I thoroughly enjoy and am excited by mathematics and the teaching of mathematics. The effect, I hope, is contagious; I feel my students can sense my enthusiasm and, because of that, become more interested in mathematics themselves. I have found that nothing is more motivational to students than genuine interest in what they are learning.
My mathematics teaching style features a variety of methods of instruction that depends on: 1) the subject matter of the lesson and 2) my understanding with how the individual student best learns mathematics. I believe that students learn mathematics best by doing mathematics and then working to communicate about mathematics. Communication is the key to success. Most students want to get the right answer and then go about their business, when in reality the beauty of Mathematics is the clear communication of the thought that derives a solution. By teaching how to communicate mathematics, the student learns to be confident in mathematics; confidence, in turn, breeds success in mathematics. To support this goal, I frequently use the Socratic Method to elicit mathematical thought and foster engagement with mathematical concepts.
I have found that using multiple representations of mathematical ideas (e.g., algebraic, graphical, and numerical) is beneficial for two reasons. First of all, different students learn in different ways, and one representation may be easier for a student to understand than another. Secondly, knowing multiple representations and methods of solution makes for better problem solving; if students know several ways of attacking a problem, then there is a better chance of them being able to solve it. I insist on the use of technology in my instruction, especially the use of calculators.
I strive to improve each and every time that I engage a student. Through my teaching style and methods described here, it is my hope that my students leave each session confident with their newly acquired understanding of their subject.
The Ohio State University - Bachelors, Secondary Education - Mathematics
What is your teaching philosophy?
Mathematics doesn't have to be numbers and X's and getting the right answer. It is a way to organize your thoughts, communicate what you know, and evaluate if what you are thinking makes sense. Look past the "right answer" and focus on the process, and then you will be successful.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
It depends on the student's needs. If they are interested in performing better on tests, then I would begin with looking at their previous performance to determine what areas of concern I can assess. Then, I'd begin to tutor towards those needs. If the student wants to supplement their learning, I would ask probing questions to get an understanding of how they grasp the topics they have learned and look for ways to improve upon their understanding.