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Matthew

I'm a varsity swimmer and a pre-med student at the University of Puget Sound in Washington State. Besides school and swimming, music has always been a side project, and I have taught myself piano, guitar, ukulele, saxophone, and the standard drum set as instruments to explore my passion. During my (scarce) free time, I enjoy camping in the national parks of Washington and relaxing with my friends.

I graduated from Deerfield High School in 2012, and will graduate the University of Puget Sound in May, 2016 as a Molecular Cellular Biology major and a Mathematics minor. As captain and upperclassman of the swim team, it is my responsibility to help younger students with homework and studies, especially on classes I have already taken. I have been volunteering my tutor skills to other students in the biology department at my school for the past 3 years. Just as important, I have been helping my younger sister (a sophomore in high school)with her homework every time I come back home from college.

I worked as a swim coach and swim instructor for over 7 years now, and have developed important teaching skills such as patience, sympathy, and open-mindedness to alternative approaches of learning.

Tutoring is the perfect combination of two of the most important goals of my life; learning and helping others. I have a unique approach to problem solving that frames thinking to face any intellectual challenge one may encounter. This involves a step-by-step analysis of any problem:

1. What is the goal of the problem (what skill or concept is being tested)?
2. What information is given?
3. What information do we already know?
4. What additional information must we obtain to solve the problem?
5. How can we organize all of this information into a solution?

This process applies to math and science, English, essay writing, and even situations as simple as memorization and reading comprehension. As every student has a different way of thinking, these steps serve to simply organize their own thoughts, and not force a student to think a certain way that may not be natural to them.

My favorite subjects to tutor would be essay writing, math, and science as I love questions that not only test what I know, but force me to think in ways I have never thought before.

Undergraduate Degree:

 University Puget Sound - Current Undergrad, Molecular Cellular Biology

ACT Composite: 32

ACT English: 30

ACT Math: 30

ACT Reading: 34

ACT Science: 33

Swimming, Photography, Guitar, Piano, Drums, Basketball, Camping

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy involves 3 main steps: 1. What is the goal? 2. What information do we know? 3. How do we use this information to reach our goal? With this structure, adapted to questions ranging from biology to mathematics and even to writing essays, we can organize our thought process to face intimidating situations.

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

I would of course, introduce myself. I would get right down to business and ask them what troubles them most, and begin addressing challenges one at a time. And I would probably teach them some of my favorite mind games!

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Intimidation, frustration, and a lack of confidence are the obstacles in the way of intellectual and academic success. Every student is capable of reaching a higher potential of learning. By turning learning into a type of game, and breaking down problems into smaller, manageable parts, I never need to provide the answers to students; they will draw upon their own style of learning to face any challenge.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Lack of motivation is either caused by boredom or a lack of sufficient challenge, or it is caused by frustration and repeated failure. Every challenge in school can be seen as a game, in the same way a video game might be played. Every essay can be seen as a tool of self-expression, similar to art. Every biology and science question that tests memorization can be approached as a physical challenge, somewhat similar to sports. Making school into a game is what allows students to have fun and take pride in their work.

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

Of course this depends on the skill or concept. Every problem can be approached from a dozen different directions, and often one teaching style for one student is not a good fit for another.