During my time in college and after graduation, I have spent vast amounts of time either tutoring or being tutored in the basic sciences. As a Biology major with a pre-med emphasis, I have developed a strong background in the basic sciences (Chemistry, Biology, Physics) that has been enhanced by tutoring Human Physiology while in college and high school Biology through Horizons for Youth. While having performed well in the basic sciences in college, I have managed to gain an even more thorough mastery of the material through MCAT preparation.
Part of what makes a great tutor is not only having a strong knowledge foundation, but an ability to listen to the tutee and convey that information in a way that makes sense to them. My tutoring philosophy revolves around the Socratic method: namely, I try to help the student discover the subject for themselves versus me simply giving them the answers. I believe that (guided) personal discovery leads not only to greater understanding, but greater knowledge retention as well.
Additionally, as someone who played Division III basketball in college, I have also been doing private basketball lessons where many of the same concepts, albeit in a different context, of tutoring school subjects apply.
In my free time, I enjoy playing basketball, researching genealogy, and studying improvisation through Second City.
Macalester College - BA, Biology
MCAT Biological Sciences: 13
MCAT Physical Sciences: 12
High School Biology
High School Chemistry
High School Physics
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is based on the Socratic method: namely, I try to help the student discover the subject for themselves versus me simply giving them the answers. I like to ask leading questions that allow the student to critically think about topics and come to the correct answer in a more natural fashion than simply "being told" how to do a problem.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First and foremost, I try to gauge as best as possible who the student is, what type of a person they are, and how best I should approach teaching in their particular circumstance. One of the ways I do this is by asking them to tell me about the class, how they feel about the subject, and a little about their own background in school/that particular subject.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
One of the core tenets of my teaching style is to teach students broadly applicable skills that allow them to succeed in school and in life generally, not just that particular subject. Students will forget the majority of the facts and figures they learn in a given class, however study skills and the proper way to approach different subjects stay with a student for much longer.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I like to tell students anecdotes about my own struggles with much of the material I teach. Once a student learns how to properly think about a given subject, much of the frustration and difficulty tends to melt away as the student can rely on logic and reasoning skills to figure out an answer as opposed to rote memorization.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
In my opinion, the best thing for a teacher or tutor to do is to teach the student how to think about a given subject. Once a student understands the rules of the game, suddenly it becomes much easier.