I went to University of California, Berkeley, where I majored in Applied Mathematics and minored in Math and Science Education. As part of my minor, I volunteered over a hundred hours in middle and high school math classes around the Bay Area. At this time, I was also working at UC Berkeley’s Student Learning Center as a writing tutor, where I guided a diverse set of students through the stages of essay writing. For the past decade, I’ve also privately tutored students in math, reading comprehension, writing, and SAT preparation. Though I’m passionate about all these subjects, math and SAT preparation continue to be my favorite subjects to tutor. It’s so intensely gratifying to watch students gain the tools to succeed, and learn how to break complex concepts down into their constituent parts.
University of California Berkeley - Bachelors, Applied Mathematics
SAT Verbal: 760
10th Grade Math
10th Grade Reading
10th Grade Writing
11th Grade Math
11th Grade Reading
11th Grade Writing
12th Grade Math
12th Grade Reading
12th Grade Writing
6th Grade Math
7th Grade Math
8th Grade Math
9th Grade Math
COMPASS Mathematics Prep
Elementary School Math
GRE Subject Test in Mathematics
GRE Subject Tests
High School Business
High School English
High School Writing
HSPT Quantitative Prep
IB Mathematical Studies
Study Skills and Organization
Technology and Computer Science
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe in helping students help themselves. My approach is maximum independence and responsibility for the student. I have seen the incredible results of the Socratic method, and put more emphasis on the whys rather than the procedures. And finally, I care about my students. I care about seeing them gain confidence in their abilities. I care about them exceling at their classes. And this care propels me to go the extra mile.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session, I will ask the student about his/her class. The focus of this session is getting a feel for what areas the student struggles with, what kind of learner they are, and what their goals are for tutoring. I also use this first session to set a friendly tone, and get to know the student, to make him/her feel at ease.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
The Socratic method. Instead of just giving the student answers (explaining "at" them and thus losing engagement), I ask them specific guiding questions that will help them find the answer themselves. Repeating this process enough times lets it sink in, sharpening the student's problem-solving skills.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Positivity! Focusing not just on the struggle, but on the achievement! Also, working with the student to see what their learning style is. For example, some students find that dancing a graph is much more memorable than drawing it. Others find that singing the quadratic formula really solidifies it in their memories. There are so many ways to keep your eyes on the prize!
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would use my knowledge of their learning style to craft personalized problems. Or use their interests to find cool, real-world applications of what they're learning.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
There are so many ways to assess a student's understanding of the material. One particular strategy that I'm fond of is role-reversal: I am the student and you are the teacher; can you take me through this problem and answer my questions?
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I always congratulate them on getting through tough concepts. Too often, tutors focus only on what the student doesn't know, and don't reward the student's achievements enough. Recognizing the student's triumphs, doling out words of encouraging, staying positive - all of these go far in building a student's confidence.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Usually, I would assess their completion of different problems, and note which areas they were struggling with.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Depending on what the goals are for tutoring sessions, I use the student's textbook, past tests, assigned homework, test prep books, or the vast array of resources from the tutoring platform.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I first use inquiry-based learning strategies to identify areas that the student is struggling with, then focus on those areas with an empowering approach geared towards that student's learning style.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would first break it down into its constituent parts. Does the student have all the background knowledge needed to solve this problem? Is this a problem of motivation; can I rephrase the question in a more interesting way? How far does he/she get before getting stuck? Can we look through our resources (e.g. textbook) to locate a worked-out solution to a similar problem?