In the past, I was a Graduate Teaching Fellow in the Political Science Department at the University of Oregon. I conducted classes and discussion sections, graded undergraduate essay tests and term papers, and worked with some students on an individual basis.
I have spent the past couple of decades in sales. During my sales career, I have worked with individuals from all walks of life. Often, I am asked by other salespeople for assistance and advice, and have been asked to train a number of newer sales associates.
My approach to teaching and tutoring is to get the student to interact with me, as in more of a discussion versus a one-way lecture. My first and immediate goal is to build rapport with the student and develop a high level of mutual trust and respect. I look for multiple approaches to learning when possible, as learning can occur from visual, auditory and sensory cues. I have also personally studied how the brain actually learns, and have used this knowledge to better my own personal knowledge and skills.
My belief is that an interaction with the student provides the best avenue of learning for the student. Mistakes and errors on the part of the student are great learning tools, and provide a basis to start a discussion that leads to learning. Whenever possible, I attempt to motivate the student towards learning the subject at hand by explaining how such knowledge will benefit that student in their own personal life. And patience is a must for successful learning!
Learning requires work and effort. I attempt to make the task of learning easier by helping to motivate the student, and by helping the student overcome any anxieties they may have toward the subject at hand. I also attempt to make the learning process more enjoyable whenever possible.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Oregon - Bachelors, Political Science and Government
International Relations, U.S. Foreign Policy, Russian Politics and Foreign Policy, Russian and East European Cultures, Domestic Politics, US Economics, History, Languages (especially Russian), Cooking, Hiking, Gardening, and Gold Prospecting.
College Political Science
High School English
High School Level American History
High School Political Science
High School World History
High School Writing
Middle School Writing
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
There are many approaches to learning different subjects. By interacting with the student (versus lecturing), it is easier to determine which approach will work best for a particular student. One of the best approaches to learning is for the tutor/teacher to help the student arrive at the correct answers or results on their own, versus having the answers given to the student.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First and foremost, develop rapport! In sales, we say "People buy from salespeople they like and trust." I believe that same principle applies to a tutor/student relationship. The student's "like" will come from my friendly approach and attitude. The student's "trust" will come from the demonstration of my knowledge.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By teaching them how to learn, and by giving them the motivation to learn. There are many methods of learning. The key is finding which methods work best for a particular student. And a student becomes motivated by understanding the value of learning the subject at hand.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By talking with and reminding the student from time to time about the value of learning the subject at hand.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
By looking for different approaches to learning that skill or concept. And of course, patience is always required for achieving success.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
By patiently having the student read and re-read the text as needed, until that student gains a high level of comprehension of that text. This involves discussion. When necessary, have the student read one sentence at a time, and then discuss what that sentence is saying. At the end of a paragraph, discuss with the student what the entire paragraph is saying. And finally, tie all of the paragraphs together and discuss what the message of the entire article is.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Get the student involved in some way. When I ran US Foreign Policy discussion classes, I developed a simulation in which the students played the roles of various officials involved in a foreign policy crisis. When training new sales associates various tasks and sales skills, the fastest and best method was to have the new associate actually attempt that task as I patiently stood by them to correct and assist them as necessary. I also want to stress that "errors" and "mistakes" are very useful at this stage, as they are great learning opportunities!
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
By explaining how learning that subject will benefit that student. Example: If a student isn't excited about learning proper sentence structure, punctuation, etc., point out how successful people have a high level of English skills. Also explain how having a high level of English skills will give that student more power to influence other people.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Discussion and practice are techniques that help lead to understanding the material at hand.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
By praising a student whenever they are successful or give a correct answer, and by being patient and understanding whenever a student gives an incorrect answer or fails to achieve success at first. Giving constant encouragement to the student also helps to build a student's confidence in a subject.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
By asking relevant questions of the student at first to discover their needs. In sales, we call this process "qualifying." In order to find a solution to an individual's needs, the tutor/teacher must first discover what those needs are. The best and quickest method of determining their needs is through discussion and by asking questions.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
By first determining what those needs are. This is done through discussion and by asking questions of the student. Once those needs are identified, different methods and approaches can be considered for adapting to that particular student's needs.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
That depends on the subject of what is being taught or studied. Using audio and visual tools when possible is extremely helpful.