I have always enjoyed educating others. As an informal science educator, I enjoy helping people discover and appreciate the intricacies and beauty of science and mathematics. Throughout college I worked as a math tutor helping students with courses calculus and above. Once in graduate school, I had my first teaching opportunity as a teaching assistant for Honors General Chemistry. I strove to utilize the lessons I learned as a math tutor during my first teaching assistant position at Cornell University. After finishing my PhD, I took a position as a science educator, which has allowed me to continue my love of translating science into everyday language with enthusiasm and accuracy.
Western Washington University - Bachelors, Chemistry and Mathematics
Cornell University - PhD, Materials Chemistry
What is your teaching philosophy?
For tutoring, I want to guide learners and help them understand new topics. I believe tutoring sessions should focus on developing good strategies instead of a second lecture.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session I would like to understand what your learning style is, learn your goals, and identify some trouble areas before determining the best way for us to work together to achieve your educational goals.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I believe this comes from how we interact during a tutoring session. I prefer to help guide students through topics, instead of spelling out each step. I want you to leave each session with confidence in your problem solving abilities.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
As cliche as it sounds, I would find out what motivates you and try to incorporate it into each session.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would try to reproach the subject in a new way, especially using the strategies we've identified as being helpful.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
One thing I've found helpful is to create a word to symbol dictionary. Word problems can be a huge hurdle for many students, but learning how to effectively translate the words to the symbols is key to success in many fields.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would start by creating small victories for the students. It is a lot easier to be engaged in a topic you feel successful in. Then I would also try to frame topics and questions in context of topics that excite the student.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
One method that I like is to have a student explain their process. Many people can get the right answer by following a formula, but don't understand why or how it works. Then they can't solve the problem when the situation changes slightly.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I start with trying to create small victories and successes and building up from there.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
There are a couple of ways. The first is to talk with the student, they usually know where they are struggling, but don't always know why. Then, observe them work through a problem and then target the steps that cause the most disruption.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I try to choose examples and explanations based on the student's learning style. For example, if a student is a visual learner we can identify visual cues to help the student through their problems.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
When possible, I try to use techniques similar to what they experience in the classroom to give them the most success in the classroom. However, I understand if that style isn't working for the student, we can get more creative and move beyond their classroom experience.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I find that talking to the student to identify their learning style and then working through some practice problems helps us identify helpful strategies to make our tutoring sessions successful