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Evan Hughes
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September 2011
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Evan Hughes [userpic]
My job as a tutor

I've been working as a tutor for about a month now, which is starting this year off far better than last year. My pay, when I get it, honestly won't be great since I'm only working 16 hours a week, but at least it's pay.  the job is definitely rewarding in other ways, however. I have 8 students, grades K-7, and meet with them each separately and individually. It's all part of the No Child Left Behind Program, so it's state-funded tutoring that is free for the children's parents. I have been told that the children who qualify for the program are all underachieving students from underachieving schools, which I can see in some ways, but at the same time, they all seem to be fairly bright. 

My approach to teaching involves a bit of the Socratic Method. This is because that's really how my parents raised me. When I had questions, they would either have me go look it up myself, or they would ask me questions in return until I answered my own original queries. I feel this is an effective way to educate a child - if they are able to formulate the correct answers on their own, able to derive the solution themselves, they will much more readily remember it, and be able to do so for future questions they have when the educator is no longer around. It seems to work with my students, though I do obviously have to provide them with a basis in some things, like explaining the basics of how light works, and certain terms they had not previously encountered. 

It is a bit challenging explaining things on their level without condescending or going below their level. Given that they are of varying grades, I have to come up with different approaches for each one. And given that they have different weaknesses, I'm targeting different subjects for each one. My youngest is working on learning phonemes and how to rhyme (and I've discovered that for that,  Sesame Street Videos have been a fabulous resource). My first grader is learning how to tally and graph. He's been a particular challenge because he does not speak English very well (Spanish household), so I'm having to try to explain the meanings of certain words to him without being able to speak Spanish myself. A few students are working on decimals and division, and one is working on similes and metaphors. This one I particularly enjoyed working with - I introduced her to the Rime of the Ancient Mariner to have her seek out the metaphors and similes in it, and she's absolutely loving the poem.

Today I had the joy of introducing my seventh grade science student to evolution and natural selection. He's getting it. I discussed this with him a bit, introduced him to a couple Carl Sagan videos (Sagan was absolutely my hero as a child), and found this 7-video series to be quite useful: Evolution Primer
In all, I'm enjoying this job.

Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: Nine Inch Nails: The Slip