I have decided to tell you about my experience and interest in tutoring through a personal letter. After all, tutoring is about the personal, one-on-one experience that someone can have when they work a tutor who truly strives to understand his or her learning goals or needs.
I have been tutoring on and off since 1997. I have worked in writing centers for both a community college and a university. I’ve done freelance tutoring, and I’ve also tutored ESL students abroad in South Korea and here in the United States as well. In fact, the majority of my students through WyzAnt have been ones seeking help to improve their English through pronunciation and listening and also through grammar and vocabulary.
Despite the environment or a student's level of English proficiency, my approach is always the same for each tutoring session — to identify the primary learning concern that a student has by listening to a student's description of this concern, to thoroughly explain how to handle this concern by offering approaches and specific examples to the student, and to make sure that a student understands how to address this learning concern on their own before we end a tutorial session.
One of my favorite things about tutoring is that it enables me to devote special attention to certain students who might not get such specialized attention in a classroom full of students who learn at different speeds and have various learning styles. Although it is important to me that I establish a comfortable and trusting relationship with my students, it is equally important to me that I challenge them to think for themselves.
In my opinion, as an educator, I find that students learn best when their opinions are nurtured because this encourages them to open up with questions that help to better target where their key learning concerns reside. My goal as a tutor then is to make sure that my students are able to walk away from our sessions feeling confident that they can handle the speaking, vocabulary, or grammar concerns that they originally had trouble with. Therefore, before a tutorial session ends, a student must show me that they understand how to handle their original writing concern rather than just saying that they can.
So, the following are some approaches that I use whenever I work with a student:
- One golden rule I reinforce throughout my sessions with students is that they must do the work. To effectively enforce this, I make sure that they are the ones holding the pen or pencil. In my experience, students become disengaged when they are not the ones holding the writing instrument. They must be poised and ready to show me what they have been learning at any point during our session.
- Another learning tactic that I use with students is something I like to phrase as explanations in the form of questions. I find that by offering my students explanations to their learning concerns in the form of questions gets students talking and thinking about how to handle these concerns on their own, long after our session ends - and that’s really the point of teaching in any form. A good tutor should strive to get their students to think on their own so that this fosters confidence in them to independently tackle future speaking, vocabulary, and grammar issues.
- I firmly believe that students should never become dependent upon their tutors to “fix” their learning concerns. Again, the point of a healthy tutor-student relationship is that a student learns how to identify and then independently address these particular concerns long after each tutorial session ends. I strive to help students target and understand their struggles with learning and then move forward to nurture that recognition with them through learning approaches that are tailored to their individual learning interests and abilities.
- A third tactic that I use with my students is to have them provide me with written or verbalized examples of something that we have covered in our current session. I try to do this with each significant learning concept that is covered before we move on to a new one. This way, any roadblocks with regard to understanding an overall issue will be addressed, and students will be able to see their own language skills developing.
- I also talk about what we will cover for each session before the actual session begins. This way, I will have a basic agenda to follow that will make the most of our time. After each session, I make sure to post a descriptive rundown of each session in WyzAnt's lesson response section. This way, my students can verify what we have covered, remind themselves of what they need to work on until our next session, and they can additionally remind themselves about the materials or homework that they will need to complete and bring for our next session.
Another reason that I love tutoring is for the unique array of learning concerns that I am approached with, which can range from ESL language concerns to creative writing concerns. As my resume indicates, I also have experience working as a composition and creative writing instructor. I love working with students who come from various academic and personal backgrounds. I strive to be sensitive to different learning abilities and delight in helping to hone students’ skills while enabling them to acquire new ones.
In short, I’m a dedicated tutor who loves to empower students to tackle their learning concerns so that they can think and learn more independently.
I’m very much looking forward to working with you!
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