I have a B.S in Biomedical Engineering from IIT and a Master's degree in Bioinformatics. I have been working as a tutor at a community college for a year and a half now, and I'm CLRA certified. I tutor pre-algebra, intermediate algebra, college algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus I, and statistics (Including statistics tests on TI83/84). My tutoring experience has been rewarding, as I have had the opportunity to meet many students with diverse cultural and academic backgrounds.
It's my goal as a tutor to help students grasp the concepts and learn how to apply them, rather than simply accumulate information. I believe in students capabilities to learn and excel in math. During tutoring sessions, I do my best to break down the math problems into simpler ones, allowing the student to figure out the solution for the problem by him/herself. That way, I ensure that the student will be able to retrieve their math skills during the exams and score well.
Illinois Institute of Technology - BS, Biomedical Engineering
University of Illinois at Chicago - Master of Eng., Bioinformatics
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe students are capable of learning math and excel in it if they have the necessary skills to do so. During tutoring sessions, I do my best to keep the students engaged by asking them questions that will lead them to figure out the solution by themselves. That way, I ensure that the students will be able to do similar problems independently and score well on the exams.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
After introducing myself, I ask the student "how can I help you today"? After I get an idea about the amount of material that needs to be covered during the tutoring session, I set a time frame and discuss with the students the amount of material that can be covered during the current session. This shouldn't take more than five minutes. The next step is to start working on the problems, during which, concepts may be reviewed/discussed.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I always prefer to have the student do most of the problems him/herself by asking the student a series of simple questions that should lead them to the answer.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I never tell the student that this answer is wrong, but rather go over the concepts or the basics the student needs to secure in order to avoid such a mistake. I always use words like "awesome" or "You got it" when they get the answer right to keep them motivated and encouraged to learn more.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I'd keep simplifying the concepts/skills by breaking them down into simpler ones. Perhaps, I would discuss other concepts that underlie the concept the student has difficulty learning.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I make sure that the students know the necessary idioms/phrases needed to understand the passage they read. If the students lack the background necessary to understand the topic, then I would perhaps suggest they read other topics that will help them understand the passage they need to work on.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Asking the student what part of the problems he/she doesn't understand, having him/her talk about the approach he/she used to solve the problem, and then identifying what skills we need to work on to help the student achieve his/her goals.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Giving several "interesting" examples that will help the student understand the concepts/skills . For example, if the student has difficulty understanding ratios, and I learned he/she enjoys cooking, I might give an example about how ratios are used in food recipes.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
-Asking the student similar questions that apply the concepts/skills we worked on during the session and see how he/she would approach them. -Asking the student to give a quick outline for the concepts/skills we went on over the tutoring session.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Practice makes perfect! I always advise the student to practice more problems. These problems can be their HW assignments or extra problems from the textbook. I also tell the student to start redoing their HW problems two weeks before the exam to get more comfortable doing them.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Mainly through asking a student questions about how they would approach a math problem. Looking at the student's solution may reveal what areas they need help in the most.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Every student is different, I always ask the student if they want to try solving the problem after giving a similar example. Some students need more examples before they feel ready to try solving the problems themselves.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I prefer using the student's textbook. That way, I have a reliable reference that won't deviate from the student's class requirements/expectations since math problems can be solved using different techniques. However, I may use HW assignments from a similar textbook, made up questions that demonstrate the concepts I'm tutoring, and/or HW assignments from other universities.