I am currently a 4th grade teacher in Tucson. I have taught in 1st and 3rd also. Working one on one with students is something I wish I could do more often and joining the Varsity Tutors team seemed like the perfect opportunity. As a teacher I have experience is creating assessment questions and take great care in making sure my students don't just learn how to do it but also why they need to learn it. This way, they take pride of their own education. I look forward to working with you.
Q & A
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Giving them the tools to be able to teach themselves. I always have my students teach me what they have learned and teach someone around them. Doing this not only helps them retain the information they have learned but also helps them think like a teacher when they learn something new, when it comes to important details.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Frequent breaks are needed for a lot of students. Taking a minute to focus on something else, or even meditate, extends the amount of time you can focus on what you are learning.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I really try and take about 5 steps back. This does not just give the student more time to think but also helps them to remember what they do know about that concept. This works especially well in math when the topics get more complicated. If you cannot recite each step, then you are missing something important you need to review.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Shorten the passage. If you try too much too soon you are going to lose the student. Start with something short and ask very basic and simple questions, and then get into the more detail oriented.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I find using manipulatives helps a lot with students struggling to understand a concept on paper. Another strategy is finding ways to relate the topic you are teaching to something the student is interested in. For instance, fractions and pizza are the best combination I have used to teach students about this complicated topic.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that school is like a career: there is no way you will be able to understand everything at first, but you are responsible for giving it your best try every time!
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session, I would want to get to know the students (and parents) to assess where we need to start and where they would like their end goal to be.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
The best way I know to get students engaged is to figure out what their goals are and show them how being successful in this area could help them achieve that goal.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I always have students teach me the material. I would give them a problem, and their job would be to make sure I understand how to do it. I would also use short assessments throughout the lesson, such as discussions and 5-question assessments to keep us on track.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Once a student understands a concept, I make sure to give them multiple problems and questions that are similar. Then, I have them teach it to me, and then teach it to one other person such as a parent or their teacher.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Depending on the subject, I like to work closely with the parents to see where they are in school and where they see their child struggling. I have multiple reading/comprehension pre-assessments to tell me where the student is struggling. I also have math assessment questions to tell me what subjects they need help with.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Especially after the first session, I can tell what tools will help a student. For some students, they may need manipulatives, for others they may need to be able to draw it out. It is a process, but once we find what works for a student, they will never forget it!
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
For math, I have all kinds of manipulatives including flats, rods and singles, fraction blocks, school money, and more to help with various math problems. I also have access to passages that include comprehension questions and word identifying activities.