I just finished a year as a college professor at a prestigious small liberal arts college, where I taught and mentored over a hundred students. I can tutor a variety of different subjects, from math and computer science / computer programming, to European history.
I grew up in Glasgow Scotland, and moved to the United States 7 years ago. I hold degrees in physics, math, and history from the University of Cambridge and from Princeton University. I've also spent some time working as a software developer and particularly enjoy programming in Python.
Students have described me in evaluations as "patient," "engaging and enthusiastic," and "passionate" about my teaching. I'm always striving to become a better teacher and love developing new ways to explain difficult concepts.
University of Cambridge - Bachelors, Math/Physics
Princeton University - PhD, History of Science
What is your teaching philosophy?
We learn best as active participants. In my sessions, we work together through particular concrete examples and problems, pausing at points where things appear difficult or mysterious, and then reviewing what we already know and how it can help us to make progress. There's an old saying: tell me and I'll forget; show me and I'll remember; involve me and I will understand. In my experience, one-on-one tutoring sessions are perfect for allowing students to get really involved in the material and in their own learning process.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
We'll start by reviewing the student's class curriculum and prior experience with the material. I'll then ask a student to tell me three big things they find challenging or would really like to work on understanding better. We'd write down those goals and review them periodically during later sessions.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I seek to give students the tools to learn, and not just ask "How do we solve this particular problem?," but ask "How do we go about approaching large classes of problems?" We also work on study skills and time management, and make plans for what the student will do in their own time.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I like to tell students that everyone finds learning hard and frustrating at times. I try to encourage them to adopt what Psychologist Carol Dweck calls a 'growth mindset,' in which challenges and failure are how we grow and learn, and ability isn't something permanently fixed, but shaped by effort and attitude.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
There's always more than one way to view a concept. If a student finds one approach difficult, we can try another way of seeing the same thing. Often, it can help to break down a skill or concept into smaller pieces until each of those pieces become manageable or something we can already do.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
We practice reading together. I encourage the student to tell me what the passage means in their own words, and work on encouraging the skills of looking up or researching difficult concepts, so students can move forward with challenging texts on their own.