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1. Relate materials to the students preferred interests. For example, if the student likes animals, you can teach categorization and counting by having a student count all the horses in a farm full of animals, teach paragraph writing by letting the student choose an animal to write about, teach volume by having a student discover how many square feet an animal needs for a pen and then have them create a pen of that size, etc.    2. Mix it up. Sometimes too much of a routine can be a bad thing. Always be willing to find new ways to teach the same topic. Use crossword puzzles to teach vocab instead of just having students write out definitions, teach simple math skills with color-by-numbers sheets (e.g. color sections red whenever the answer is 2), use white boards and race your student to see who can do the problem first (obviously the student should be first often!), let younger students doing writing exercise with a crayon of their favorite color from time... read more

Number One:  Getting to know the student through light conversation by asking things such as:  "Do you like school?" "What is your favorite subject?"  "Who is your favorite teacher?"  "Do you have a best friend?" and similar questions.   Number Two:  Showing the student a small art or craft project or a photograph I have recently taken or worked on and talking briefly with them about it -- such as a piece of wood found in the yard that resembles an animal and is painted to look like that animal.   Number Three:  Drawing a picture with the student about a story we have read.  Then posting their drawing of the story along with mine on the wall by our tutoring table.   Number Four:  Playing cards or shooting dice to add or multiply the numbers on the cards or on the dice.   Number Five:  Letting my pet cat sit on our tutoring table during the tutoring...

Many of us who begin private tutoring may ask this question, should I invest in supplies? The simple answer is yes. As educators, we should always have pens, pencils, paper, dry white boards, Expo markers, a calculator (specifically a T1-83 or T1-84 when working with Geometry, Algebra 2 and Trigonometry students). In my opinion, we should always be prepared for our sessions (make sure that you know the material as well).    Now, another question tutors (especially first-timers like myself) may ask is, should we purchase books built on the criteria for a certain grade such as Common Core Math. My answer again is yes. We are preparing our students for continued success in Math (and other subjects) and to receive high standardized test scores (for those students who are a part of school districts who measure them based on their performance on these exams). I understand that these types of books can be expensive, but, they are well worth it.    If... read more

I am writing a letter of recommendation for Sharona C. She was my Cantonese teacher that I met in Chinatown in San Francisco, California. She was an excellent teacher! She possessed all the necessary skills and characteristics that I needed in my teacher so that I could study at my best. She never got impatient and she was also willing to repeat herself, a hundred times if necessary for me, so that I would develop a better understanding. She was very encouraging as I was stumbling my way through the Cantonese language. She had energy and was engaging every session, even though most of our sessions were late at night! She was very flexible with my schedule also. I worked various hours throughout the week and she was able to meet with me three times a week despite having to schedule different days every week. Along with being so flexible, she was also very accommodating when it came to finding a location to do our lessons. With my hectic schedule, strange sleeping hours, and everything... read more

Many students who are having difficulty with particular subjects hear "get a tutor!"  So, you go out and start looking. However, if you have never hired a tutor or worked with one, making the experience work for you can be a challenge.  What is a student to do?   1)  Find the tutor that is right for you.  You cannot tell everything from a profile.  Someone might have years of experience in  the classroom, but that person might not be as effective one-on-one.  Some people have very little experience, but know how to impart the information they do have.  Meet with the tutor for a get-to-know you session.  Ask questions about the person's experience.  And, let that person ask you questions.  Bring past work to the first session, as well as syllabi and other information from the class.  This will help the tutor see if s/he is comfortable working with the material.    2) ... read more

Working with kids first starts with communication. Children respond well to those who let them speak. They feel more comfortable about you when they know that you are the type of person who will allow them a chance to voice their opinions without speaking over them. When you listen rather than talk over and judge what they say they are more open to you to discussing topics, especially school. Naturally kids don't like going to adults for help for a number of reasons, so in order to get them to want to open up you need to establish good communication skills with them. The second important aspect is trust. You must build a relationship with them. They have a teacher already just as they have parents. It's the tutors responsibility to be a mentor and friend to their the kid(s) they are assigned to. Much like a "Big Brothers, Big Sisters" relationship, you want to show that you are there to be a guide and supportive. You are a friend but at the same time you are... read more

