My old middle school teacher Mr. Sorbi used to always tell me "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink." And I truly see now what he meant by that. It is one of those quotes that I live by because in all essence of its meaning, it holds true.
I started my educational endeavors late in middle school, before eighth grade I lacked motivation to truly do well in school. I started out in gifted, completing pre-Algebra in sixth grade. However, due to my lack in motivation, I was moved down when I entered seventh grade. I repeated a lower level pre-Algebra course in seventh grade, and when I went on to eighth grade they still insisted I stick to pre-Algebra. Mr. Sorbi saw the potential in me. Seeing that I was bored out of my mind in pre-Algebra, so he moved me to his Algebra 1 class. It was one of those moments where I really started appreciating education because he had faith in me.
Ever since that year, I started taking education more seriously. I joined the International Baccalaureate Program in high school, and four years later walked out with a lucrative diploma. Currently, I am attending Florida Atlantic University (Boca Raton Campus) majoring in Computer Engineering.
It is that motivation I gained from Mr. Sorbi that I would like to instill upon students today. Even though I aim to be a computer engineer one day, I love helping students realize they have so much untapped potential. I feel fulfilled when I can motivate others to learn.
My teaching philosophy is very reflective upon my introductory quote. I feel as though students are most effectively learning when they are capable of teaching themselves with a guide (or mentor). And even though not all students learn that way I aspire to simplify the process of topics so that my own students may feel confident in approaching the course. Just as Mr. Sorbi believed in me, I wish to place my faith in my students and give them the confidence because I know they will succeed so long as I never give up on them.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Florida Atlantic University - Current Undergrad, Computer Engineering
Learning, Football (American), Basketball, Video Games, and Relaxing!
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is very straightforward. I like to first understand the perception of my students, what they desire to accomplish, and their goals in working with me. I believe that the most effective way of teaching is to help strengthen foundations as a guide and let students find their own conclusions. Learning hands first will allow students to remember the topics in greater detail and master the infrastructure of concepts.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session with a student, I would like to establish a friendly learning atmosphere. I would like to briefly know about them as students. Then I would proceed to identify their goals, and how I could help them achieve it.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Helping a student become an independent learner can be done through two approaches. First is to help the student feel comfortable enough with the subject; that they are excited to explore further. Second is to motivate them to work harder so they can surpass their own expectations. However, if a student truly enjoys a certain topic, they will eventually become an independent learner.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation generally comes from within. However, I believe we are all motivated, more or less. If I were to help a student stay motivated, I would show them the joy in taking pride in learning. Knowledge may seem difficult to attain. Once earned, the satisfaction of being able to grasp it will lead to more endeavors.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
An effective way to help a student understand a skill is through repetition. Skill is gained through repetition alone. Concept on the other hand may be tricky to grasp, however, once simplified to the core, it becomes much more natural to understand the topic as a whole in the grand scheme of things.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension is done through the ability to focus on a certain portion of the paragraphs and analyze it effectively. This can be done through utilizing your brain to remember certain acronyms or techniques that can bolster comprehension. Some people work by domino logic (an action has to take place or something has to be said for that person to understand). That sort of logic I possess as someone who has experienced programming. The strongest way I may be able to help in reading comprehension is to break down the sentences in a way where we can find the focal point for further investigation.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I've always praised the idea of having the students self learn while I guide them through. Personally, I find this very effective, because research shows that information is retained far better when you are learning on your own. I do understand that not everyone is able to instantly realize concepts. That's why it is absolutely imperative for myself to help simplify topics for students, so that I may be able to advise them into making informed conclusions.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Simple answer: the more difficult the topic, the more satisfaction from attaining knowledge. Almost everyone feels this way; what's the use in relearning a topic you've already mastered? As a student, your responsibility is to strengthen your academic weaknesses. I believe if I can help them see the thrill in becoming a more well rounded scholar, it'll naturally motivate them to take on their struggling courses.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
In terms of mathematics, repetition is key. Constant exposure to strong math problems -- enough until the student experiences perfect (or near perfect) results. In terms of other courses, memorization along with repetition helps. For example, in Biology, I would advise my student to repeatedly memorize certain concepts until it became second nature.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
The confidence is built through exposure and success. Constant exposure to topics will generate more success (even if slow), and this sort of familiarity instills confidence upon the learner. Initially as a student, I was very much afraid of Calculus and higher mathematics. At this point in my academic career, I've been exposed to so much difficult mind numbing problems that it no longer affects my confidence. Even though I haven't fully mastered some concepts, I'm much more unrestricted to my approach.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
A student's needs can be evaluated partially through their desires. Their needs also come from what they are trying to aim towards. Do they simply want to pass a certain class? Or are they looking to comprehensively understand the foundation of a certain topic for the sake of knowledge? Both approaches are different. One can be done through effective shortcuts in technique that will get the answer correct. The latter requires a depth of knowledge that can be done through repeated practice and open minded approach to learning. An analogy to this would be the ways to solve a derivative: 1.) using shortcut methods or 2.) definition of a derivative (using limits). Choice 1 is just as effective in getting the same answer as choice 2, but choice 2 requires more information on the topic. That is one way I believe we as tutors may be able to identify and evaluate a student's needs.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Some students retain information differently, and as a teacher we are responsible for making sure we can effectively transfer knowledge. Occasionally there will be a point where we the tutor has to adapt our style in order to suffice for our student's needs. Some students need a simpler method, and others need a more conceptualized approach. Both of them require the teacher to be flexible, trying to accomplish passing off knowledge to students.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Paper and pencil, as traditional as they are, I find them not as enjoyable. I will use an Expo marker-friendly board with eraser to convey information in a more neat fashion. Utilizing paper and pencil can be a necessity for worksheets or smaller assignments, but for explaining concepts, I believe a board is more appropriate.