Recently retired after teaching 34 years in the elementary classroom, I miss working with the children the most. They were the reason I entered the profession in 1978. As it is has been stated "Once a teacher, always a teacher". Tutoring allows me to work in another area of the education sector. I come prepared with many resources that will complement the skills promoted in a classroom environment. I've witnessed how difficult it is for a student to succeed when he/she needs more support. I know the importance of listening and communicating to ensure a positive relationship is created with parent, student, and teacher. Throughout my career, I was told that my performance exceeded expectations by parents and administrators, and was included in "Who's Who among America's Teachers" several times by previous students. As a tutor, I'm able to provide 1-1 services and give more freely of my time and continue my success working with students.
Personalized tutoring fills a niche that can't be filled in today's classrooms. More and more parents and educators are realizing that tutoring gets to the heart of learning, personalizing the meaning and instruction of the subject that the student needs. As a teacher, I witnessed how students felt when they grasped a concept. I am offering my services to those students who need some extra support so they too can have more "aha" moments in their learning. Hopefully, this will help them become more successful in school and lifelong learners.
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The first day working with a new student includes the following steps: 1.) Get to know the student's educational background information: First I let the parent talk with me briefly about the student. It is also important for me to discuss the student's strengths and needs. This is also a great time to discuss expectations. Sharing this important information up front sets the tone for future seesions. 2.) Collaborate with the parent and student on a plan of action: I try to incorporate the parent and student into the beginning lesson planning so they are a part of the learning process. I let them offer suggestions. Then I usually discuss with them how I can help. 3.) Make a positive impression: I want to make the student feels comfortable and learn about what motivates them, so I build a friendly rapport with him/her. It's important to talk about interests, hobbies, and experiences. Also, I explain to the student what will be happening when I'm tutoring and how I will try to make the learning fun. 4.) I end the first session with a creative activity. Tutoring involves teamwork between the parent, child and tutor. With open lines of communication, well established goals and some background information, the first tutoring session should be off to a great start and help with preparing for future sessions.
Throughout my teaching career, I have gained a lot experience working with children, knowledge of curriculum content, resources to help learning, and classroom management skills that help me be a great tutor. I earned my bachelor's degree from Illinois State University in education, certified to teach K-9th grade. My student teaching experience was done in a 5th grade classroom in Peoria, Illinois. A few years later, I became an employee of Westmont Community School District #201 in 1978 as a 4th/5th grade teacher at Miller School. I taught there for 6 years before I was moved to another school within the same district. The district moved me to Manning School, where I still taught 4th/5th grade, but with a new colleagues. While teaching, I began to attend several seminars and workshops with other teachers from the district to keep up to date with the many changes occurring in education. After being asked by my administrator, once again I moved. This time I moved to a 2nd grade classroom. This was much different than the teaching I had been doing but a lot of fun. During this time, I went back to school myself to receive my master's degree in curriculum and instruction from National Louis University. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to work with students K-5th grade but after 34 years, I retired from teaching in 2015.
Tutoring is a job where the actual hours you spend at a desk with the student are not equivalent to the amount of hours you work. You have transit time, prep time, and other factors that affect how much a tutor charges. A typical tutor in my area will charge between $17 and $45 per hour. I like to negotiate my price with the parent before the first session. My average rate is about $20.00 to $40.00 an hour.
I think that some of us are natural-born teachers. My mother knew when I was young that I would become a teacher. She discovered at an early age how passionate I was in my own love of learning. After I had a 4th grade teacher that I remember to this day, who had a positive impact in my learning, all I talked about was becoming a teacher. Her ability to guide students, her fairness, and her sense of justice made me aspire to bring these things to my own classroom. I was eager to make a difference. Her ability to guide students, her fairness, and her sense of justice made me aspire to bring these things to my own classroom. I worked long hours and participated in a variety of experiences to pursue my goal. But I knew that one day I would hold the power to influence many students’ lives very deeply, which would be very rewarding.
The most challenging aspect of being a teacher is that there is no set mold on the types of students in a single class. A class of twenty students will likely have twenty different personalities at twenty different places academically. As a classroom teacher, I have also worked with a large number of identified special-needs students. That has been difficult at times and, at other times, quite joyful. Some of these students get support from an instructional aide, some are only in the classroom for a specific subject, and others are included all day.
Our school district has a special event at the end of every school year to honor staff who has reached milestones in their careers. The most exciting part of the evening is when the teachers who are retiring are roasted by their colleagues. This special event usually occurs in a local restaurant and includes appetizers and drinks. All past employees of the district are invited. Being a smaller district, there are usually about 150 people who attend. The last event that I have attended was the year that I retired. I was allowed to invite a few of my friends and family members. Two of my colleagues, who are also close friends of mine, presented a special review of my teaching career. This event was very special to me that I will remember for years.
The advice that I would give to a student teacher who is looking to begin their career is: 1.) Be Original! What happens now is up to you. Bring a unique personality to the student teaching experience. Other staff and administrators aren't looking for a carbon copy of them, so be you. 2.) Be Innovative! Let the knowledge, ideas, and experiences you have acquired ignite your teaching. Don't be afraid to experiment. Work with and learn from other staff members. Try that lesson or activity you worked so hard to create. Make mistakes, fail, laugh about it, stand back up, and try once more! 3.) Collaborate! Get to know all the teachers, staff members, and administrators within the school community. The young teachers who collaborate are the ones remembered during evaluation time. 4.) Be Dedicated! Always show a passion for what you do. Become involved with after school activities if possible. Work those long hours. Be willing to give 110%. 5.) Have fun! Enjoy the students; they will make you smile every day. Enjoy your colleagues; they are wonderful role models. Enjoy the experience; it is something that you will carry along into your teaching career and many years afterwards. And never, ever, give up on what matters to you.
Here are a few questions I believe students should think about before coming to the teacher about their needs: 1. Why is it hard for me to learn in the classroom? 2. Do I work as hard as other students in the classroom? 3. Am I putting enough effort into my work? 4. Do I focus on what is happening in the classroom? 5. Is the work too hard to do? Why do you think that way? I think that when students know how to ask their own questions, they take greater ownership of their learning.
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