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When I begin teaching a student who is struggling in his or her English class, the very first thing I try to do is get the student to start communicating with his or her teacher. Often, students that are frustrated with their grades are frustrated with their teachers. However, treating teachers like allies instead of enemies can improve students’ understanding of course topics and assignments, and consequently their grades. You’ll often hear teachers tell students at the beginning of the year, “Please do not be afraid to raise your hand and ask a question.” They really do mean this. Think about it this way: Teachers are educating a class full of students with different learning styles. Their students probably have varying degrees of familiarity and comfort with different topics. Plus, teachers constantly introduce new and challenging material. So, teachers are not surprised when students need help, and they encourage their classes to ask questions to better their understanding... read more

Taught another class this past week, this one a killer. Eight straight hours of non-stop words. My throat was raw from talking, my thumb numb from pushing the button to slide up to the next graphic, my feet sore from standing. So why do I bother...? Not fortune, for sure. I’d make more sitting in the big chair, working the phones and running a film. Nor fame. Even if enthusiasm were really riches, there are limits to working the backroom at the software store. Then why...? Reason #1. Good students make smarter teachers. Happens every time I teach a class like this. A hand shoots up or a voice shuts me up. And someone asks something I’d never considered before. And in an instant my whole world lights up like Times Square on New Year’s Eve. I gain Insights I’ve never seen before, concepts I’ve never conceived before. Good questions like that kick the rust out of the immovable parts of a brain and grease the gears to turn again. After... read more

I want my students to enjoy the hands on learning experience of fine art, and to accomplish this I strive to create custom curriculum catered to each student. By understanding the needs of my student and what their goals are I can keep their interest and the process of learning fun.  I believe in teaching through encouragement and positivity, and the importance of not taking yourself too seriously.  As Mrs. Frizzle always said, "Its time to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!"

Some teachers regularly lift students' test scores, while others leave their students with below-average results year after year. This can happen right next door from each other; same grade, same building. Results from dozens of studies point to the same most significant factor-a good teacher is the single greatest influence on a student's chance at success. Among the factors that do not predict a teacher's ability? "A graduate-school degree, a high score on the SAT, an extroverted personality, politeness, confidence, warmth, enthusiasm and having passed the teacher-certification exam on the first try," sites Elizabeth Green, writer for The New York Times. "Parents have always worried about where to send their children to school; but the school, statistically speaking, does not matter as much as which adult stands in front of their children," said Amanda Ripley, reporting on the statistical findings of Teach for America. Teach for America... read more

1) You can have fun and be silly, but still increase focus on the subject   When I taught piano lessons to a 5-year-old girl, I would start off by asking her to find the weirdest, funniest sound that she could find on the keyboard, and then ask her to play the song she had practiced for that week in that sound! She always would laugh and make faces, but it made the repetition of practicing the same song over and over less monotonous and more fun! This would start our lessons off on a great note, and they would be more of a game or exploration of music than just a class.   2) Take a snack break     After about 30-45 minutes of studying the same subject, it can get tiring and hard to focus. Our brains need a break! Stopping 30 minutes into a tutoring session to have a quick snack or drink can really help to give your mind the rest it needs to be able to refocus and start refreshed after the break!   3) Talk about your worries... read more

Perhaps the most obvious answer to this question I can give is to look at the reaction from a tutor whose student is giving a speech in the language that was the focus of study. I have never been so proud as when witnessing a student who may have not been able to speak any English at all, who after years of hard work is able to sound wonderfully fluent in Chinese.   Of course, we need to earn a living, but this proud feeling certainly makes any thoughts of compensation or career seem so distant. I wonder if the student feels the same way at seeing the fruits of their hard work. I certainly hope so.   I am humbled and inspired by the many dedicated tutors and students on WyzAnt. What a wonderful platform to bring everyone together in the name of learning, growth, and education!

I recently read an article which reported the favorite books of 50 celebrities (actors, musicians, politicians, etc). I noticed that several of them mentioned that they started out hating reading because it seemed to always reminded them of schoolwork and school until they made a special connection with a particular book. After that, reading became a joy!   I've long found this attitude surprising because I can't remember a time (after I learned to read, of course) when I didn't love to read. Weird, right? I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority here, but I think I can explain why reading has just never felt like a chore:   1. My parents never placed restrictions on what my siblings and I could read.   This may seem like a terrible idea to parents wary of their children getting their hands on "Fifty Shades of Gray" and similar age-inappropriate material, and I can't blame them. While my parents did not place formal restrictions, they made... read more

Most students show up for a study session not really knowing what to expect. A tutor should ask you what you are having trouble with specifically, but if you don't know then neither will they.  The more you and your tutor know about what the problem is the better prepared the tutor will be to help you. Here are some tips for your first study session:   1. Bring everything you have for the class you are getting tutoring for including teacher's class notes, instructions and comments about you and your work if you can get them from him/her. 2. Expect to work. A tutor will guide you, not do the work for you. 3. Take notes. Taking notes both in class and during a tutoring session are important.  Notes don't have to be neat rows of writing. Draw pictures, use short-hand, write in Klingon, it doesn't matter as long as you can read them. 4. Make a list of questions before you meet your tutor, that way you won't miss an opportunity to get clarification... read more

The WyzAny poll recently asked if I'd have internet in tutoring more than one student. I love the idea of teaching multiple students because there is no better feeling than a student gets that look of clarity in their eyes and understands something they were having difficulty with. So when there's more than one student that I can give this moment of clarity to it only gets better. :-D

As a college student, I’ve heard numerous complaints about the GERs (General Education Requirements) we must complete before graduating. “Why do I need to take a science with a lab when I’m a history major?” or “I’m studying Philosophy; what do I need a math class for?” These sentiments are often echoed by grade school students I’ve tutored (and even their parents!) – so I thought it might be useful to give my opinion of the situation, as I’ve explained it to friends, students, and parents.   Most students in grade school (and early in their college careers) don’t know exactly what they want to do yet and haven’t explored all of their interests. I took a Philosophy of Art class my freshman year of college, despite having no experience with philosophy classes or art classes. I found that I quite enjoyed the philosophical debate (though I wouldn’t want to pursue a career in the field) and that, while I don’t draw or paint, I enjoy studying artwork. Had I taken the typical... read more

After having been away from school all summer many students can get out of the "school" mood or mode and returning can be quite difficult. So at least 1 week before school starts students can turn the TV off, pick up their favorite book and start reading in 15 minute blocks. The goal is to get them absorbed in their favorite topic or book that they will have read beyond 15 minutes and not even know it.   Daisy

"I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit." ~John Steinbeck   There's an artist in each teacher and each student: teaching is the collaboration of two innovative minds. As a tutor, I see living, breathing artwork that is guided simultaneously by intuition, creativity and reason. I'm in a gallery surrounded by the curiosities and masterpieces of knowledge. Each piece has a story that narrates a small piece of the creators' lives.

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