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I teach because I love it. My tutoring makes me a better teacher and vice versa! I love the feeling of seeing a student’s eyes light up when something suddenly makes sense, and I love seeing the joy a student feels when a long-time obstacle is finally overcame.
My teaching/tutoring philosophy largely comes down to a few basic tenets:
- Every student is unique and needs a unique approach. Someone who struggles isn’t incapable of understanding the material, they usually are simply struggling to understand it as presented. As someone who has ADHD, I have experimented with many different methods of learning. Every learner is different and just needs an educator who is willing to try alternative approaches. I love being that educator.
- Learning should be democratic. It should be a constant negotiation between teacher and learner about what things to approach and how to approach them. Obviously this has limits (if I’m teaching you Latin, we can’t negotiate into learning biology), but if students feel involved in the curriculum, they will always care more and try harder. The “sage on the stage” model of learning is condescending and, simply put, students should never feel condescended to. We’re all equals in learning.
- It’s extremely important for things to be transparent to students (and parents). Expectations should be clear as should the reasons for these expectations. This ties into the previous point: it’s the student’s classroom as much as it’s mine. When teaching, I will always do my best to explain why I’m requiring certain things because I think the students deserve that. Furthermore, this helps to build trust, which is a valuable resource in the student/teacher relationship.
- Bring passion and joy to the lesson. I try to only ever teach or tutor things that I absolutely love or find interesting so that every lesson is naturally motivated and easy to get swept up in. I will also try to find ways to inspire these feelings in every student because, honestly, that’s when learning happens the best: when it’s passion driven and not necessity driven.