Recently I had the opportunity to meet with a parent/business owner who hires/places tutors for high end families in my area. It was a wonderful opportunity as once again I heard the mantra, "Parents just want the grades to go up." I asked what this meant, how I could measure it (quantitatively and anecdotally) and if this was indeed proof of my skills as a tutor or a momentary 'save' on a reversal of fortune. This parent does not use Wyzant. I was hard pressed to accept from this parent the reason I wasn't being contacted by high end parents for tutoring was my lack of guaranteeing grades would go up, a promise I can not make in good faith as there are too many factors involved. Honesty and integrity should be important, not my sales ability. In my years as a teacher and tutor, I have found once I have parents on board, the rest is EASY. Parents are the elephant in the room and I can run myself ragged (knowing full well very little if anything changes without parental buy... read more
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IF I could go back in time and give my younger self some advice on how to be a better student, be more successful in school, life, etc, I would definitely tell myself that being involved in everything comes at a cost. It is better to find a few things that you like to do, do them well and often, than feeling stressed because there is so much on your plate at one time. Being a 'Jack of all Trades' it is natural for me to dip my toes in different waters- all at the same time, but that does not mean that I can give 100% to any of them at that time. While I was able to get good grades (A- average) while in school, I was impressed by how much better I did- and felt about my work- the few times that I scaled back on my activities. Another piece of advice that I wish that I could bestow upon my younger self would be to learn how to speak up in a group setting when someone is not fulfilling their part of an agreement. Now, this said, the best way to do this would be in a tactful... read more
When interviewing a prospective tutor, parents should ask about the tutor's skills and experience, and find out if the tutor truly enjoys teaching. When the tutor feels enthusiastic about the subject, and communicates well, the student has an opportunity to learn to enjoy the subject too. I recommend for parents to observe the first lesson to see the tutor's skills in action, and watch/listen carefully to future lessons when possible, to make sure the tutor has an encouraging, supportive attitude at all times. (Tutors should welcome and respond positively to the child's questions, and NEVER make the child feel "stupid," no matter what.) It is most important to have a safe and quiet place for studying, without distractions. I like to find a quiet table at a library, and work with students there. I welcome suggestions from parents, and I am always looking for ways to improve my teaching skills.
So, you have this big test coming up, it could be the ACT, SAT, MAP, End of Course Exams, or just a final and you are getting a little freaked out. Well, don't be. Here are some tips and tricks to taking a multiple choice test that work for any subject. Just realize that these tips and trick are not hard and fast rules, but just tips and tricks. Multiple Choice Test Taking Tips: - Read the question before you look at the answer. - Come up with the answer in your head before looking at the possible answers, this way the choices given on the test won't throw you off or trick you. - Eliminate answers you know aren't right. - Read all the choices before choosing your answer. - If there is no guessing penalty, always take an educated guess and select an answer. - Don't keep on changing your answer; usually your first choice is the right one, unless you misread the question. - In "All of the above" and "None of the above" choices, if you are certain one... read more
In my experience working with learners from various education levels and backgrounds, I understand the feelings of frustrations and concerns that many have when struggling with a subject or studying for a test but not receiving the results you would like or expect. It creates a feeling of helplessness or the sense that you can't overcome or you'll never get it. That's not true. With the right study skills, you can improve your confidence, preparedness, and ability in any area. The keys to learner's success include having clear goals about what you want to achieve, learning effective study tips and strategies, pacing yourself, organizational skills, time management, academic planning and preparation, step-by-step instruction, committment (good work ethic), practice, and building confidence in your ability to improve and achieve your goals. It's said, if you want to succeed, try and try again. That's the only way to do it. If you have questions about assignments or... read more
In teaching children in this our millennial age, I have observed that a great number of students find it painstaking to sit down and write a proper essay or poem. While the computer can help to expedite the process of publishing the work, the quality is not of a high stand ard. I wish to emphasize the need for more creative writers of today. Most students are unable to keep pace with classroom teaching of reading and writing skills, especially when the school system is geared towards curriculum completion and preparations for state tests. The need for a good tutor is therefore essential. A student may fail in math or science. This only means that he is deficient in those areas. But if he fails in the English Language, he is fundamentally uneducated. Language defines our personality, who we are , and it is a gateway to learning the other subjects. Without analytic and critical thing skills, we are unable to make proper choices and judgements, and establish personal or national... read more
