Math is my favorite subject. No matter what career field someone is going into math matters. At the minimum, it helps us learn logic and different ways of thinking.
I tutor because I like to share knowledge. I want to help others understand the value in learning various topics by connecting them to their real world applications. I've tutored math in the past and worked as a teaching assistant for a Calculus class while as an undergrad.
I am a computer engineer, who works and is going to school for a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering. My research is focused on helping stroke survivors and arm amputees get better physical therapy results. I have 2 B.S. degrees and an M.S.
For fun I do martial arts, read, and play pub trivia and board games with friends. I am an avid stamp collector as well. I also (sort of) like to travel. Hate the travel part, but enjoy myself once I get there :). Outside of the US, I have been to Portugal, Italy, Rep. of Macedonia, Scotland, British Columbia, Canada and Ireland, so far.
New Jersey Institute of Technology - Bachelors, Mathematical Sciences
George Washington University - Masters, Computer Science
College Computer Science
High School Computer Science
Technology and Computer Science
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Listen to the student explain what they perceive to be the problem, and work to gain an understanding of the last point of true understanding the student has and build from that.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Find different ways to show it; explain it. The best teacher I ever had was one who never got upset with me when I didn't understand something, she took it on herself that she needed to find a different way to explain the concept to me and would keep trying until she found something that worked.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I try to determine what they are interested in or have a passion for and show how the subject can help them with that passion. Be it sports, hobbies or something else, it provides a foundation to build upon.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Relate the subject to something they are interested in, while at the same time breaking the topic into smaller pieces so that the student can see obvious improvements. Success breeds more success.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I use a combination of 'test' type questions and also asking the student to explain the reasoning towards getting the answer back to me. If you can teach someone else the topic, you understand it.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Set the student up for success, either through the use of small incremental learning chunks or by pushing the student to articulate the ways he/she is already successful in the subject. To me, it all circles back to showing the student the real world application of the topic.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
This is a bit of trial and error. First, I ask them what they think they need. I ask to see examples of work and provide some test questions, if possible, to get specifics. Math questions, a lot of times, involve solving several concepts at once, so I'd look to apply ones that focus on specific skills and determine where the student is struggling.
What is your teaching philosophy?
Practice, practice, practice. You can't get better if you don't practice. I prefer to focus on a concept, explain it, and then teach it through practice problems that are done first by me, and then the student, with me working with them to connect the steps from start to finish.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Example problems. The only way to get better is to practice.