Grace has tutored with JB Tutoring for a couple semesters now.
She is currently pursuing a bachelors degree in Chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin. Grace specializes in high school tutoring and has tutored students in a variety of STEM subjects, including Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, and Chemistry. In this article, you will hear from Grace herself, and learn why she loves tutoring and what study skills and organizational habits have helped her succeed, both as a tutor and as a student.
1. What is the best part of being a tutor? Why do your tutor?
My favorite part of being a tutor is the problem solving that accompanies having to adjust your teaching style to how the student learns. If something is not clicking for the student, I have to try to explain it in a different way. The most rewarding part of this process is seeing the moment of realization that students have when they finally understand a concept after much frustration. Beyond that, I tutor because I value serving others in the Austin community, and because I value nurturing students' confidence in their academic abilities. I hope that through tutoring, my students come to view their courses with excitement rather than apprehension.
2. What do you think is the most challenging part of being a student today?
I think the most challenging part of being a student today is having to navigate all of the external noise that comes from comparison, social media, and unrealistic expectations. All of these factors can crush a student’s self-esteem before they even attempt a subject or skill. In other words, they expect failure before they begin. Yet, students can be resilient in the face of these factors. They can rise above the noise and tune into what is truly important, such as learning and identifying what they are passionate about.
3. What study skills, strategies, or organizational habits have helped you succeed as a student?
In order to stay organized, I always write all of my assignments and meetings down in a planner. That way, everything I have to accomplish, from homework to sports to studying for exams, is all in one place. I have found that it can also be a lot of fun to organize these assignments and obligations with different colored pens, and to cross off tasks once I have completed them. Another thing that has helped me is that whenever I have a lot of studying to do, I always set a timer for 1 hour and work non-stop during that time. When the timer goes off, I then set another timer for 15 minutes, and spend that time taking a break. This strategy helps me stay motivated and never get bored or burned out with the information. During my break, I usually talk with friends, walk around, or listen to music. This helps me stay on task during the hour of work because I know that I have the break to look forward to.
4. So many students struggle with personal motivation. What keeps you motivated?
The satisfaction I find through problem-solving and goal-setting keeps me motivated. I have found that it feels so much more rewarding to actually work through a problem rather than simply be given the answer. Problem solving makes me feel smarter, and ultimately allows me to understand the concept more fully. I also find fulfillment in setting goals and then following a systematic process to achieve them. I feel that it is important to have feasible daily goals, such as completing all homework assignments. These daily goals foster habits and self-discipline that aid in pursuit of larger goals, such as going to a prestigious college. Moreover, they ensure that every day I am achieving something. This process of taking steps daily makes the big goals seem less daunting.
5. What information or advice do you wish someone would have given you in a) elementary school, b) middle school, c) high school, d) college?
In high school, I wish someone had encouraged me to be deeply involved in one club or organization associated with the school. I think it is great to have a wide variety of interests and experiences to put on your resume, but truly immersing oneself in one particular sport or a club can deepen your relationships with teachers and peers in high school. It can also provide you with meaningful experiences to talk about in your college essays, and just make the overall high school experience more enjoyable.
6. What is your favorite subject (or two) to tutor? Why?
I love tutoring high school math! Anything from Geometry to AP Calculus. I find it so rewarding to give my students the tools and knowledge they need to solve problems instantly. I get to watch them build upon their skills throughout the semester and ultimately become more confident and less apprehensive towards math than when they began tutoring with me.
7. Is there any additional advice, comments about education/learning, or background about yourself that you would like to share with parents or students?
I am currently a Chemistry major at the University of Texas at Austin, so if your student is interested in the STEM field I would love to talk to them about it!