Throughout the course of my higher education experience I have tutored dozens of students, most frequently in writing, literature and arts. However, I have also tutored in mathematics and researched outside of my areas of expertise to assist a student struggling in a nursing program. I utilized both in person and online platforms to assist students and developed methods of teaching and learning that were tailored to each individuals interests, strengths and weaknesses.
In keeping with my philosophy, I believe that all students can learn and that when a student struggles with particular material that struggle is unique to the student and requires a carefully individualized approach using a variety of methods to help them overcome the barriers to learning that they face. There is no satisfaction greater than watching a student gain confidence in their abilities and succeed at their learning goals.
Task Accomplished and Skills Gained
- Discovery: Meet with each student to assess their learning needs and goals- to include a general discussion about what they think they know, personal learning style, and study habits. Brief interview with student to discuss life in general: their likes, dislikes, interests and dreams. This information can be used to connect difficult material and concepts to things the student already knows and understands.
- Community Interface: When available, work with course instructors for more precise guidance about specific assignment needs and student progress.
- Research: Assess existing graded work for further insight into student’s ability. Review available course syllabus, assignment rubrics and assigned materials.
- Design: a learning plan that fits the needs and schedules of the student. Incorporate current learning theories and strategies into the design. Utilize both face-to-face learning and online formats.
- Teach, Learn & Assess: Work with the student for a given time frame to increase their knowledge and confidence through timely and thorough feedback, continued discussion in subject area, short practice assignments and additional assigned reading.
- Empower: Provide student a framework to promote ownership of learning through the creation of a detailed agenda, and discuss options for better study habits.
- Work Across Cultural Barriers: Tutoring students from diverse cultures and varying abilities.
- Learning Plan Design: Researching and learning how to design an effective and flexible learning plan for students, with focus on students who are struggling and may need adaptive and flexible options. Research subject matter as needed,
- Teaching, Learning and Assessment: Working directly with a student, guided by an individualized learning plan, to include frequent assessment and student reflection.
- Time Management: Learning to adapt plans for students who often fit a non-traditional student model, i.e., non traditional students often fill the following roles, adult learners, full-time jobs, parents, students, etc.
Tutoring students requires infinite patience, creativity and enthusiasm, not only to assist the student in gaining knowledge but also to assist the student in gaining self-confidence and their own excitement for learning.
Additionally, non-traditional students require different supports than traditional students and the tutor must adapt to these variations. This can be a challenge so those seeking to work with this population should be cognizant of this.
Lastly, as much as a tutor may desire to see their student succeed, there is no guarantee. The teacher-student relationship requires an investment from both sides. Without this balance, the relationship is not likely to work. The tutor must understand that if you have given your best effort, but your student has not—you are not a failure, you have done your best. And that is the best we can hope to do.
I have learned a great deal about diversifying my approach to teaching and learning with students. I have learned to work more effectively across the boundaries of culture and the limitations of ability. I have learned to push myself and my students past what we thought we could do, what we thought we could achieve into the unchartered territory of possibility. And that is an incredible thing that I can aspire to in all of my future experiences.
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