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Thomas

I hail from the greater Chicago area, and I am a senior at DePaul University studying Computer Science and Game Development. While programming is exciting to me, one of my other passions is teaching the math and science subjects that accompany Computer Science. I learned very early on that it wasn't the material that was most essential to learning, but it is the proper learning environment that really pushes students to do their best. That is the goal of my tutoring sessions: to create an environment where it's great to ask questions, and perfectly okay to not quite get it at first.

Undergraduate Degree:

 DePaul University - Bachelors, Computer Science

ACT Composite: 32

ACT English: 30

ACT Math: 35

ACT Reading: 30

ACT Science: 34

programming, gaming, baseball, basketball

What is your teaching philosophy?

When I teach computer science, I try to instill the necessary traits to learn in an ever changing environment. The fact of the matter is, you're going to make mistakes; nobody learns completely by reading the documentation. Most times it's trial and error, and that is what my teaching philosophy entails.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

In a first lesson, I try to gauge what they know about the topic at hand so I can tailor the lesson to their specific needs. If they are already knowledgeable about one topic, but only need help with a small subset, I don't want to waste their time and money.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I think that just doing research and then just opening up an IDE and trying things is really the way to go with programming. Built in functions are built by people too, and have their own quirks. It’s just trying things on your own, and trial and error will get you far.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

With programming, it's easy to feel discouraged. Debugging code can take hours. I think the key to being motivated is knowing when to take breaks and taking it one line at a time.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

I like to provide sample code with print statements and comments to accurately describe what's going on in the code, and then take it line by line and try to put it all together.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

I think tackling the most pressing issue is the way to go. Forget about the other things the student is having trouble with; tackle each task one at a time.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

I think it’s cool to link it to real-world scenarios that the student is interesting in. Like if someone was a history buff, but needed help with logs, you could talk about how you can use logs and exponentials to model populations. Additionally, I think showing the student that they can do it, by understanding one task, helps a lot.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I like to do practice problems. I feel it’s the easiest to gauge methods that a student uses to achieve their goals.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

If a student can understand just one topic that they struggled with before, I feel it really helps them be confident enough to continue with understanding the material.