health&nutrition, reading
Basic Computer Literacy
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Writing
High School English
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Writing
Study Skills and Organization
Technology and Computer Science
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that every student can learn. My job, as a teacher, is to work with each to individual to discover in which way he/she learns best and teach to that strength.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first tutoring session, we would begin by getting to know each other and having some dialogue. It's important to be comfortable with one another so that optimum learning can take place. I would also expect that the student may have some questions for me as well. I would want to know the student's expectations of the sessions also as I believe it's important to meet their expectations.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
In order for a student to become an independent learner you have to provide them with the tools and confidence to do so. I would encourage each student to work through problems they are struggling with and talk about their thinking. I would ask questions about their thinking so they would have to explain further how they came to the conclusion/answer. We would also work on building a tool bag of strategies they could use when coming across problems they are struggling with, and we would practice using them in our sessions.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
To help a student stay motivated I would give encouragement continually throughout each session. We would also keep track of their progress through dialogue/charting/practice quizzes.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student was having difficulty learning a skill or concept, I would find a variety of ways to expose that student to the concept. We would pinpoint the exact difficulty and work on strengthening that skill. I would also bring real-life examples into the teaching to help the student understand the practicality of the skill/concept and give the concept more meaning.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
If a student is struggling with reading comprehension, I would use a variety of strategies to aid the student in retaining information. I would have the student read in smaller chunks and read aloud. I would also incorporate a note-taking and/or highlighting strategy to help them make note of important information. Also, I would have the student read a section more than once to help them gain confidence and gain retention of the material.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I find that creating a comfortable and safe working environment is key to begin. And to also allow for both tutor and student to express their goals and expectations for the sessions that follow. When working with a student one-on-one (and depending on age) breaks are important. Short brain breaks are to needed to help remain focused on the work.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would use technology, a video, a story, ask a question to get their brains thinking, or a scenario to help them begin thinking about the topic first. Help them become engaged in the topic without having to do "work."
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I find that a reteach is very effective to make sure a student understands the material. If they can explain another problem, or similar idea, to me and teach me about it, then they have it down. Also, if we do a quick summary/project on the topic to show all their knowledge about it; this is a very effective way to see if they have grasped the concept.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Practice, practice, and practice!
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
To evaluate a student's needs I need to ask questions and give them an opportunity to talk and share their concerns. Looking at their work is also another way to evaluate what needs they have.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
In order for each student to meet their goals, I need to teach to their strength. I would find out in what way they learn best and teach to that learning style. If that isn't working, I try another strategy. Keep trying until we achieve what we set out to accomplish.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Typically, I would use technology, videos to increase interest, manipulatives, graphic organizers, and visual aids.