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My name is Ian Stabbe. I am licensed teacher in Iowa with a History degree from Iowa State University. I also have a degree in Anthropology from the University of Northern Iowa. Currently, I am a substitute teacher for several school districts around Des Moines.

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Ian’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Iowa State University - Bachelors, History


I enjoy outdoor activities, reading, documentaries, and sight seeing.

Tutoring Subjects


College World History


European History



High School English

High School Political Science

High School World History


Middle School Math

Middle School Reading Comprehension

Political Science


Social Sciences

Social Studies

World History

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I focus on skills and instilling curiosity. The skills vary for subjects, but the ability to ask good, investigative questions is the most important skill. If a student has the desire and ability to ask questions, then that student will be put on the path to solve any problem.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

I would have a conversation with the student to gain an understanding of what they want to get out of the session. I want to understand what they want to learn and why. I also want to understand how they learn most effectively, which will help me in my approach to assist them.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

The best way to help a student become an independent learner is to teach them to how to ask questions. Students are always put in classes where the teacher or textbook provides questions and the students have to answer them. Without the teacher or book asking questions, students cannot become independent learners because they are always dependent on receiving questions. If you eliminate that dependence and allow them to ask their own questions they immediately become more independent.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

They have to be convinced that they want to learn what they are being taught. They need to understand that the subject is interesting and it can benefit their future success. If they can't understand why the material is helpful then they are stuck studying because someone else said they need to study.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

I would have us go through a step-by-step process of discovering what is confusing them.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

I have my own struggles with reading comprehension, and I help myself by taking notes in the book. They're not ancient artifacts, we should be taking notes in them as we read. Students should also have a plan for what they are looking for as they read. People make guesses about what will happen next in a novel, so they should do the same when reading nonfiction and textbooks.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

I try to clearly explain or demonstrate the benefits of learning a certain subject. I also try to relate the information to their lives; learning has to become personal.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

The Question Formulation Technique can work here. If students need to ask questions, then their questions can demonstrate what they are trying to know. It demonstrates how they are trying to think, and with that information I can begin to understand any confusion they might have and focus on that.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

The Question Formulation Technique works for this. If a student can articulate exactly what they are trying to learn or what they not understanding, then it becomes an identifiable problem and that can be a boost to a person's confidence because the problem or confusion is no longer limited to not knowing the answer. The problem becomes more specific and more manageable, which can be a confidence builder.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

Computer, pencil, paper, and their classroom materials.

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