This is my very first blog post!
Since this website allows for people to share lessons, teaching techniques and other similar tools, I thought I would take advantage of the blog feature to say a little bit about why I teach the way that I do.
I've been teaching for many years. I spent most of my high school career tutoring my peers and underclassmen in subjects ranging from Mathematics to Science to English, and moved onto a broader range of subjects in college. Being a very conceptual person, I like to make sure that I know exactly why things work the way they do, and I teach to make sure my students do as well. In any field of study, many things can be derived from prior knowledge, but only if it's thoroughly understood. For example, you may have to memorize the names of theorems in geometry, but the logic should hopefully come naturally to you. Remembering a formula for physics is less difficult when you understand just why the change in velocity gives acceleration, rather than sticking it into another memory slot only to blank out when you need it.
Thus, I tend to focus far more on concepts in class, and ask students to practice applying them in their own time through a series of "homework" problems. Then, those problems can be discussed next class to clear up any misunderstandings and we move on to the next concept. Of course, practice problems can also be done in class as well to make sure that a student isn't floundering on applying what I've taught. I promise that if I'm tutoring to assist with a class, I won't give work on top of what's already required by your primary instructor! I may ask you to review anything you're struggling with though, and offer optional homework if you have the time for it. The bottom line is that I give out outlines, handouts, and other materials that provide solid guides for anything that the student didn't quite catch in class, and adjust the work level to their needs. Depending on what is more effective, some students like to take pick the papers up as they leave, and others take notes directly on them in class.
The one case where practice outside of class is absolutely necessary is with standardized testing. I am very happy to proctor exams, either by section or as a whole, both for people who I teach the material to from scratch or those who simply want to practice being in the right environment and get feedback about their results. Any student who opts not to take proctored exams with me must go through practice exams in a controlled, timed manner on their own. Unfortunately, the only way to get better at standardized exams is to keep doing them until you're comfortable with the format and length. However, there are many tricks of the trade that I can offer to help make it easier.
My classes are very interactive. I remember far too many times where teachers and professors droned on and on and made me want to fall asleep. Therefore, I actively encourage participation! This also allows me to see how fast the student is grasping the subject and lets me adjust my teaching style. That can mean anything from turning lessons into games, finding new applications for a subject in a field that the student likes, and keeping them responsive to me so they can learn quicker and I can teach better.
Overall, I believe that classes should be fun, even for the most difficult subjects. Good teachers can completely turn around a person's interest in a subject. I hope to be a teacher or professor in the future so that I can instill my love of learning in other students as well, and I hope to be learning new things for the rest of my life.
I wish you all the best!