When working with a students’ reading levels and progress towards their comprehension, I am learning that you can’t do the same type of activities over and over again with them. They get bored and even though they may be struggling, they still want a challenge. You need to have them involved in engaging activities all the time. One of the second graders I work with on reading doesn’t mind reading different books as the main activity of her tutoring sessions – in fact, I think her parents prefer it. Well, that’s just not good enough; she needs more of a challenge with her reading so that she can grow and develop with her class. After each reading, or sometimes even after a chapter, we go through the events of what happened, then discuss the setting, the characters, the conflict, and so on. We now incorporate a vocabulary lesson. I pull out vocabulary words that she struggled with and clearly didn’t know as we were reading and make a list. She then defines the word and uses... read more
Give positive feedback, use encouraging vocabulary Find success, and reinforce effort, in even minor accomplishment ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ A tutor provides expertise, experience, and encouragement. They do not provide "answers," but rather assist in problem solving, in getting answers. The challenge is to focus on assignments within the context they are assigned. Tutors should not be expected to diagnose learning disabilities. Diagnosis should take place outside of the tutoring process by a professional academic counselor. If a larger problem becomes apparent, referral is the best strategy. Tutoring strategies: Seek out training to be a more effective tutor: This includes subject matter as well as the tutoring procedures Clearly establish expectations for your learner What are the expectations of the learner? of the teacher? and of those close to the learner (classmates,... read more
Salvete Omnes! (Greetings all!) This post is to inform all potential students that I am currently about 35 weeks pregnant and will not be accepting new students until April 1st. Current students should be advised that my schedule may become severely limited in the next two months. During this time, I may be available for short sessions or for one-time-only students. I will not be able to make any long-term commitments until April 1st.
Recently, as I've been working with students on reading, I noticed something interesting. Students tend to want to read the material quickly, whether or not the word is being read correctly.This presents in two different ways that I have noticed so far: If it is a new word, the letters and syllables might get read out of order. If it is a root word, verb or noun, they are already familiar with, the prefixes or suffixes may be read incorrectly. This made me wonder where the drive for speed was coming from. Was it a desire to sound natural? Was it the students' way of getting through the daunting task as quickly as possible? Whatever the reason, it was not helping the students become better readers or spellers. Spellers?! How does that apply to reading, you may ask? My answer is this: For visual learners, reading is a big part of spelling. When they see words, repeatedly, they can recall the images later on when they are trying to spell them. Therefore, when students are... read more
According to Grigg, Daane, Jin, and Campbell (2003), more than 8 million middle and high school students are struggling readers, and among those, many are at a high risk of dropping out of school. A longitudinal study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics (2009) revealed schools with a higher percentage of minority students had a higher dropout rate, which increased as the school poverty level increased. Hispanic students and Black students had the highest dropout rates (11% and 10%, respectively) of all racial groups. According to a local public high school’s AYP report (Florida Department of Education, 2010b), 320 of 743 Hispanic students were on track to graduate. The 2010 AYP results revealed that 38 of 107 Black students were on track for graduation. In accordance with the Florida Legislature (2010), students aged 3-21 who have a disability and gifted students in grades K-12 are eligible for exceptional student services... read more
This area is for students or parents, especially those that are willing to put forth the effort to learn more, and be a better student, to achieve more ;-) To help my students I normally assign them 5 new words a day. Whether they open a physical dictionary or go to the links below, the important thing is that they learn and use new words. Tools ------ dictionary.com - a handy resource with access to multiple dictionaries in one place, especially if you don't have one in the home. worddynamo.com - great website that will send you (after you sign up for free) an email of a quickie multiple choice test of new words. It's a fun way to learn! khanacademy.org - Khan's academy - this is the best resource I've found both for kids and parents. You can sign up your little learner, no matter the age, and they can go out there at any time. - they have all sorts of subjects for free, your child can go at their own pace, and it's a marvelous place to learn with videos online,... read more
I find most folks today (kids & adults) have the most difficulty in reading and comprehension of what they are reading. Much of that is due to a lack of reading, most folks do not know much in the way of vocabulary (beyond every day useage) and that really hurts them when they come to testing. I also note that most folks don't put much time into reading for pleasure. And the GREAT thing is that it can be fixed!!!! (wahoo!!! life is good) Parents, it's important to impress upon your (hopefully) college bound child EARLY on as a freshman - sophomore - junior - senior, that the better they do, the better scholarships they will receive. And the more they know now, the less painful it will be when they get to college or other higher institutions of learning. Or out into the business world. ***Scientific studies repeatedly show (statistically) that repeated exposure to specific vocabulary enhances and increases the student's utilization of the words. Basically, if your... read more
There are so many changes happening in the field of education, and teachers need to keep up with the trends. Some of the changes include: - Common Core Curriculum - 21st Century Skills - New Teacher Evaluations - New Testing Formats New York State is on the cutting edge of these changes, and there are many great resources for parents and students. I try to stay on the cutting edge, too, and I have compiled many of these resources for use by my students and parents.
