My name is Stephanie M., and I am a 24-year-old female who loves reading, writing, and math. I was the valedictorian of my high school class and graduated from Rice University in May of 2011 with bachelor's degrees in mathematics, English, and French Studies. I currently reside in the beautiful state of Washington.
I've been tutoring students for years, starting in high school as part of the National Honor Society and as the president of our school's literary club, Writers' Circle. As a member of NHS, I scheduled tutoring sessions before and after school in math and French to help fellow high school students who were struggling in those subjects. In Writers' Circle, I worked with high school students who wanted to learn more about creative writing. I also often tutored informally: I was the go-to "tutor" for many of my friends and classmates who had math or French questions or who needed someone to look over an essay or college application.
I continued to work with students in college as part of the Academic Fellows, an honorary service organization dedicated to improving academic life at the university. I tutored college students one-on-one in both French and math and worked with students to plan and revise essays in various subjects. I also wrote and helped distribute instructional materials on writing English essays and structuring mathematical proofs.
After graduating from Rice and moving to Washington, I continued tutoring through the King County Library System's Study Zone program, where I currently work with students of all ages in subjects ranging from writing and spelling to algebra and geometry to biology and history.
The most important thing I can do as a tutor is to help students learn general skills and study skills, not just how to complete the specific assignments we work on together. While working with a middle school student on ancient Egyptian history, for example, I make sure to emphasize how to use chapter summaries to pinpoint what to study for an upcoming exam, the importance of learning bolded key terms, and the usefulness of section comprehension questions for focusing in on the key ideas from each section. My student will learn not only the history of ancient Egypt but also how best to use her textbook to study for her upcoming exam and future exams as well. My job is not just to get you through your current assignment (though I can certainly do that, too!) but to make sure you have the tools you need to get yourself through the next one.
I also find that practice problems are incredibly helpful. For example, if a student is struggling with a math problem we're working on, I identify basic aspects of the problem and design a series of practice problems to help the student learn the basic skills needed to solve not just that problem but any problem like it. Having the answer to one specific problem is not terribly useful, but having the skills to answer a whole class of problems is.
One of the most fulfilling aspects of tutoring is helping a student reach that "I get it!" moment where what we've been working on clicks on a deeper level. That's when I know I've made a lasting impact on a student's academic life, no matter how small. This is underscored by the numerous times students have come back to share good news with me: "That paper you helped me revise? I got an A on it!" "The geometry exam we looked over together? I just aced my next one!" "The spelling and grammar you worked on with my son? He's been doing really well on his homework assignments! Can you help him with history, too?" Every student has the potential to improve, to find pleasure in learning, and to do well, and I am always honored to be a part of that process.
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