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Angela

I graduated with a degree in Biology from Columbia University, where I honed my passion for teaching as a peer tutor for organic chemistry and as a teaching assistant for multiple biology courses. Since graduating in 2015, I have worked in a dermatology clinic as a medical assistant, and am delighted to be starting medical school in the fall.

While I tutor a broad range of topics, I am most passionate about science and reading/writing. While these seem like two entirely different subjects, I like to think of it this way - science is about understanding the world around us, which we access and make beautiful through literature. I have always enjoyed making these subjects as fun for my students to learn as they are for me to teach. My goal in teaching is to foster in my students a fiery curiosity, and enthusiasm for learning and critical thinking, and confidence in asking questions.

In my free time, I enjoy making music (I play the piano, flute, and guitar!), visiting art museums, and yoga.

Undergraduate Degree:

 Columbia University - Bachelors, Biology

SAT Composite: 2340

SAT Math: 800

SAT Verbal: 790

SAT Writing: 750

MCAT: 38

SAT Mathematics Level 2: 800

SAT Subject Test in Literature: 740

MCAT Biological Sciences: 14

MCAT Physical Sciences: 13

MCAT Verbal Reasoning: 11

Making music and art, literature and creative writing, yoga

College Biology

College English

General Biology

High School Biology

High School English

Homework Support

Other

SAT Subject Tests Prep

Summer

What is your teaching philosophy?

I strive to make my tutoring sessions conversations rather than lectures. It's so important for the teacher to really listen to the student - understand where the student is coming from, his/her background knowledge, and learning style so that the teacher can mold the lesson toward addressing the student's individual concerns. I always encourage students to ask questions. In general, it is the teacher's job to promote an open, encouraging atmosphere in which the student feels comfortable addressing his/her areas of improvement, and in which the teacher helps the student tackle those areas through positive reinforcement. The teacher should be an advocate for the student.

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

In a first session, I hope to pinpoint the specific areas in which the student is struggling. This can be accomplished by working through a practice exam or practice problems with the student, or discussing the results of a diagnostic test with them. I also like to create a schedule and a plan for our next sessions, so that we have a realistic goal in mind.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Allow the student time to figure problems out before you jump in. The tutor should be more of a guide than a solution. Instead of giving your student the answer when they are struggling, ask guiding questions, or give them hints. As they gradually begin to understand the material, this approach will allow them to feel more in control of their learning and build their confidence.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

To help a student stay motivated, I will end each session with a reminder of what they have accomplished, what they have done well, and maintain a positive attitude about their improvement. If they are struggling, I will adjust my teaching to a pace that suits them, and look for new ways to address their areas of weakness.

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

I would look for new ways to present the subject to them. I find diagrams and visuals to be very useful in breaking down complex concepts. Getting the student to look at the concept in different ways allows them to orient the concept in their minds. I would also find ways to connect the concept to others that they already know (for example, contextualize a math concept in real-world examples).

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

As they read a passage, I encourage them to make notes in the margins and to underline key phrases that demonstrate the passage's main ideas, the author's tone, the audience, difficult vocabulary, etc. I would encourage them to read deliberately, in a way that allows them to truly understand the intention behind the passage rather than simply reading words.

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

My students enjoy working through problems with me. I find that it is more useful to work through practice questions and address the concepts that come up rather than theorize about what may come up in a practice exam. Practice exams and diagnostic exams can be useful in this way - I usually have the student take the exam and then work go through each of the answers with them. After that, we then can address general areas that need improvement and work more conceptually to fill in those gaps.

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

I try to find real-world applications of that subject or concept. For example, if a student is struggling with reading comprehension, I may bring in an excerpt from a book that they have enjoyed reading in the past, and we will analyze that passage together and talk about how we can apply the skills we used on that passage to others.

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

If a student is asking questions, that is usually a good sign. As those questions get more and more specific, I become more confident that the student understands the skeleton of the concept and by asking questions, they are filling in the gaps of their understanding. Sometimes I also have the students talk me through their way of solving a particular problem so that I can understand their train of thought.

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

I make sure to praise the student when they solve a problem correctly. Even if they answer the problem incorrectly, I will be sure to positively reinforcement the parts of the question that they correctly understood, and address the incorrect points in a way that is constructive and nonjudgmental.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I like to evaluate a student's needs by having them do practice problems, then discussing the problems with them. This discussion would involve having them talk through their problem solving method with me, allowing me to understand their thought process when it comes to similar problems, so that I am able to give them specific advice.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

I gauge the student's learning style. For example, if they are a visual learner, I will incorporate drawings, diagrams, and charts into my teaching. If they like to work with their hands, I will create 3D models to help them understand the concept spatially.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

I like to have practice problems at hand, and blank paper for us to make charts and drawings on with pencils, with colored pens to highlight important information. If there is math involved, I like to use a calculator. I also bring a laptop with me - the internet can be a very useful tool, and I have several trusted websites that I like to refer to when the student and I want to look further into a subject.