Years ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I studied math at the University of Virginia. I was a transfer student, as I started my education in the community college system. I ultimately got my BA in Mathematics with a minor in Education. My plan was to finish college and go immediately into teaching high school math. As it turned out, that didn't happen. I got side-tracked and, enjoying math so much, I stuck around UVA for another two years and earned a MS in Math. I then got drafted by the NSA and did cyptopgraphy for a few years. Now I'm back on (the education) track. I've been teaching math and statistics at ITT-Tech for a few years and, so far, I've taught two sections of college algebra at El Camino Community College. I've also been tutoring math since high school. When I attended Central Virginia Community College, I worked in the math lab, administering tests and tutoring fellow students. I prefer to tutor algebra, statistics, or calculus, but any level of math is fine as well.
University of Virginia-Main Campus - BA, Math / Education
University of Virginia-Main Campus - MS, Math / Statistics
What is your teaching philosophy?
I focus on examples first, so the student gains confidence and feels they can do the homework or tests. Then, when the student is ready, I will explain more detail or theory.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
We usually work on homework problems initially. This way, the student gets some required work done right away. After that, I try to see how the student wants to progress. Sometimes, they like to do homework. Other students want to learn more depth in the subject beyond just doing problems.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I always show the student how I approach a problem -- the steps I go through in my mind. At first, it may seem alien, but later, they learn an approach that they can use independently.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I'm always questioning the student about the subject. As I ask more questions, the student slowly begins to obtain a deep understanding.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I usually use paper and pencil, along with a TI graphing calculator. Today's calculators are so advanced, nothing else is usually necessary.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Confidence comes from success. Success comes from working many, many problems -- starting simple and slowly growing in complexity.