What method of inquiry do we tend to rely on to communicate with others? We often rely on questions to do so. While this can provide answers to us that suffice, we tend to only ask simple clarifying questions rather than open- ended inquiries. For example, if you were to ask your son or daughter if they understood your instructions to clean their room, chances are you will receive merely a "yes" or "no" answer. In an open-ended inquiry, your would ask instead, "What did I request of you to do...?" Asking open-ended questions evoke deeper thought from others and lead to better understanding and communication. Practicing this simple form of communicating can help you and others you interact with become successful conversationalist. So the next time you need to know something, ask the questions that will ensure that both you and the other party you are communicating with understand one another on a deeper, clearer level. Happy Thinking!
Ever wonder why when you read, the words seem to wave or shimmer? Or maybe it is one of those things when you read; and you read; and you read; and still are left wondering what the heck you just read? Or what about when you hear someone speaking, and they have your full attention, yet you have no idea what they meant by what they have just said? I know the answers to these questions and many, many more. So I would like to start a discussion on your experiences reading, listening, and learning. I want everyone to know that there is so many different kinds of intelligence and so many more types of learning styles. So let the Doctor get into to your head a bit and let's see if I can help with some insight. Who is up first?
What a way to start off the New Year! First I met with a student for US History and Living Environment. She is taking the Regents exams in three weeks. When I first met with her, Cee had a fear of taking exams, and was very nervous. She struggled with understanding both subjects; the Historical Events and dates, as well as the vocabulary words for Biology. Her next struggles were understanding and answering the document based questions for US History and the short responses for LE. Now she answers them much more confidently and accurately, and has even improved in writing her document based and thematic essays for US History. I am so proud of her and is certain that she will pass both Regents exams. Then I met with my grade 4 student for Math, English Language Art and Science. He has gone from scoring 31% to 83% on his practice science exam. He is much more confident with doing Math and ELA assignments. I am so proud of him. Then it was on to my grade 6 Math student. When... read more
First blog post, yay! Okay, so I found this technique for helping little ones with b vs. d confusion, and I call it "thumbs up." First, I ask them to "give me thumbs up" with both hands in front of them and palms facing in like they're "giving someone a hug." Their left hand should look like a lowercase b and their right hand should look like a lowercase d... Left hand is "named" b, right hand is "named" d. Both hands are friends, and, when they talk to each other, the "b" says the b sound and the "d" says the d sound. I have them pretend like the b and d are talking. Or, sometimes I'll have them "give me thumbs up!" and I'll say, "Okay, real quick, lift up the hand that says [b sound or d sound]." If they struggle, I'll help and lift up my thumb too until they get it on their own. Another fun thing to do is to have them "give me thumbs up," trace both hands on a piece of paper, and then draw a b and a d over their hands in a different color so they can see the correlation... read more
Hi Everyone! I am excited to to say that I met my first student. He was awesome! One thing I will do to help improve the lessons is to use the ideas in "Comprehension Going Forward: Where We Are and What's Next" which has one of my favorite authors in it. I hope that her ideas improve my ability to be effect. Also, I want to say that my student's family is so nice. I was honored to be accepted into their presence.
WyzAnt asks: "Would you be interested in helping us by creating academic content and lessons in your areas of expertise?" And I can answer enthusiastically, "YES!" This would be a great way to give students or potential students an entry into the important issues and concepts of my subjects. For example, people often think that writing is extremely hard. But I have developed some methods to get started and to keep going. I'd really like to share what I know and spread the word. There is not a magic formula, and certainly not a secret recipe, to learning how to write a decent sentence, paragraph, and paper. The more knowledge is disseminated, the better!