Connor A Private Tutoring
I work with nearly every age group of students. As a college student, I can relate to high school and upper level middle school students, but I also have lots of experience working with younger children. I can develop a good relationship with the student, which really helps them learn. In addition, I spend around 30 minutes before each session preparing, planning, and finding ways to best help the student. I am committed to my students, and it shows because the students take that energy and pour it into their studies.
I love working with the students in general. I have one student that is like me, but smaller. He asks at least 50 random questions each time, like why zebra stripes go up and down instead of side to side, or how a lightbulb works. I love seeing the lightbulb moments in the students. And you know that you have really reached a student when they are excited to begin the session.
It's also really interesting to see how seemingly unrelated issues can affect a student. For example, I work with a 12th grader who I noticed struggles to type. I know that he has ADHD, and that 40% of people with ADHD have an issue with fine motor skills. We discovered that his fine motor skills are equal to a 12 year old. Absolutely not his fault, but explains why he dislikes writing, struggles to type, and prefers to work in his own head much more than write things down.
It is the unexpected things, the little things, and the lightbulb moments that I love. Every student is unique, and I learn how to be better with every one.
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Frequently asked questions
What is your typical process for working with a new student?
The first meeting is usually in a public place, and that is where I can interact with the student, and we can test if the student and I have a connection. It is usually quite awkward in the beginning, but also incredibly helpful to see the student's struggles. After the first few sessions, I have a good feel of the student's place and our sessions will begin to be very personalized to the student, so that we may play to their strengths in order to improve on struggle areas and build the student's confidence at the same time.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I have trained with the Illinois Tutoring Initiative, I have taken several child development courses and I have 5 years of tutoring experience.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.
I currently charge $25/hour.
How did you get started teaching?
In middle school, I enjoyed playing with the younger kids and entertaining them on the playground. They asked so many questions and I enjoyed answering them.
I began volunteering during freshman year of high school, and found more than four different ways to tutor or teach students by Senior year.
Finally, when I started college, I started my private practice to earn some extra money to help pay for college.
What types of students have you worked with?
I have a link to my resume in my profile, which gives a more detailed description, but I have worked with students from 2nd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, 9-12th grades, college students, and I lead science lessons at the Dream Center on Fridays for elementary-aged children.
Describe a recent event you are fond of.
I recently had a lightbulb moment with a fifth grader who struggles with fractions. I was able to show him using various pictures how fractions are relative. It is the numerator compared to the denominator. And he truly understood it. He then earned a test score over 15% greater than his average.
By making speed quizzes into a game, I have a second grader who is getting excited about math, and looks forward to the speed quizzes every week. She has cut her average time in half for addition and subtraction, and it is very exciting to see the light in her eyes when she gets problems right.
Lastly, and this is my favorite. At the DreamCenter, my STEM group had a free day with them. Usually we have an organized experiment, but today we let them just freestyle with various science-based toys. At the end, we surprised them with gift boxes that a nearby school had donated. These kids don't have very privileged lives, and they are so happy to receive small things like stuffed animals, slinkys, etc. It's very fulfilling.
What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?
I currently have several math students, but I can teach any subject except for English. For nearly all subjects, one of the most important factors is the child-tutor bond. It is important that the tutor have a good relationship with the child, because as we push them outside of their comfort zone, they will need reassurance and support. Additionally, children learn much better when they enjoy the lesson, so finding a teacher who can fully engage and relate to the student is very important.
I would also encourage regular check-ins. Across all ages, the reports of class time is always skewed when heard from the student. Parents often are able to look at the situation as a whole and help the tutor understand the students' struggles, even if the student doesn't know it themselves.
What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?
I would try to find a specific need. There are several parents that I have worked with who come to the session knowing their child struggles with 'math'. Having records of past tests and homework assignments allows for patterns to arise, and we can review difficult topics.
Keep the schedule in mind. Many students meet twice a week, but depending on the student, I have some that check in twice a month, and some that meet every other day of the week. But usually I find that twice a week helps for catching up, and once a week can help for staying caught up.
Know how your student learns. Students have different strengths. Visual vs Auditory vs Tactile helps me know how best to convey ideas.
Every student I work with struggles with confidence. It is completely understandable and expected. So I would try to find the point where they began to struggle. If we can pinpoint the beginning of the struggle, we can start there, and suddenly, the child will feel like they aren't lost. It helps to create a baseline, and is a great place to start working from.
I suggest talking to the child's instructors at school as well. Teachers spend time with the students, and their experience and time spent with the students is an invaluable resource. In my experience, the teachers often have remarkable insights, several of which directly contribute to breakthroughs with the student.