I am currently attending Colorado School of Mines in Golden Colorado pursuing a Civil Engineering Degree with an emphasis on structural design. I enjoy tutoring because I love it when a student has an ah ha moment and their face just lights up as they grasp a new concept that they were struggling with and find themselves getting excited with the material. I am really passionate about providing the tools and time necessary for my students to have their ah ha moments. I really love tutoring math and physics because students don’t usually see the practicality or applicability of what they are learning and this degrades from the educational experience. I love to provide my students with examples of how the “tedious” equations or formulas are actually used to create many of the objects of technology that they use every day. However I am particularly passionate about teaching Physics 1: Mechanics. This is one of the first classes that students begin to take the math they have learned and apply it to real world problems. When I have free time I typically spend it outdoors going backpacking, climbing 14’ers, volunteering, and spending time with my friends having random adventures.
Colorado School of Mines - Current Undergrad, Civil Engineering
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that every student has the ability to learn anything they put their mind to. I have found that a majority of the time it is just a confidence problem. Typically I find that student’s confidence problem comes from only being taught the material one way or in one style. I try to provide the student I am tutoring with multiple examples/explanations of how to work out the solution of the problem.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I will usually use the first session to get to know the student and find out where he/she is struggling, and what/where they want to get by use of this tutoring, and use that information to determine an action plan to get them where they want to be (and sometimes push them a little further).
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By showing the student different online resources and techniques that I have learned in college that have greatly improved my effectiveness as a student. So this would be everything from how to effectively study material to how to set up a problem set to study off of.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I typically will work through examples starting with something very simple and have the problems get incrementally more difficult. I would take the time to explain the problem and use probing/prompting questions to get the student to start thinking about the problem and not just the solution.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I have found that when working with students it is best to have the student work the problem and describe what they are doing and why they are doing it. This makes the student start to focus in and really concentrate on the problem. When he/she becomes stuck I will A. Ask thought provoking/probing questions that lead towards the answer that will allow the student to move on, or B. Provide examples that focus on the concept that the student is struggling with so as to boost their confidence in that area.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would use my favorite: the Edge method. This is a method where first the concept/problem is explained to the student in entirety. Next a quick example/demonstration of the problem is done. After this the tutor guides the student through a problem. Finally, the tutor challenges the student to try a problem on his/her own, asking as few questions as possible in this last step so as to enable the student to succeed on his/her own. If needed you can also conclude this by having the student quickly teach/describe the concept back to you.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I really love the online tutor platform because it allows the student or I to upload worksheets and problems onto both of our screens. I can then use these materials to guide the student through the steps of solving the problems given on the worksheets (for physics I really like using YouTube to display quick 1-minute videos of the concept/idea being taught in action).