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Syed

I graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in Biological Chemistry and since then I have been involved in life science research and teaching. I began tutoring in high school for AP classes, continued in college with a tutoring and mentoring program, and then became a professional educator as a teaching assistant. I love learning because it is the best way for a society to improve itself and I am honored when students choose me to aid them on their educational path.

My teaching philosophy is based on the firm belief that every student has what it takes to succeed and my role as their tutor is to gently guide and cheer them on. After teaching subjects ranging from AP US History to graduate level biochemistry to the MCAT, I have dealt with a variety of students and know I can help anyone.

When I am not working or tutoring I enjoy soccer and rock climbing. My ideal day consists of a pool, an ice-cold coke, a book, and my cat curled up against me.

Undergraduate Degree:

 University of Chicago - Bachelors, Biological Chemistry

MCAT Biological Sciences: 12

MCAT Physical Sciences: 13

MCAT Verbal Reasoning: 11

Soccer, basketball, rock climbing, football, reading, video games, CATS

College Biology

College Chemistry

High School Biology

High School Chemistry

Other

Summer

What is your teaching philosophy?

A teacher's role is to guide and encourage a student, oftentimes the emotional aspect is as critical for success as the academic one.

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

My first sessions will always begin with contextualizing the subject and diagnosing the student's strengths and weaknesses. I will also establish expectations and goals and work with the student to design a schedule and plan to reach them.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Establishing student buy-in and getting them to self-motivate will be the best way to help them become independent learners.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I will encourage them when they get it right, when they are wrong but thinking creatively and critically, and even when they are wrong but still trying. I will never let them get down on themselves and I will make sure they realize that even though I am guiding them, they are the ones making the actual progress.

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

I will have them teach it to me to better diagnose the stumbling block, and then I will re-contextualize the issue within an analogous framework.

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

Repetition to reinforce critical skills and knowledge, explaining the "why" and logic of a problem, and ensuring the student remains optimistic are the strategies I use to ensure success.

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

If possible I will connect it to their overall career goals. If that is not possible then I will tell the students about what the subject has accomplished and why it is important. The most important part will be the student's own sense of reward and discovery as they make progress through their problem areas.

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

As they learn something I will constantly check by having them teach it back to me. I will also push them to make predictions and connections with other subject areas so they are reinforcing their knowledge.

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

I will build a student's confidence by using the Socratic method of asking questions. As they answer me and make their way through a problem they will realize that my impact was minimal and all the credit for coming to the solution belongs to themselves.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I will use diagnostic tests and discussions about the material to determine where the student stands and what they need to accomplish. I will also look at their past work to understand their strengths and weaknesses.

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

Whiteboards, colored pens, highlighters, flash cards, and problem sets.

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

I have them break down the logic of the sentences and paragraphs involved and then demonstrate their understanding to me by rewriting it.

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

I adapt to my student's needs by first diagnosing their problems areas and then adapting my lesson plans to their strengths and weaknesses.