First off, I think that if learning isn't fun or engaging, it will not be successful. With that being said, here are my five tips for helping create a more interactive, less stifled learning experience.   Tip One- Learning doesn't only occur inside of the classroom. Museums, parks, libraries and many other places can be great spots to talk a student who doesn't respond well to the typical classroom setting.   Tip Two- Incorporate passions pertaining to that particular student. When a subject becomes relatable, it becomes easier to understand.   Tip Three- Identify the students strengths, and merge them with their hobbies and interests. If a student likes baseball, figure out how baseball can help him or her understand probabilities, statistics and more.   Tip Four- Make a game out of the lesson plan. Many lessons can be turned into game-show type trivia games that are more engaging than a regular lecture or a handwritten assignment... read more

1. Humor always finds me with students, especially those of elementary age. 2. Have a fun extension of the math exercise set or read from a favorite book, on grade level of course. 3. Make an appropriate comment about something observed on the way from the car to the door, e.g., decorations or an animal on the sidewalk. 4. Never completely open the bag, there are always surprises in there. 5. Pay attention to what is on the wall - any one of those could be a cool conversation piece.

Do some of your students lack focus? Does pent up energy keep them from being attentive during their tutoring lessons? Do they thrive on activity, fun, and games?   If your students are anything like mine, the answer to these questions is a resounding "yes." Today I'd like to share 3 easy, "outside the box" tips for keeping your tutoring sessions fun and exciting.   1. Get Outside If weather permits it, go outside during a session for some outdoor activities and games. Play HORSE to review spelling words. Throw a frisbee; each time your student catches the frisbee they must answer a question to then pass it back to you. Jump rope while counting your ABC's. Often times, we as tutors can use kids' pent up energy to our advantage through games like this.   2. Play Music For memorization activities like the periodical table or the dates of WWII battles, play instrumental music and create a song to remember the facts.   3... read more

It is “common sense” to believe that we share the same sense of commonality amongst all others within society. However, we should never assume what is common to one’s self is necessarily applicable to the entirety of humanity. Each and every individual is independently designed to learn, grow and facilitate thought at his or her own pace to which cannot be labeled as common, but rather should be seen as unique. As unique individuals we must help one another to learn our own common knowledge in order for him or her to flourish. What is not necessarily “common sense” is the understanding that we, as members of society, are responsible for the facilitation of all other’s level of common sense. A powerful way to prevent others from engaging in those behaviors that may irritate ourselves we must educate rather than discriminate and judge. So maybe next time, rather than judging an individual’s faults as a defect of “common sense,” pursue the opportunity as an educator, friend, or simply... read more

1. Introduce students to the general subject in action in every day life. For example, if you are tutoring about "conduction and convection", ask students, "Have you noticed what happens to the surrounding temperature when you open a refrigerator ?" And let the student go into details about this experience. That way students are in control of the learning process.   2. Leave the big terms for the last minute! As in the example above, you can close that day's tutoring by introducing "conduction and convection" as a process the students described and formed in their minds.   3. Allow room for questions Even if questions are not related to the topic, let students have some fun. It is OK to go off tangent as long as the teacher and the student understand the limits and know not to be carried away.   4. Let students teach or tutor you or each other After presenting the idea to the student, let the student share... read more

My 5 outside the box tips on making tutoring (or teaching, for that matter) fun:   1. Humor -- Always be tasteful, never insulting since the students lack confidence and thus are nervous. Breaking the ice with humor diverts students from their fears and redirects their focus to the subject.   2. Technology -- Instead of preventing students from accessing technology during tutoring sessions or class, allow them to access their technology, whether they have iPads, smartphones, or laptop computers. Many educational apps are available for all subjects, all grade levels. Students tend to be very engaged with their technology, even more than the teacher or tutor!   3. Facilitation -- Teachers and tutors actually have similar roles, but they differ in the sequence. Teachers are usually the first to give the information, which the student may or may not understand at first. A tutor is usually the next in line to help the student process the teacher's... read more

