Hi, I'm Kevin! If you need a help with philosophy, government, literature, religion, history, essays on any topic, or math up to pre-calculus, I'd be more than happy to give you a hand. I am confident that whether you are starting jr high or finishing college we can work together to make sure you achieve your goals.
While I can certainly help students develop the study skill vital to succeed in any course and coach them through the often arduous process of studying, I am particularly adept at helping students with their writing. Not only have I achieved high marks for myself through my writing, but I have helped many others - including ESL students - improve their writing as well. Be it grammar, research, essay organization, or style, I can help any student improve their writing marks.
As for my education, I graduated from Davis High School in 2009 and have been studying abroad ever since. I got my BA at UBC in Vancouver, majoring in philosophy and political science and minoring in religious studies, and graduating with an A- average. After that, I went to KU Leuven in Belgium where I studied philosophy. I graduated cum laude with an MA in 2015, and magna cum laude with an advanced research MA in 2016.
As for me the person, I am a Davis local who loves travel, literature, hiking, and (good) TV. My favourite authors include Sinclair, Orwell, Asimov, Kafka and Camus on top of too many philosophers to list. In my free time, you can often find me walking my dog with an audiobook or writing fiction in the public library.
Thanks for reading my personal statement and I hope to hear from you!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of British Columbia - Bachelors, Political Science and Philosophy
Graduate Degree: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven - Masters, Philosophy
Travel, History & Philosophy, Art
College Level American History
College Political Science
College World History
Elementary School Math
GED Reasoning Through Language Arts
GED Social Studies
High School English
High School Level American History
High School Political Science
High School World History
High School Writing
IB World Religions
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Contrary to the old adage, you are what you think, and what you think cannot be disentangled from what you've been taught. Thus, teaching is a responsibility and a privilege to do no less than help another become a human.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
After introductions and a brief "getting to know one another," I'd first ask for general information regarding the courses the student wants help in (syllabi would be ideal). I would like to know the class times to better schedule sessions, the books used, the frequency of homework, and the dates of all tests/essays. Then I'd ask which areas the student is having the most difficulty with. After that, any time left would be dedicated to working on whatever material the student was most recently struggling with.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
You can't force students to be interested in a subject, but a good teacher can prick their imagination. A good start is exposure to different mediums for the same content (lectures vs textbooks; graphs vs equations; logic vs grammar). Oftentimes, the problem for students isn't the material, but the presentation, which is why it's important to get to know the student. Do they listen to a lot of music? Maybe they could listen to a lecture on headphones. Do they like art? Maybe they could draw a math problem. Are they highly analytic? Maybe an essay could become a logical sequence rather than a stream of words. Once a student is interested in a subject, the teacher just has to show them the material and be supportive, and let the student do the rest.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
The first step is keeping the student engaged in the sessions, which means keeping the exercises and sessions 'fresh', allowing them to do most of the talking, and exposing them to content they've never seen before (an unknown historical episode; a relevant paradox; associated art/literature). Keeping students motivated beyond the sessions can be difficult, so it is important to not only spark interest, but also show how doing well in the classroom will improve their lives in both the short and long term. A tutor shouldn't be the stick/carrot, but they should be able to point them out.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
First, ask them to explain it. Often this will reveal particular sticking points which, if cleared, will allow the student to move forward. After this, provide the student with exercises that focus on the particular concept. Watch how the student works through the task and, after they are done or cannot see how to proceed, try to suggest means that are more efficient and/or tailored to how the student thinks. Even after the student learns the concept, it may be worth briefly revisiting it in later sessions to ensure that it 'stuck'.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Perhaps obviously, reading is a language, but so is logic and art. Therefore, like learning any language, students should be encouraged to 'translate' passages into logical steps or images, or perhaps motions as the case may be. At first, this will be slow because the student will have to pass through the intermediary step of translation, but soon they will be able to read without the intermediate step.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The first and most important thing is establishing a good relationship. If the student feels comfortable, they will be more willing to try new things and be more communicative about what is and is not working for them. Moreover, the tutor must understand how the student expresses themselves in order to understand how they think and how that can be improved - this cannot be done if the student is just seen as a faceless knowledge receptacle.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Try to put it differently. Students - particularly younger students - are often taught as if there is only one way to approach a given topic. This can be both off-putting and discouraging, so the first step is opening their minds to different routes to the same place. Once students find a way that works for them, I find they usually take off. That said, it may take a while to find the route that suits the student best, so it may be a good idea to take breaks to review material they already know to remind them of the basics and build confidence.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
On top of a variety of exercises that test the same skill in different ways (fill-in-the-blank, free response, identify the issue...), I've found that the best way is to figure out if a student really 'gets it' is to have them create a few exercises of their own. If correct, the teacher can either choose to move on or push the student by modifying the student's own exercises to make them more challenging.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
First off, keep the atmosphere light. Frequently students buckle, not so much because they can't do the work, but because the pressure is too high. Smile and be good natured, highlighting what the student has done right and how far they have progressed, rather than getting frustrated with their errors. Also, if a student is struggling and time allows, it may be a good idea to shift to a different skill that the student is more comfortable with and return to the problem areas later.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
In the first session, ask the student. Students usually have some idea of where they are struggling, even if they can't pinpoint the precise issue. After that, the tutor should get to know the class (ideally through a syllabus, textbook and graded assignments) to create something like a diagnostic test for the next session.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
In the first place, ask why the student signed up for tutoring. If they work hard but don't grasp the material, focus on how they study and try to approach the material from a new angle. If they dislike the class or are bored, try to spark some interest and give them a structured space to do their work. If they grasp the material but have difficulty with evaluation (test anxiety or poor writing), focus less on the specific class and more on general academic skills.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I tend to be 'traditional' and prefer working with pen and paper. Calculators are fine for math, but I prefer to print electronic materials (articles, flashcards, quizzes) for the students, because most evaluations are paper and it makes it easier for students to take notes. The Internet can be useful for researching specific questions, but I find it too frequently only gives the illusion of studying.