For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a teacher. I have always enjoyed working with others and helping people to learn new skills.
I am a graduate of an MA in TESOL with over nine years of teaching experience, the majority of which was in the field of English as a Second Language. In those nine years, I have worked in several different countries including South Korea, Chile, France, Poland and the United States. I have worked with students of all ages and proficiencies and have received and executed training in a range of different teaching methodologies. As a result, I have experience working with students from many different cultural backgrounds and with various English language abilities. If given the opportunity to work as your tutor, I would do my best to customize my lessons in a way that would best meet your needs.
I also have an undergraduate degree in French. During the course of my degree I spent a year and a half living in France. Therefore I have a solid understanding of all four skills (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking) and would enjoy the chance to help others to improve their own French language abilities.
I also spent 4 months living and working in Chile where I was required to teach and communicate in Spanish. Therefore, I also have some knowledge of Spanish and could help those who wish to improve their Spanish skills.
I consider myself to be a hardworking and self-motivated individual, who loves working with people and learning from new experiences. It is my hope that, given the opportunity, I could apply both what I have studied and what I have learned from my previous work experience, to help you get the most out of your tutoring experience with Varsity Tutors.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of GlasgowScotland United Kingdom - Bachelors, French and History
Graduate Degree: Lancaster University England United Kingdom - Masters, TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)
I love cooking, travelling, hiking, meeting new people and learning about new cultures
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
For me, the most important responsibility for a teacher is teaching their students skills that they feel that they will be able to use again. If a student does not think that the lesson applies to them or doesn't think it contains something they can use in the future, they will be less likely to retain the new information. Therefore, I disagree with lessons that practice rote memorization or teaching the same lesson to every student. Instead, I think it is important to customize lessons to each specific student. I do this by finding out my student's goals and what they hope to achieve. I also ask them about their interests. I will then try to incorporate these goals or interests into the lesson. So, if I had a student who wanted to learn English to help them on a business trip, I would try to include vocabulary and situations that they might encounter on that trip. For example, I might include role plays that involved eating in a restaurant, getting on a bus or train or participating in a business meeting. Conversely, if I had a teenage student who was interested in the language in general, I might create lessons around songs or include references to popular culture to help generate their interest and increase motivation.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Before beginning a tutoring relationship, I think it is important to understand exactly what a student wants to learn and what their end goals are. Therefore, I would spend some time in the first session interviewing the student and finding out exactly what they want. I also might conduct a basic assessment of their current language ability to find out their strengths as well as areas they need to improve on. I would also take some time to find out their hobbies and interests to see if there was any way I could include this in their lesson. I find that if the lesson contains material that the students can relate to or are interested in, they are more likely to retain the information.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I believe that the best way to help students to become independent learners is to first build their confidence. Very often, students are capable, but they may lack faith in their own abilities. When teaching, I tend to use a technique known as the 3Ps - Presentation, Practice and Performance. In the Presentation section of the lesson, I present new skills and demonstrate these skills for students, so they can see the correct way to use them. In the Practice section, I work with students and help them to learn the new skills. Here, students have the chance to try the skill for themselves but still have the support of the teacher. And in the Performance section, students have a chance to practice these new skills on their own. Then, for homework, students will have the chance to use these skills when I am not there. By gradually reducing the amount of support I provide for students, I help them to see that they are capable of applying the skills on their own and give them the confidence to see that they can do these things by themselves.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I think it is important to set goals, both at the beginning of a tutoring relationship and at the beginning of each session. By reviewing the goals at the end of the session, students can see that they have learned something in each lesson. Furthermore, by regularly referring back to the end goals that the student has, students can remember that they are studying for a purpose. This helps them to be responsible for their own learning and understand that they are continually working towards something. For younger learners, or those who need an extra boost, I try to create some sort of incentive, such as including a game or fun activity, at the end of the lesson. This way students have something to work towards, to keep them focused.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Students learn in different ways, and some students may find one learning method easier than others. For example, some students are visual learners and may understand something better when shown a picture or a diagram than simply being told about the problem or reading about it. Therefore, the first thing I would do is try to explain the skill or concept in a different way. Another reason the students might be having difficulty is that the concept is too complicated to understand. Therefore, I would try to split the concept into smaller, easier-to-understand steps. I also believe that the best way to understand a difficult concept is to practice it frequently. So, I would ensure that students had lots of opportunities to practice the new skill, both with me, in the tutoring session, and without me, for homework.