I am a PhD Physicist with a passion for teaching, and especially tutoring. I love when a student makes a turnaround from feeling lost in a subject to gaining confidence and learning to tackle the material on their own.
I mainly tutor in physics and mathematics, as they are my strongest subjects. I tutor everything from introductory mathematics and physics on up to junior or senior level undergraduate material. I I have been tutoring for over 8 years now, and still enjoy the feeling of helping others make sense of a new subject, or preparing students for new subjects in their academic career.
Francis Marion University - BS, Computational Physics and Mathematics
Clemson University - PhD, Physics
ACCUPLACER College-Level Math Prep
CLEP College Mathematics
High School Physics
Special & General Relativity
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that everyone can learn. Not everyone learns material in the same way, however. My job is to figure out how a student thinks and to present the material in such a way as to be as clear as possible to that student. Their success is ultimately my success.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
During the initial meeting, I usually try to pinpoint areas that need improvement. It is often the case that material builds on itself during the semester/class, so if some key details at the beginning are foggy, that usually translates to misunderstandings later on. My job is to find and clarify those problem areas so that the student can move forward and learn new ideas and techniques, and ideally, get higher grades and confidence.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Students should learn to question everything and learn to derive results for themselves, or at least seek out those derivations and follow along. Equations in math and physics come from somewhere. They are not made up relations. To be a great independent learner, a student needs a great knowledge-base to build on. Once that is in place, the sky's the limit as to how far they can go.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
It is critical to take a subject one step at a time and to acknowledge all of the small achievements as a student progresses. Rome wasn't built in a day. Learning and understanding a subject takes time. There is no substitution for time spent practicing and looking further into the subject matter for more content.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Different angles of approach are usually needed. If the material can in some way be related to real-world experiences the student has had, that is usually the key. Finding the language in which to convey the material is half of the battle.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Students who struggle with reading comprehension are usually trying to take it too fast, or are getting distracted by their surroundings. It is best to break down reading sections into bite-size pieces that can be digested before moving on. At the end, all of those pieces will be tied together to form the entire picture.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I can't stress how important it is to be able to get a glimpse at how a person thinks and to take advantage of that in teaching that person.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I've found that showing a student that the subjects they are studying are actually useful in a real-world setting, and not restricted to being solely in a textbook, can give life to a subject and make it exciting.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
With a lot of problems, many questions and angles can be explored from one single concept. I ask the student questions about each component of the concept, mainly so they can see how all of the separate applications and ideas tie together to make a bigger picture.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Small victories lead to confidence and intuition in a subject. The pace will be set by the student, but it is important to cover everything thoroughly and to get constant feedback along the way. My goal is for the student to reach a point in the subject where they no longer need me and are confident enough to think for themselves.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
The first step is to work through a few problems to identify where the trouble is occurring. After that, the student and I will come up with a plan to address those issues and move forward from there.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
It is not my job to simply state the facts of a subject, or to work problems. It is my job to see what makes a student tick and to tailor my teaching style to accommodate the student's needs. Whatever it takes.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Usually I try to follow whatever text they are using, but I often make up my own problems to explore areas I feel the text should have spent more time one. Pictures and examples are a key part of my teaching, as well as getting feedback from the student.