I have always enjoyed Math that I have been put in advanced mathematics class since middle school. Throughout high school I had the nickname "Mathman" and I have always enjoyed tutoring since I first started doing it as a volunteer in high school. I continued to help in Mathematics throughout my collegiate career for local elementary and middle school students in Tallahassee while attending Florida State University. Even though my primary career objective is to continue in the video production industry, I have had thoughts/dream of heading back to my old high school and becoming a Math teacher since I loved the way my mentor, Mr. Gulla (My Pre-cal and Calculus teacher), was able to teach me shortcuts in one of the harder math subjects and continued to make it fun. I would like to pay it forward and inspire a new generation of students that math can be fun and easy with cool tips and tricks.
Florida State University - Bachelors, Entrepreneurship
ACT Math: 31
SAT Math: 780
What is your teaching philosophy?
Being patient with the student, making sure they understand all concepts before moving on, teaching any fun shortcuts or tips and tricks to getting a problem solved, and I just want the student to grow an interest or appreciation in math, having that good sense of accomplishment when all is said and done.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Introduction and learning more about each other to evaluate at what level the student may be at and what difficulties they may encounter. Get them comfortable or laughing and having fun to make them feel more at ease. I would be excited and nervous too, but it's always rewarding when they learned something they never knew before or have a stronger grasp on a subject they weren't so strong in before.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Practice makes perfect. They should understand all of the usual sayings, "I won't be there on the day of exam" and other similar quotes, but even if a homework only requires about 1 or 2 problems to be solved - I like to push the limit a little bit and change up the equation slightly to see if they truly feel like they grasp the material or need a little more time, so when it comes to Test Day or when studying independently, they can feel more at ease that with more practice comes more perfection.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Many types of reward systems, and it varies from student to students - a majority of the time a good positive reinforcement is the commendation on solving one on their own or even with small amounts of my help - I still offer praise because it always feels good and keeps them in a positive mentality to support them. Others may need a little extra push (pending dietary restrictions, age, subject material, etc.), a small candy or sticker for a job well done, and starting a reward system can also do the trick to keeping them motivated.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would find many ways to come about the answer or find other ways that students learned the skill/concept. If they don't understand my teachings, we would go over it a couple times, but if I sense the student is getting frustrated or losing interest at that particular time from repetition, I would want to move on to the next skill/concept to get their attention again and loosen them up to feel better, and attempt to go back at a later time when the student feels more comfortable instead of "beating a dead horse" at the wrong time.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I understand there can be instances of long word problems that we may have to face. I would sound it out as patiently as possible, read it along with them, so they can grasp letters, syllables, and words at their pace. Luckily, math deals a lot with numbers, and when they are word problems, we want to focus on the numbers that matter within the problem and draw out whatever the story is trying to convey. For example, if it the train leaving a station at a certain time and traveling at a certain speed or the area/perimeter of the sheep herded within a pen. Drawing out the story so they can link pictures to the words can help create a "mental movie."
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Making connections at a personal level so they can know me not only as a tutor but also as another friend. I have had the great opportunity to be able to have been taught by several great math teachers, and I have heard negative stories of how students may not like math because they don't like their teachers or their styles of teaching (too fast, monotonous, confusing, hard to understand), and I have taken all of that negative feedback from those experiences and just learned from them to not fall into any of those types of stereotypes.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
- Being exciting - Finding a good study environment - Getting to know the student - Giving the student a sense of control (I'm not a big bad adult; I am a friendly person who loves math and wants them to also grow an appreciation for it) - Giving praise when earned
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Active probing; not to the point that it would feel like a police investigation, but just making sure to see if they get it or not. Offering constructive feedback instead of criticizing, role reversal to see if they can teach me how they went through it step by step, active listening and watching how they show their work, how they come about the answer and seeing if I can offer a quicker or easier suggestion to coming about an answer, relating the material our everyday lives if possible.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Setting attainable goals so the student may feel a sense of purpose or drive to reach that feat. Encouragement, along with a log or grade tracker to see their improvement or progress and anything they may need to work on. Always offering praise first and evaluating anything afterwards with some constructive feedback after a positive statement (if needed).
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Through time, after getting to know the student and seeing their strengths, interests, psychological and emotional responses when facing a problem they can do easily in their sleep, or one that looks Chinese to them - being able to assist and grow/develop those skills. I feel like I am good at evaluating human psychology, and I have tutored many students before; I still enjoy that when they come across pi or anything math-related, they associate that with me and how I helped them in the past. I feel that I am relatable and I have been told in the past that when I listen to somebody, I am able to look at them into their eyes and nod agreeably to make them feel like the smartest person in the room, and show them that all my focus is on them and their needs.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I understand that no two students are the same, so it will take more than patience and my math ability to be able to get through to these students. My passion for math and goal of having math seem as easy as the ABC's is what motivates me to adapt and learn the social cues on what works and what doesn't for a student to be able to demonstrate progress with them. I would feel ashamed to show up to a session for hours and have them learn nothing by the end of it; it's always great when they are able to take something away from every session.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
The usual would be paper, pencil, textbook, calculator, and in some instances outside resources (additional problems online) in case the material wasn't well covered within the textbook or if there's no textbook available. I would also rely on the online scientific calculator - so I would say my laptop would also help.