Teaching is more than a profession; it is a vocation, a calling. One cannot profess to teach, but must live to teach, and insofar as we strive to live a fulfilling life, those of us who teach have been summoned to it. More specifically, perhaps, we have been called to learn. It is in this sense that learning has been my business throughout life. It is my passion. This enthusiasm for learning is what drives my teaching, and what I strive to communicate with each student I encounter.
When students seek a tutor, they generally do it because they lack confidence or feel weak in a particular subject. Rare are the students that go in with a preexisting sense of excitement for the topics that give them such trouble. It is for the student that I reserve my enthusiasm as a motivating force. I believe this is reserved not only for the material the student is learning, but further, for the learning the student does about herself and her own strengths. Teaching a student to utilize her own talents to overcome the obstacles of learning a difficult topic is the primary pleasure I derive from teaching. So you see, I come to you as a selfish candidate: I want to teach your student.
My experience in teaching and tutoring comes from 3 years of teaching Introduction to Philosophy at Villanova University, in addition to a year of serving as a seminar leader there and one more year of tutoring in the writing center. As an adjunct instructor, I taught a survey course to classes of 35 students from a wide range of disciplines in a writing-intensive format. In these classes and in my tutoring, I emphasize close-reading of primary texts, and work closely with my students to develop their thoughts both orally and in all phases of the writing process. My job as a seminar leader was primarily to foster discussion, during which time a student can learn to express his thoughts about a given reading in a less structured fashion, encouraging critical thinking skills that are necessary for further development in written, or in test, form. Finally, as a tutor in the writing center I worked with students who came to me with all phases of writing, from "I have no idea what to write" to "can you just help me with grammar?" What is most important to me is pinpointing where a student's interest lies; her work will always be more successful if she cares about it. My job, as a tutor, is to figure out what, how, and why you care about what you are learning.
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