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Ryan

I recently graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a B.S. in Physics, and I will be attending Northeastern University to continue my education with a Ph.D. in Physics. I love helping students succeed, and I bring a strong Math and Science background to help students struggling with these difficult subjects. I believe that the secret to succeeding in these subjects is not in memorizing solutions and equations, but by developing problem solving skills so students will know how to approach and set up problems in any STEM setting.

Undergraduate Degree:

 Worcester Polytechnic Institute - Bachelors, Physics

SAT Math: 800

SAT Writing: 770

GRE Quantitative: 167

GRE Verbal: 167

AP Chemistry: 5

AP Calculus AB: 5

AP Calculus BC: 5

AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism: 5

AP Physics C: Mechanics: 5

AP US History: 5

AP World History: 5

GRE Analytical Writing: 5

AP Computer Science A: 5

Aside from my passion for Physics, I enjoy playing music, skiing, running, ultimate frisbee and sailing.

What is your teaching philosophy?

In math and science, knowing how to set up and approach a problem is probably 75% of the battle. I believe that teaching these skills is very important and often overlooked in the classroom, leading to frustrated students feeling helpless who don't know where to begin. My teaching philosophy revolves around developing these skills so students can approach difficult subjects without this frustration.

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

I will use a typical first session to establish a baseline. I would come prepared with some evaluations for the client, so I could see what specific areas are causing the most trouble. For questions in these areas, I would ask the student to explain to me their thought process, so I can understand how to help them the most. Towards the end I would explain to them what areas I think they are struggling with and ask if they agree, and based on this information come up with a plan for the next few sessions.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

A good tutor can explain a topic so the student can understand. A great one teaches the student strategies to understand new topics themselves. In math and science, critical thinking and problem solving skills are the key to success. I believe repetition is the best way to teach these, so I will always make sure my students understand my thought processes and decisions. I also want to see their thought processes, so I will often have them explain problems to me so I can help them hone these skills.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Setting attainable goals is very important to me. I hope that my students never feel like the goal is impossible to attain, and I want to make sure to congratulate their progress. I try to find a balance between feeling challenged and confident when we finish a session.

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

I would first try to walk them through some example problems in that area. The most important thing to do is to help the feeling of being lost or helpless which can be so frustrating to deal with. Once a student knows how to approach the concept, they are in a much better position to succeed in that area, and it will even make lectures or homework more effective for the student.

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

I try to listen as much as possible. Successful tutors need to understand where their students are having trouble with the material, and the first session(s), in my opinion, should be entirely focused on the student and what is giving them trouble.

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

I would ask them, as part of the first session, what subjects they think they really understand well or might interest them. Sometimes, relating an explanation to something they already enjoy can work wonders by giving them a reference that they enjoy working with. A lot of skills are shared between subjects, and many times students have the skills necessary but can't figure out how to apply them. This helps them bridge the gap themselves while keeping them engaged.

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

Albert Einstein once said "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough". While this may be a bit intimidating, I agree with the message. Once the student can explain the material to me, I know they have completely mastered it, and they will be confident that they have as well.

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

By asking a student to try to explain the material to me, I often find that they know much more than they claim to know. This way, they get used to talking about the material, instead of just hearing or reading about it. This is a simple way make students more comfortable with the material, and therefore more confident with it.