I am Devin and I am excited about the opportunity that I have been given to join Varsity Tutor as a tutor. Currently I am a Special Education Teacher for middle school students in NE Washington DC. I am committed to creating innovative ways for our clients to ensure that mastery takes place in our sessions through interactive lessons.
My story begins in high school when I was assigned to complete my mandatory volunteer hours at an after school program in Washington DC. Here I gained my first experience tutoring younger students in various subjects such as Math, Language Arts, Reading and etc. I gained a passion that year in reinforcing taught materials to those students and continued to volunteer there even after reaching my 120 hours of community service that were needed to complete graduations requirements.
From high school, I went on to study Elementary and Middle School education at Howard and obtain my diploma from there. While at Howard, I obtained my first education job as a teacher's assistant, and arithmetic/fluency interventionist for a public charter school working with students between the ages of 5-13 years old. For the past 10 years, I have worked professionally in a school setting and have enjoyed every minute of it.
Outside of tutoring/work, I enjoy playing baseball, basketball, chess, football, and video games. I believe it is important to be active to help release the stress of everyday life. Being active also helps with building confidence, and social skills needed to be a well rounded individual.
As a varsity tutor, rest assured that I will always give 100% effort in helping to achieve clients goals. I will try to be innovative, energetic, show patience and present material as clearly as possible. I believe that all students can learn it's just up to us as educators to figure out a way to help them. My motto is quality not quantity, show keeping it simple is the best way to go.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Howard University - Bachelors, Elementary/Middle School Education
Baseball,basketball, chess, football, writing, acting, video games
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that every student can learn due to that fact that no two students learn the same. It is up to us as educators to find a way to help students utilize their strengths and create ways to get them engaged and help them be successful.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first session will be an ice-breaking, rapport building session. For most of the session, depending on age of client, we will play educational games, and fill out a sheet outlining our likes/dislikes, hobbies, favorite items and etc. Towards the end, we will lightly tackle the objective that we will be working on.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I will help a student stay motivated by presenting my teaching techniques in various ways. Instead of lecturing techniques all the time, I would use technology at times to help reinforce the lessons. We would also play games that would be related to the concept being taught. Depending on age, the student would be able to earn incentives, like a brief free time or stickers.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student has difficulty learning a concept, I would see if the student grasped a simpler concept that was taught before this concept. I would also model using the "I do, we do, you do" method to see if this produces success. I would incorporate an alternative method via games if necessary. We would keep trying until the student learns the concept. If the student becomes frustrated, we will move on to something a little easier and come back to the concept at a later time.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I help students by helping them identify various parts of what they're reading. First we will try to locate the main idea of the literature. Next we will identify supporting details to help illustrate what the main idea is trying to tell us. We will highlight unfamiliar words and look them up to help with comprehending the passage.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
When I first start working with a student, the most successful strategy that I have found is building rapport with the students. I don't believe that tackling concepts during the first session is effective, rather easing into the work at hand at perhaps the end of the first session. I would want to get a grasp on the student's strengths and weaknesses to help navigate my approach on how I can be effective with this student.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would help the student get excited by implementing alternative teaching methods to whatever the concept is. Also, my body language, tone, patience, and excitement will be consistent. I would want the student to be confident and to know to try their very best. It may take time, but with innovation and enthusiasm, I can get the student engaged.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
By following the teaching technique of "I do, we do, you do," this will help me get an idea if the student is understanding the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I would be as positive as I can be. I would highlight to the student any success that he/she accomplished while working on the concept through positive reinforcement and verbal praise.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I would need to have a conversation with parents, my supervisors, and the student's teachers to create a evaluation on the student's needs. If everyone is on the same page, I believe that the sessions would be a lot more effective.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
One thing I've learned is that no two students are alike. With that being said, I would tutor students with one technique. I would have to get an idea of the student's strength and weaknesses. Some students may be visual, so I would tackle concepts more visually, like using a whiteboard or examples on paper. Some may be more kinesthetic, so I would create more hands-on activities. Depending on the needs and strengths of the student, I would adapt.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I would have a white board, computer, markers, colored pencils, and paper whenever I am tutoring a student.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I would implement the "I do, we do, you do" method. When working on a concept, I will complete an example showing the student the process. Then we would tackle the next problem together, showing the process. Finally, I would have the student complete a problem independently to see if mastery has taken place. If it has, we would redo the technique.