As a recent Macalester College graduate with a full time day job, I'm finding that I miss my part time tutoring jobs I held throughout college and high school. School has always been fun for me - I enjoy learning and teaching others as well. Hoping to be able to help others grow in their education in my free time.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Everyone has a unique, individual learning style. Teaching has to be modified to meet that style.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Take time to create trust right from the start - get to know each other, ask the student what he/she likes to do, etc. Take time away from tutoring the first session to make sure the connection is there that is necessary for the student to be comfortable and able to learn.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Don't do a student's work for him/her. Guide the student toward the correct problem-solving skills and strategies so that, little by little, they progress until they no longer need assistance.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Find out what the student likes -- come up with a personalized motivator, whether that be stickers to earn for little kids or a movie ticket for older kids. Let the student pick what they want to earn and make them work for it.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Take a step back to make sure we create a solid foundation on which to learn the desired skill or concept. If the student becomes frustrated, slow it down and make it fun.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I did a lot of work with students needing support with reading comprehension. The most important thing with comprehension is to consistently monitor the student's reading and then ask questions and creating summaries regarding what they've read.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I have found that no two students learn exactly the same way, regardless of if the desired end goal is the same. That being said, when beginning to work with students, I try to go in with an open mind and a couple of different approaches to the same content. This way, if the first attempt approach is not meeting the student's energy and persona, I can quickly change direction and come at the curriculum from a different direction. Finding out what the student likes, what their personality is like, and what their goals are significant factors that will determine the tone of the sessions.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
The best way that I have found to determine if a student is ready to move on is to question them on the subject matter covered. This is something of an informal exam. Ask two or three questions that get at the gestalt of the curriculum, and if the student can answer the questions accurately and easily, they are ready to move on. Sometimes, it can be helpful to review the information after a little time as well. This will determine if the information is sticking for the student. Some students struggle with comprehension. If this is the issue, the curriculum should take a backseat, and development comprehension techniques and rhythms should become the focus.