Every student is important. Every student can excel at any subject. Every student deserves someone who will help him/her reach their fullest potential. Complex subjects like math or language arts is a skill that can be strengthened with practice and engaging materials that are fun and apply to a child's individual needs and interests. It is my goal to help students reach their definitions of success while (hopefully!) having fun along the way.
Wittenberg University - Bachelors, Middle Childhood Education with a Concentration in Mathematics & Language Arts and an Endorsement Plan for 4-6th Grades
American College of Education - Current Grad Student, Educational Leadership
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Writing
High School English
High School Writing
Middle School Reading
Middle School Writing
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is student-centered and data-driven, with an emphasis on relevancy and overall classroom engagement. Good lessons do not just prepare students for their grade level or for a standardized test. They also must prepare children for their future careers and life.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session, I believe it is important to set guidelines and build a relationship with the student I am tutoring. We will also discuss any goals the student has for him/herself. I also would like to immediately get to work, and start by assessing the student's needs and working on any academic areas of concern with him/her from the beginning. This will hopefully set the tone for future meetings.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
A student can become an independent learner when they are taught how to properly problem solve and critically think about situations. I instill this type of behavior within my students by supplying them with multiple "struggling strategies" that they can utilize whenever they have reached a point of concern in their work. I also help students with their confidence and finding the right attitude when approaching tough problems. Behavior in itself is key to becoming an independent learner.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation and engagement have a direct relationship with learning. Making lessons fun and appealing to the kids I am working with is a key point of all that I do. This can be done in simple ways, like analyzing lyrics in their favorite songs to discuss poetry or discussing how knowledge in geometry can help one become a better soccer player. Rewarding students for good behavior and resiliency is also crucial to this process.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
One of my favorite quotes is by Albert Einstein. He says that "If you cannot explain something simply, you do not know it well enough." As a teacher/tutor, this means that I need to find other strategies and ways to explain a problem simply to a child. Encouragement is also important, because everyone has difficulty learning something new - especially if it involves abstract concepts/thinking. Ensuring that a student does not give up and positively reinforcing their own internal determination is key here. With enough practice, I believe that anyone can excel at any subject.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
A lot of the time, offering stop and think points within reading is helpful with retaining information. Relating the book to background information that the student already has stored in their brain is another technique that can be used. I also like doing fun activities, like drawing the story out in comic book form as we are reading it and assigning captions and speech bubbles to each scene once the book is done. Anything that incorporates multiple forms of learning and that engages the thought process throughout the story is a good tool to use.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The biggest strategy to ensure success is establishing a positive bond of mutual respect with the student and enforcing expectations throughout the experience. If a student knows that he/she must come ready to work hard at each session, and is willing to respond to the instructor present, then a lot of learning is bound to take place.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Engagement is all about making the subject relevant to the student's life. This differs from child to child. An example would be that if one child loved drawing, I would find ways to incorporate art within the topic he/she is studying. This helps take the stress out of the situation while also making it more fun.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Constant assessment as well as variation of assessments is important to determine if a student's confident with the material. This can be done in formative ways - like projects or exit slips. Or in a more summative format - such as quizzes. Assessment can also be informal, like having a conversation with a child over his/her own understanding.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Confidence comes with practice and positive experiences. First, a student must be instilled with a level of resiliency. I do this by offering my kids multiple strategies and praise when they complete small goals - like writing the first step of a math equation, or highlighting important words within the instruction. Slowly, the student will start to solve problems step-by-step, knowing that each step they reach they have done well in the past. This will eventually help lead them toward their academic goals and will further help with their confidence in the future.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Evaluation of student needs can be done through constantly assessing a student in multiple ways. A lot of the time, the easiest way to see what a student is struggling with is simple: ask them. Most of the time, students know exactly where they struggle and where they need more help. Additionally, providing students with pre-tests or 5 or so problems that increase with complexity, and then watching them complete the assignment, will also tell me a lot about where the student needs more scaffolding.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Adapting my tutoring style is something that I do every day in the classroom. It is all about knowing what an individual child responds to in their learning and their motivation, and then tapping into that need as much as possible. Some students respond better to tough love, some only need a look to stay on track, and some need to be constantly rewarded for the smallest of actions. The same type of thinking can be applied to cognitive ability levels as well. Using students' names in word problems or picking out a book that involves a particular passion of the child is one way that my style can be adapted to a child's needs.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I like using materials supplied by the classroom teacher as a foundation- because that is what the student needs to work on the most to be able to excel in their current grade. However, if none of these materials are supplied, then I have plenty of resources of my own (being a teacher myself) that I can utilize to further student learning. I especially like incorporating technology whenever I can as well as any sort of activity that connects to different types of learning - like visual representations, hands-on models, etc.