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Thomas

As much as I see myself as a qualified, knowledgeable tutor, I think it's just as important for me to motivate, lead, inspire, and mentor my students. Do you have test anxiety? Math anxiety, specifically? Is it difficult for you to create, organize, and execute a study plan? Or do you simply want straightforward, content-based prep and study help? In either case, I'm excited to help you achieve your academic and standardized test goals.

My academic credentials consist of a BA in Political Science and German from the University of Rhode Island, and a Master's degree in Environmental Management from Duke University. I speak German and Spanish. I'm confident tutoring several standardized tests, including SSAT, ISEE, SAT, ACT, and GRE.

Undergraduate Degree:

 University of Rhode Island - Bachelors, Political Science & German

Graduate Degree:

 Duke University - Masters, Environmental Economics and Policy

Basketball, snowboarding, soccer, languages, travel, philanthropy, current events

Conversational German

Conversational Spanish

German 1

German 2

German 3

German 4

GRE

ISEE-Middle Level Quantitative Reasoning

ISEE-Upper Level Mathematics Achievement

What is your teaching philosophy?

I come from a holistic teaching background. I think it's as important to address study skills, test anxiety issues, and self-confidence challenges as it is to teach straightforward material to students. I see what I do as mentoring as much as tutoring, and I live that philosophy with my students.

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

One word: inventory. I want to know the student's level of familiarity with the subject at hand, whether it is SAT, GRE, German, Spanish, etc. I want to know if they have a sense of what works for him, how she likes to learn, what her academic history looks like, how busy his weekly schedule is, and lots more. I want to spend time getting to know the student, and to give the student an opportunity to learn about me. Toward the end of the first session, we can dip our toes into some exercises in the given topic, and agree on homework for next session, if applicable.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I focus primarily on empowering my students to achieve from within themselves. If I function as a crutch, I'm not doing my job. Empowerment starts with honest self-evaluation on the student's part, along with my assistance. The student and I need to identify her strengths, weaknesses, goals, deeper motivations for wanting to achieve academically, or on a given standardized test. I can teach a student all the content in the world, but if he's not building mental structures to house the content, or developing organizational systems to schedule time to work on the material, then we need to go back and work on the basic foundations of achievement: self-belief, confidence, and internal drive for success. I'm there to coach the student, to mentor him, to bring across difficult concepts in a way she can understand, to listen to her, and to support him through the tutoring process.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I always like to start by asking students what they know, instead of what they don't know. In other words, what about this difficult skill or concept, even if it's just a small bit, do they understand? We'll start there, and build off of the student's foundation. Knowledge is linked to other knowledge. It doesn't exist in a vacuum. Students learn new concepts by relating them to those subjects they already know. I use this basic truth to help my students progressively build upon their knowledge base.