I believe education is the most important thing we can focus on as a society. All chaos comes from ignorance, and all peace comes from truth. Moving from that level to the personal, i'd say the general rule is, those with a formal education have a leg up on those who don't. You'll have better options for employment and have an easier time living the life you want to live.
I myself was only able to get into medical school because my father stressed the importance of mathematics when i was very young. It helped get me through the hardest parts of college. Even now, while on leave from Med School, I am able to do what I love, because of those who helped me in the past. I first began tutoring seriously in college. I began with college algebra and moved on to science courses such as chemistry, genetics, and biology. I also tutored some remedial math and english courses.
No jobs other than teaching and medicine bring me everything I want in a career. I love to help others because I have benefited so much from others help in the past. My goal is to inspire a few other students to take up this job and give back as I have.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Make yourself obsolete to your students.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Get a feel for the student's strengths, weaknesses and learning style. Run through specific questions in weakest areas and improve student's skills.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Helping them learn to approach education from all angles. Drills, as well as critical thinking. Study habits, as well as goal setting and life plans. Show them how to best use the resources they have (the library, their fellow students, teachers, the Internet).
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Depends on what it is that's sapping their energy. A student needs ability, tools, and a reason. Sometimes, it's a question of access to learning materials. Sometimes, it's simply not knowing how to tackle a problem. Sometimes, it's a problem of goal orientation. Why would a student who wants to be a baker take a serious interest in physics? There's a time to creatively link subject matter to goals and time to move on to different subject matters.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Read with them. Show them how you analyze paragraphs. Repeat certain texts. Pick interesting subject matter.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Have a calm voice, honesty, persistence, and treat them like a peer instead of a client.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Diagrams. Notecards. Verbal quizzes. Compare note taking strategies. Walk them through step by step and over and over until they see the pattern of approach. Go back and forth between specific instructions and abstract methods until the student can see the subtle differences between questions of the same category.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Help them improve. Give the tools to do so on their own. If you are doing your job right, the first session will be more about drawing them out of their shell, and the last sessions will be more about answering whatever questions that have. They will be a bigger part of the dialogue towards the last sessions.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Meticulously. Sometimes students think they are weak in one area that are strong in and strong in one they are actually weak in. It's important to balance their own perceived needs with their actual needs. Go through the lessons they are in at school. Make sure they understand everything.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
You can usually tell within a session, or maybe two, what areas they are strong in. You can focus on the others ones. Usually students will tell you, "I already know this," and then you can confirm it. If they do, then move on. If they don't, explain them to why. The process is pretty organic. You'd have to actually try really hard to ignore their weakness and focus on their strengths. The natural thing is for students to ask for help or unknowingly signal they need help in one area or another.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Pen, paper and verbal communication. If a student responds better to a whiteboard, then I'll do that. I always have a laptop in case I need to reference some source on the Internet or to quickly type something up or look at a pre-written quiz I've made. I like to do verbal quizzes. It's a good way to make sure the student feels confident in an area. I use notecards a lot too if needed.