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Spencer

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I am a Biochemistry pre-medicine student at the University of Texas.

I am very passionate about science and math, subsequently, I frequently tutor in these subjects. My approach to tutoring these subjects is to allow the student to fully comprehend the logic behind the concepts. In order to do this, I frequently use pictures, diagrams, models, and physical representation of the process at hand. Allowing the student to visualize the process gives them a greater ability to understand problems related to it. This approach is especially useful in science and math because they are subjects describing the phenomena of the physical world! Allowing the student to see the process which they are learning always proves beneficial to overall comprehension.

When I'm not tutoring or studying, I love to scuba dive and enjoy some of the great outdoor activities Austin has to offer!

Spencer’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: The University of Texas at Austin - Current Undergrad, Biochemistry

Test Scores

SAT Math: 730

Hobbies

I am passionate about all things science! I love reading scientific articles and doing research in the lab I am a part of. I am also an avid scuba diver. I am a certified Divemaster and have completed over 100 dives around North America. I also enjoy hiking, swimming, and documentaries.

Tutoring Subjects

ACT Prep

Algebra

Algebra 2

AP Biology

Biology

Chemistry

College Biology

Elementary School Math

High School Biology

High School Chemistry

Math

Middle School Math

Pre-Algebra

Pre-Calculus

SAT Prep

SAT Math

Science

Test Prep


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe teaching is most effective when students can conceptualize the processes at hand. I have achieved the best teaching results by using pictures, diagrams, and physical representations of science and math concepts. This allows the student to understand the question instead of simply memorizing the process.

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

In a typical first session I will try to get to know the student and allow him/her to become familiar with me. Building a relationship between tutor and student is vital to the success of the tutoring. It is easier to learn something from someone you know than a stranger!

How would you help a student stay motivated?

To help a student stay motivated, I would remind him/her of the goals set out beforehand. I would offer encouragement and guidance through more difficult concepts. If a concept proved to be challenging and discouraged the student, I would take a break from that specific concept and cover it later with a different approach.

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

When a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, I would approach this concept from many different angles. This is where using pictures, diagrams, and physical representations becomes key. By approaching the concept from multiple angles, the student will get a more robust and complete understanding of the concept.

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

To help students struggling with reading comprehension, I always first go over new vocabulary in the reading. Once the student is familiar with all of the vocabulary, we will take the reading one sentence at a time, not moving to the next sentence until the previous one is understood.

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

The strategies I find most successful, especially in science and math, are visual representations. This includes pictures, diagrams and physical representations. A good example of this is using balloons to explain the ideal gas law. This visualization allows the student to see the process described by the relatively complex equation. Once the student can visualize the process, the equation and concept becomes much easier to comprehend.

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

Engaged and excited students make for the best students. It is the job of the tutor and teacher to make sure a student stays engaged. This is where background information and facts can be especially useful! To have a student view a subject as interesting causes them to be engaged and focused while learning. Interesting information pertaining to that subject always helps.

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

To be sure a student understand the material, first I would have them explain the material to me from memory. After that, I would use practice problems to allow the student more chances to work with the material.

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

A student must feel comfortable with a subject to have confidence. This is where I come in! I would use all the methods previously listed (like visual representations and repetition from memory) to ensure a complete understanding of the subject. Once I see that the student understands, I will offer him/her practice problems they can work so they can see for themselves that they understand the material. Confidence in a subject comes from understanding.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

To evaluate a student's needs, I would first ask them what they feel uncomfortable with. If desired by the student, I can also look at previous exams and quizzes to see what concepts they struggle with. Another great way to evaluate a student's needs is to give them a broad quiz. This will pinpoint the trouble areas and allow for more effective tutoring.

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

Each student learns differently. Some students learn better visually, some learn by repetition and so on. As an effective tutor, I can adapt my teaching style to each student. If a student learns by repetition, flashcards are a great method. If a student learns visually, models and diagrams are the most effective. I am able to adapt because of the many methods of tutoring I am familiar with.

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

The materials I use depend on the student. I will almost always use practice quizzes, but depending on the student, I might use textbooks, models, diagrams, flashcards, conversation, and other methods.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Independent learning is key, because a tutor or teacher won't always be available! To teach a student to learn independently, I will introduce them to a variety of different methods of learning. After being introduced to the methods, the student may choose the method they prefer and apply it to their independent learning.