I am a Cornell Freshman studying Biomedical Engineering. With 2 years of paid and 5 years of volunteer tutoring under my belt, I have learned that patience, compassion, flexibility, and creativity are necessary to help a student succeed in a variety of subjects. Even more importantly, I'm confident that I can help students not just with one topic or class, but give them the skills to achieve high results on their own and in the future.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Cornell University - Bachelor of Science, Biological Engineering
SAT Verbal: 750
SAT Writing: 730
Running, Summer Research, Yoga, Volleyball
10th Grade Reading
10th Grade Writing
11th Grade Reading
11th Grade Writing
AP US History
College Level American History
College World History
High School Biology
High School English
High School Level American History
High School Physics
High School World History
High School Writing
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe one thing wrong with today's educational systems is that students focus too much on the short terms goals - memorizing information just for the next test, rushing through homework just to get a good grade for that assignment, cramming just to pass a 3 hour AP or regents, etc. I hope to teach students to gain knowledge and confidence in a subject, not just short-term memorization, and walk away with lifelong test-taking, learning, and study tools.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Many students don't know exactly what they want from a tutoring session when they begin (I know I didn't). I would talk to the student about general areas of trouble, and then spend that first session going over a variety of question styles, topics, getting to know them, and generally making the student feel comfortable discussing anything about the class or subject.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
The goal isn't for the tutor and students to just have great sessions. The tutors I've learned the most from were the ones who helped me with specific information/topics/questions styles, but also left me with the confidence and ability to take tests and do assignments better on my own as well. I want to help students in the hour we are together and leave them with the skills to succeed, regardless of whether I am in the room.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
While grades are very objective, any student becomes more optimistic when seeing better results. I would break down every test and assignment. Did they get more vocabulary questions right than normal? Was their free response section score a few points higher? Did they get a certain type of math question correct that they used to struggle with? I also always make a point of telling students how much their hard work matters. Maybe they spaced their studying out for the first time, or completed all their homework for the week. These little victories make all the difference.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
With a time crunch to finish the curriculum, teachers don't have adequate time to delve as deeply into every topic as a student might need. I would use a variety of strategies to find the student's best learning style. I, personally, learn best from graphs, charts, and other visuals. Some student like mnemonic devices, analogies, or just creative ways of explaining the same concept. When you just keep trying to explain or do the same thing in the same way, that's when you stop seeing results. My signature phrase is "OK, let me try this a different way."
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Large passages are always intimidating, even for the most seasoned reader or test taker. It's easier for students to break them down into sections and focus on only specific sentences or paragraphs at a time. Previewing the questions can also alleviate stress, because the student knows what to look for in the reading.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Recall is the best way to ensure you know the material. If we just discussed a certain topic, I would ask the student to explain it back to me as if they were the teacher. Doing practice questions from that topic would also solidify the information.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
The most important thing for a teacher or tutor to have is a variety of techniques and ways of explaining information. While certain topics and concepts may never change, the way you explain them has to be flexible. Whether a student is more of a visual learner, gets better results doing questions or practice tests, or just needs a different point of view or creative explanation, adapting to their learning style will benefit both the tutor and the student.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Textbooks can be very lengthy and usually only provide information in a finite set of ways. Review books can be very helpful in giving more concise information, and also for providing charts, graphs, and diagrams. Flashcards can also be helpful for vocabulary words and key terms. I like to use practice questions for each section, and towards the end of a topic, practice tests/quizzes can help ensure confidence in an area.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Getting a good overview of the student's current level is always important. By looking at test grades, averages, and specific sections, as well as types of questions and topics the students has had trouble with so far, you can get a good idea of where to begin. I also usually like to ask how the student feels in the classroom, and what they feel helps or hinders them most.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Not everyone loves every class they have to take. Applying a subject the student might not be crazy about to something they are interested in may help them get motivated. Even a subject they are struggling in can become more interesting if the student gains confidence in it and sees a way it can be applied in real life.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Celebrating small successes is very important. No one's average will just go up 10 points in a day, but even something like doing a new problem on their own for the first time can give a student the confidence boost they often need.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Students may struggle with different things-- specific information, the types of questions, timing, the way the material is taught. Trying out different variations of learning styles and practice questions of different styles and topics can give a good idea of which specific areas a student needs the most help in.