I am Kurtis Cruz, a University of Washington graduate with a BSc in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and former employee in the Department of Biology as well.
My primary goal is to use my enthusiasm for the arts and sciences to motivate my students. I seek to project an upbeat attitude when teaching any student and adjust my teaching to the students needs as needed.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Washington-Seattle Campus - Bachelors, Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology
Computer Science, Political Analysis, Research, Traveling
Basic Computer Literacy
High School Biology
High School English
High School Physics
High School Writing
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Writing
PC Basic Computer Skills
Study Skills and Organization
Technology and Computer Science
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
One of my goals of teaching is to use preventive and supportive behavior strategies more than corrective. I hope to achieve this by engaging lessons and clear expectations. Another goal I have for myself is to be objective to all students I teach.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Get a feel for how the student is doing in the subject in which they seek tutoring. Check which types of issues they may be having with the subject, and answer any questions they may have and work towards building a learning plan with clear goals and expectations for the session.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Provide students with opportunities to self-monitor, which depends on the two processes of establishing goals and receiving feedback from others and from oneself. You can encourage your students to self-monitor by helping them develop their use of self and peer assessment to see whether the strategies they were using were effective for achieving learning goals. At the same time, use questioning as scaffolding with the goal of gradual, step-by-step transfer of responsibility from the teacher to the student.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Two ways I would help a student stay motivated would be to give the student a sense of control and define the objectives. By allowing the student to define which objectives they feel they can achieve, they would be provided choice and control, which would help the student stay engaged. By defining the objectives, it will help the student stay both engaged and motivated to do their work.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would help a student with a difficult concept or skill by thoroughly going through the skills and concepts of which the student is having difficulty with to understand the background behind what is confusing the student. Once I understand what is causing the difficulty, I would build a lesson plan for the student.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
First, I would monitor their comprehension to learn what they do and do not understand, while at the same time using appropriate strategies to resolve problems in comprehension. In addition, I would give students a purpose for reading, focus students' attention on what they are to learn, help students to think actively as they read, and encourage students to monitor their comprehension.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Introduce myself, and briefly get to know the student by asking what interests them both educationally and personally. Then begin to discuss what subjects they like and dislike most and why.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Emphasize the importance of the subject in terms of long term career education and career goals. I would do this by briefly explaining the background of the subject and how it may play a role in your life.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Follow up questions and pop quizzes while working through either a lecture or a difficult subject.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I build student confidence in a subject by acknowledging the student's accomplishments and progress, setting clear goals before the tutoring, and creating opportunities for students to succeed by building on their strengths.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I evaluate a student's needs by gathering information about the student's strengths, interests, abilities, and psychological, social, and emotional development, over a period of time. This requires looking at how the student functions from many viewpoints and may be different for each student, depending upon their needs.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I adapt to a student's needs in many ways. Before the lesson, pre-teach difficult concepts, state objectives, provide study guides, worksheets, and outlines for the concept or skills being taught. In addition, during the lesson, I will provide instructions, explanations, and distinct steps as guidance. At the same time, provide visuals via the marker board or paper, have the student take notes, provide written tasks to check on progress throughout the lesson, and finally, have the student take their time and not feel rushed.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
For in-person tutoring materials, I would bring a tablet or laptop with internet access, any homework, assignment sheets, project outlines, or books that pertain to the lesson, a whiteboard, papers, and pencils and pens. For online tutoring, I would have the same materials while at the same time having the convenience of a pen tablet to write lessons on screen as well.