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How To Teach Better? (Science)

"The best way to teach is to have no philosophy. It is to be chaotic and confusing in the sense that you use every possible way of doing it ... so as to catch this guy or that guy on hooks as you go along." - Richard Feynman

After providing private tuition for countless students in the past 3 years, I have received multiple testimonials from both parents and students stating that my teaching methods are really great; that they help the students gain interest and learn fast for the subject. Over the years, some tutors have asked me how did I do it and after reflecting for some time, I realised I have no proper answer (anti-climatic I know). It is to "use every possible way of doing it" just as what Richard Feynman said.

Why should we use every possible way to teach?

Different students learn differently. Some may prefer to learn through videos, some through real-life experiments, some through practicing assessment papers. The gravest sin we teachers can commit is trying to fit every student in the same box.

How do I approach the first lesson with the student?

What I usually do in my first few lessons with the student is to figure out the teaching style that works for them. How do I do that? I will usually start by asking the student about Science to gauge their interest in the subject. If they have a natural interest for the subject, they will ask many questions about it. You will hear questions such as why is the sky blue, why are dinosaurs extinct, how do we hear sound, what are black holes, etc (these are legit questions I have gotten from primary school students).

If they are interested in the subject, then it saves me from the first and most tedious step: Cultivating an interest for Science. I might then move on to show them videos on Science (some channels that I recommend include Veritasium, Actionlab, Brave Wilderness). After this, I might try and blow their minds with Science facts or perform Science experiments for them to see.

All these are done for me to see which style intrigues the student the most. I will then use that particular style more often during lessons.

Conclusion (and some ranting)

There is nothing more satisfying as a teacher than to see your student enjoying your lessons and even looking forward to them. It is truly fulfilling when you know you are helping the student improve in their results and helping them gain more interest in the subject at the same time. I believe it starts with having the right attitude as a teacher. We cannot see tutoring as just a part-time job. It isn't just a part-time job because you are directly impacting another life and your time with them will have a lasting impact. I know that I'm sounding very idealistic but that is how I truly feel about education. It should be done by the right people with the right heart.

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