A photo of Samantha, a tutor from Texas State University-San Marcos

Samantha

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As a teacher, I believe in teaching children and young adults how to think for themselves through critical thinking and knowledge of the liberal arts. When it comes to education and pedagogy, I follow the philosophical traditions of Plato and Aristotle. While acquiring my Master's Degree in Philosophy from Texas State, I learned and thought a lot about pedagogy and the best way to communicate and interact with students. My unique education background allows me to take a different perspective in teaching kids, and this is often what is needed.
Throughout my higher learning I have both struggled and been successful. I think the struggles I faced academically and overcoming them gives me unique insight in helping students, and that's why I'm passionate about teaching them.

Samantha’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Texas State University-San Marcos - Bachelors, Political Science and Government

Graduate Degree: Texas State University-San Marcos - Masters, Philosophy

Hobbies

I enjoy reading, cooking, baking, dancing, and crafting.

Tutoring Subjects

American Literature

College English

College Level American Literature

Conversational German

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Writing

English

Essay Editing

German

German 1

German 2

German 3

German 4

High School English

High School Level American Literature

High School Writing

Languages

Middle School Reading

Middle School Reading Comprehension

Middle School Writing

Philosophical Ethics

Public Speaking


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I enjoy teaching through discussion and debate! I particularly value the Socratic Method of teaching, and I believe that students have the opportunity to teach me as well!

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

Introduce myself and get to know the student's hobbies and interests. Then, I will try to apply those interests to the subject at hand. After discussing with the student what areas they struggle in the most, I try to show how their interests are relevant to the subject I am trying to teach.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Engaging students in critical thinking and argument structure can greatly help students to decipher between relevant and irrelevant information, as well as distinguish when there is insufficient evidence for any claim.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Using Carol Dweck's "The Growth Mindset" framework is very beneficial for keeping students motivated because it rewards students based on effort, rather than on having the correct answer.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

It depends on the age of the child, but generally I try to target the precise area that needs improvement, and engage in thinking exercises or thought experiments that will help them to reorient the information they are trying to learn.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

Try to have the student read consciously, critically, and actively, rather than passively. I particularly focus on structure because it is often overlooked, but examining a piece on its structure first can generate higher levels of thought, insightful claims, and precision.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

First, I try to relate to the student. Then I try to appeal to several different learning types and styles. Then I try to combine the two: I try to use a learning style they are familiar with to show them how what they are learning is relevant to their lives. Once I find out which strategy works best for the student, I try to find new applications of it.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

The best way to motivate a student is to show them how what they are learning is useful to them. While this seems difficult on the surface, students come to this conclusion naturally when you ask them the right questions.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I would have the student write their own question or have them provide a concrete, made up example that demonstrates using the process they've just learned about.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Focus on effort, rather than being correct. This way the student is more equipped to answer difficult questions, and won't give up easily. Moreover, it grounds the student's self-esteem in effort, rather than their ability to get the right answer.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Talk to them! Students can't tell you exactly what they need because they aren't sure or don't have the language skills to describe why they're having problems. Asking them a series of questions can give a lot of insight as to why the student is struggling.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

Being flexible to adapt to the student's needs is always best. Whether this be using a variety of teaching styles, changing teaching styles, or doing research to find more resources, being flexible is a must.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

Anything available to me! While I mostly focus on discussion with the student, visual aids, music, mnemonics, examples, and thought experiments are tools I use.