This month alone to make lessons interesting at least and fun I did the following: 1) I listened to what two of my students like in addition to their academic pursuits such as playing piano and surprised each with a new music songs book 2) I create mnemonic aids such as Yea = Mix and Bake that when repeated becomes yea, mix cookie mix and bake it. The Y=Mx + B is the slope formula. 3) I meet students at libraries and offer book hunts, a computer session, or the thoughts of future with announcements on the lobby's board of forthcoming movies and other events as relief to the grind. 4) I bring play money to young childrens' lessons. 5) I present my students with holiday greeting cards and in December of 2014 it occurred to me that it might be fun for parents and young children to fill a Letters to Santa mailbox that I will bring to lessons and make contact to parents and/or students around October.  All of these are pleasantries and fun for me too.d 

Tutoring can be a lot of fun for both the tutor and the student. The most crucial aspect of tutoring is developing a positive relationship between the tutor and the student. Getting to genuinely know the student is the first key to making tutoring fun. Once a tutor develops that relationship with the student and vice versa, a tutor can then personalize the learning to meet the needs of the student. Incorporating educational games, videos, and hands on manipulatives can also make tutoring fun. As a tutor, I try to incorporate what a student likes into which ever subject we are covering. It is also important to let the student know that it is okay to make mistakes and know he/she will not be looked down upon. Giving the students that confidence and knowledge to take risks will ease the stress of learning and allow students to grow in their area of need. 

Here's the thing, your first session is all about setting up a repor with your tutor, so there are a few things you need to keep in mind when attending your first session.   1) Check your email or phone. This will depend on how your tutor has agreed to contact you. You may have already received an email/call/text from your tutor giving you important information about your first meeting. My first meetings come with a survey and information on what to expect from our sessions.   2) Be on time. This is the most important thing. As a tutor we have a very limited amount of time to cover the material you want to cover, so you need to be on time to every meeting that you agree on with your tutor. This shows us that your are serious about you education and our personal relationship.   3) Come with any materials we will need to be familiar with. If your class uses a text book bring that, if there is a work book bring it, if you have class notes bring those... read more

Mentoring is not for money, we mentors do it nobly. Remind our students why we do it. That their job is to do their school work. A diploma shows dedication and perseverance. When you receive your paycheck that is the reward. To make a school to real life connection...the mentor is the families educational assistant and  the report card is the paycheck #mentoring#foodforthought

     Being a mentor means practicing patience and having an immense amount of responsibility. A mentor is someone that others can look up to and set an example from. Growing up, I often found mentors in my teachers. My favorite was a high school English teacher who taught me about creativity and was supportive of diversity and the unique qualities in each of his students. I will never forget how he empowered his students to write from their hearts and to challenge themselves. My other mentor was my high school algebra 2 teacher. Before I took her class, I struggled with math. Her patience and kindness helped me to love math for the first time in my life. I managed to get an A in her class and by the time I entered college, I qualified for calculus. Her faith in me in spite of my fear of (what I thought was) a difficult subject helped me to grow as an individual and gain self-confidence. She showed me that I was in fact capable of overcoming challenges no matter how much... read more

I have been able to rehabilitate every student(across income lines) willing to go through the Lewis Learning System (™). It takes accuracy, time, and more but I wouldn't trade my profession for anything.     I ran into this article today. I smiled all winter at all the wonderful things my former students have accomplished.  I even met two working at the nearby daycare where I teach through ed technology.     I love to see my families meet an obstacle and overcome education challenges.  This article mimics a similar sentiment:     Intensive Small-Group Tutoring and Counseling Helps Struggling Students By MOTOKO RICHJAN. 26, 2014     CHICAGO — By the time they reach eighth grade, according to federal tests, half of all African-American schoolboys have not mastered the most basic math skills that educators consider essential for their grade level. A new paper being released Monday... read more

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