I’m a retired Air Force officer and K-12 substitute teacher in Southern Minnesota. I’m a graduate of Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Systems Engineering and have worked a wide variety of jobs in my career. As a tutor, I see my strength as being a good listener; this helps me better understand the students’ difficulties in learning and together with the student develop methods better suited to their individual learning style.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Arizona State University - Bachelors, Computer Systems Engineering
Video gaming, car restoration, cooking, alternative music, science fiction, history, world religion
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Because each student's learning methods are unique, I believe teaching is most effective when tailored to meet the individual needs of that student. There is rarely a one-size-fits-all solution to learning.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Part of personalized learning is getting to know the student. I like to devote time to getting to know the student and developing a rapport with them.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By helping the student recognize his or her own strengths and abilities, they can seek a more effective approach to learning the material at hand. Understanding the method through which the student learns best will allow them to absorb new material more efficiently.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Remind them that it's good to occasionally take some time to rest on their laurels and pat themselves on the back. Point out successful individuals they can use as examples. Help them visualize possible outcomes of their hard work.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Explore with the student the point at which their learning breaks down, and then find alternate ways to explain the concept, perhaps through analogy, personal experience, or through other knowledge they're already familiar with.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I remind them that reading slowly is nothing to be ashamed of -- it's better to understand the material than get through it quickly. I tell them to take the time to look up words they don't understand, and when they reach the end of a paragraph, ask themselves to paraphrase it in their head.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
First, develop rapport. Second, identify the student's main area of difficulty. Third, discover the learning method that works best for the student.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Find a bridge between things they are enthused about and the subjects they aren't. Oftentimes, students aren't aware of the many ways subjects are linked. Once they see the connections, they often show much more interest.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Have them paraphrase concepts back to me. Have them work evaluation problems.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Acknowledge their hard work and praise them. Have them work problems within their comfort zone and gradually add new material until they fully understand it. The more they understand, the more confidence they have.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Talking with students after I've built rapport often reveals their difficulties with the material. Sometimes, looking at their prior work indicates trouble areas; sometimes talking with them about the material reveals their needs.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Understanding each student's unique learning style is critical. I try to translate the material to fit that style.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Often just pen and paper or whiteboard. Sometimes, internet-based learning resources if available.