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Marvin

My professional background includes teaching and administration within culturally diverse learning communities. I've served as a private tutor for over 20 years. I have a BS in Mathematics and a Master’s degree in cross-cultural education, and have been using this knowledge both in and out of the classroom. Given Varsity tutors service a very diverse clientele of students, understanding the diverse needs of students has been my formula for high student achievement.

During my tenure as a teacher, I have worked with honors, mainstream, and ELD students. I have also been responsible for writing curriculum in math for after school programs, and for the use of integrating technology in the classroom at the middle and high school levels. In an administrative capacity, I served as Assistant Principal of two separate institutions that are National Blue Ribbon California Distinguished schools. These roles not only enabled me to gain invaluable experience in instructional leadership, but also helped me understand the importance of having strong human relation skills.

After being in education for over 18 years, I realize that this profession is a true calling in life. Serving in the elementary, middle, and high school levels have allowed me to recognize how parent/student desires evolve, but at the same time recognize what needs remain fundamental; i.e. support, effective tutorial programs, and high academic standards. Given the myriad of skills and knowledge gained from these experiences, I feel equipped to perform as a professional tutor who can diagnose the needs and develop effective interventions for students, provide quality one-on-one tutoring, and help maintain a high performing learning community where all students reach their greatest potential.

Undergraduate Degree:

 Loyola Marymount University - Bachelors, Mathematics

Graduate Degree:

 National University - Masters, Cross Cultural Teaching

Music, Outdoor Sports, Hiking

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe that all students have the ability to learn, and tutoring is a perfect platform to supplement, supplant, or enhance a child's educational experience.

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

Outside of the initial greetings and introductions, I'd take a few moments to discuss with the student their areas of weakness and if they'd prefer to spend most of the session reviewing or getting ahead in the next academic topic of concern.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

The best way to help students become an independent learner is to create accountability goals. Meaning, give them study strategies such as doing at least five additional problems not assigned for homework, and at the bare minimum read ahead on the next lesson.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Students are best motivated by focusing on what content they already have mastery and then building upon that in incremental steps. Math is a subject that builds upon the previous concept.

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

If a student is having difficulty, we explore the math problem step by step. Once we are able to diagnose the area of weakness, we resolve the matter and practice and review the concept. From there, we help show how the correction helps develop mastery of the overall concept.

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

As a means to help reading comprehension, have students review books that are picture based such as magazines and periodicals. Within the context of reading a passage where other resources aren't accessible, I'd have students identify items like topic sentences, body, conclusion, and cue words. It's helpful for them to actually underline these parts of the passage so that the processing becomes more explicit.

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

Finding ways of building trust are key to helping a student be most successful. For example, helping them solve those two or three math problems they didn't understand is critical. After that, have the student try a similar problem on his or her own. Success in that attempt really makes a huge difference.

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

One way to motivate students is to provide a real life application of the subject matter. For example, an Algebra 2 student may be working on hyperbolic equations and I could relay to them how these equations are used in calculating car depreciation or value of used cars. Relevance of the subject matter helps students develop a better appreciation for the area of struggle.

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

Once I recognize the child's learning style (kinesthetic, auditory, visual), I would then focus on techniques with those modalities. Monitoring and adjusting, repetition, and having the student in their own words convey to me what they've learned will help me know they understand the material.

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

To build confidence, we first focus on areas that the student has the strongest grasp of the material. From there, we build upon that area and connect it to learning within the areas of weakness.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Given my area of expertise is mathematics, I'd give the student a simple 2 to 3 problem assessment within the respective subject matter. This would allow me to see what component to focus on.

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

I try to pay attention to body language in working one on one with students. In many cases, this language will manifest the child's frustration in working on a specific concept. It also shows if they are beginning to understand the concepts being presented albeit a smile or not appearing as tense.

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

I normally bring a laptop, paper, writing utensils, calculator, and when necessary hard bound resource materials.