Taylor P.
Helping Students Break Down Biology and Chemistry Content
M.S. Chemistry, South Dakota State University
Bachelor's Education Studies, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
B.Sc. Biology, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville


I completed the IB Diploma Program in 2008.

After receiving a B.S. in Biology Secondary Education and a minor in Chemistry in 2013, I completed the process to be certified to teach all levels of Biology and Chemistry for Grades 9-12 in two US states. I earned a M.S. in Chemistry with an emphasis in Chemical Education in 2018. During the completion of my graduate work, I completed both an Action Research project on Math prerequisites for success in Chemistry and engaged in protein research in two biochemistry labs.

Teaching Experience

I completed my “Student Teaching” in both Biology and Physical Science classrooms.
I then accepted a full-time teaching position in Kansas City, MO. I was there for 5 years and taught General Chemistry and AP Chemistry.
I then relocated and accepted a full-time teaching position in St. Louis, MO. I was there for one year, teaching Honors Biology and Genetics.
I am currently in my second year at a private 4-year university. I oversee supplemental instruction programs for a General Chemistry course, and lead recitation subsections for the course. I also co-teach two seminars that prepare student leaders to be academic mentors in Chemistry.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

I think it is important to discuss the student’s goals, both in tutoring and in their academics. I enjoy hearing what the student’s interests are and get to know them a little before diving into course content. We can then discuss how the student has been processing lecture material, their study habits, and how tutoring can help them master the course material.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Tutoring is not a place to simply receive answers. Tutoring is most effective when students are able to find new ways to approach the material and tackle any underlying misconceptions they might have. Students benefit from talking through problem solving methods and learning from their mistakes in a low risk setting.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I help students stay motivated by reminding them of their goals and encouraging them to have a growth mindset. Intelligence is not fixed and can always increase.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

If a student has difficulty learning a concept, I would try to bring in other resources to help the student better visualize the concept. If they are an auditory learner, then I will find an alternate explanation. It is also helpful to connect the topic to existing knowledge/material in order to promote better recall.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

I think it’s best to first revisit and unfamiliar vocabulary in the text. Then work on ways to annotate and deconstruct the text for key concepts. Then we can work on reconstructing those ideas together.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

With Science, I find that visualizing the concept can be very helpful for most students. I think it is also important to have the student understand the scale of the topics. If there is a lot of vocabulary, then it is also helpful to discuss robust study strategies that maximize retention of the material.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

I would try to connect the topic to something that they are interested in or remind them that perseverance and problem solving skills are crucial to any future career that they might intend to pursue.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I think you can tell that a student understands the material by the way that they explain their reasoning and connect the material to other topics.

How do you build a student’s confidence in a subject?

I think a student becomes more confident in a subject when they increase their understanding of the material rather than focus on increasing their simple recall or memorization.

How do you evaluate a student’s needs?

I frequently check-in and provide the student with “review” problems that connect past material to current concepts. It is also important to ensure the student is staying organized and planning ahead.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student’s needs?

Learning is not one-size-fits-all; however, there are teaching methods that capture the strengths in every student. I am able to adapt my questioning techniques to fit the current level of the student, while also prompting a higher level of thinking as understanding increases.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

I enjoy using animations and visuals in my sessions. I have a tablet and a document camera that I can use during sessions so that we can work on sketches and calculations together, as well. I think it is helpful to work on problems that are provided by the student’s instructor, but have a number of other textbooks that can be called upon for additional problems.

Teaching Skills

Subject Skill Level
Ecology and Environmental Biology
Education Studies
Human Biology

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