I am a sophomore at Vanderbilt majoring in Child Development at the Peabody College of Education! I am passionate about teaching and learning. I am originally from Baltimore, Maryland and have been tutoring since my freshman year in high school!
Undergraduate Degree: Vanderbilt University - Current Undergrad, Child Development
Teaching preschoolers, riding horses, reading, writing, running, nature, camping, art, education, sociology
College Level American Literature
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Science
Elementary School Writing
High School English
High School Level American Literature
High School Writing
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Writing
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
One of my favorite quotations about teaching by one of my idols, George Morris, says that if someone does not understand, "you either asked the wrong question, or you asked the question wrong." Although George Morris is referring to teaching horseback riding in this quotation, it deeply resonates with me for teaching academics. I strongly believe that the way that teachers frame lessons and questions is extremely powerful. I also believe in being critical of the way I ask questions and explain things to students.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I believe that learning does not come naturally when students do not feel comfortable! I would start a session by introducing myself and telling some fun facts. I would ask the student to share some things about him or herself. I would also want to hear them explain what they need help with and what their goals are.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Although I can't "teach" a lesson on autonomy, I can strongly encourage students to be their own advocates. I ask, "What about this is hard for you?" or "What could you have done differently?" I think these kinds of questions and teaching style help children learn they are strong and great learners on their own!
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I think that students feel unmotivated when the subject matter seems irrelevant or insurmountable. I would help a student stay motivated by trying my hardest to apply the subject matter to something they find interesting (sports, animals, etc.). I would also not try to tackle large amounts of material that a student is struggling with at one time. When something feels impossible, it is impossible to self-motivate.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would start by asking them what I can do differently to make it clearer. Sometimes, teachers think that the way they are teaching or explaining is the most helpful way - this is not always true. I would really want to understand what style the child learns the best in, and then re-frame what they are struggling with in a more individualized way.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I used to struggle with reading comprehension myself - I thought it was incredibly boring! I would reassure them that it can definitely be difficult. I would also provide some passages that are suited to their reading level and interests. Hopefully, by having examples that they find more interesting, we can build up reading comprehension skills from there and apply them to more challenging passages.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I like to ask students what their favorite books are, and why. I think it is a great ice-breaker and conversation starter. It helps me find common ground with my students. It also helps more shy students break out of their shells. I also like to try a variety of different methods for the same subject matter to see what ways work the best for the child. Most importantly, I want to know from the child's perspective what I can do to help.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I think educators need to show students that lessons learned in school are not distant, but exist in our everyday lives. Based on the interest of that student, I would try and give examples that do not sound dull and boring to them. I want to find examples (math, reading, or any subject) that have subject matter that they are passionate about. I would want to show that the subject that seems boring and difficult is actually relevant and exciting!
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
My favorite technique is to ask the student what they have learned at the end of a session - then I take some brief notes. This helps me gauge what the student took away from our time together. It is easy to look at a math problem and say that you understand it - it is harder to articulate WHY it is that you understand it and HOW you got that answer.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Positive feedback is key! Constructive feedback is so important. When watching a child complete a hard problem, it is important to verbally reward them for their efforts. I try not to say "wow- you're great at these problems," but something more like, "it looks like you have tried really hard to master these!" This gives children the sense that they have achieved something. It also fosters a growth mindset - anything is possible!
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I want to hear from the student what they are struggling with. Sometimes it can be hard to articulate one's own needs, though. If I get the sense that the student is having trouble explaining what their needs are, I would try to understand best what about their lessons at school do not work well for them. What gaps can I fill in? What sections does the student have trouble grasping?
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I am a firm believer the teacher is responsible for adjusting the lesson for his or her student. We all learn differently - students should not be expected to learn from one method of teaching. If what I am doing is not working, I will try and think creatively of a new way to approach the subject.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use a LOT of materials! If it is an in-person session, I always have highlighters, markers, flashcards, tons of paper, dry erase boards, etc. I want the lessons to be dynamic and engaging.