Hey, I'm Tom. I graduated in May of '16 from Beloit College, a small liberal arts college in Wisconsin, with a degree in physics. Currently, I am a data science intern for a start-up called Polco where I am learning software and analytical skills. I love snowboarding, mountain biking, playing music, and hiking so am thrilled to be living in Denver. Intellectually, I am interested in math, physics, and computer science. I think that one of the best ways to learn is by teaching so I look forward to sharing what I know and deepening my understanding along the way.
Beloit College - Bachelors, Physics
What is your teaching philosophy?
I think that learning by doing is a great approach. I've retained most of my knowledge from working on projects where I apply the concepts I am learning to something I care about, instead of memorizing concepts in a vacuum. For the same reason, I'm not a huge fan of lecture style teaching. It often fails to relate to the multiple backgrounds in a lecture hall. Fortunately, when tutoring one on one, you can get to know the student and relate the concepts in a way that makes sense to them. Everyone learns differently, so it is my job to find the best way and adapt my style accordingly.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I like to get to know a student's background, interests, and understand how they learn best. Also, I'd like the student to get to know me. By forming a relationship and understanding each other's approach, it will make teaching and learning more enjoyable.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Relating topics to what stimulates a student's interests can instill a desire to learn. Too often, teachers fail to relate what they are teaching to the potential applications or benefits to the students who learn them. Instead, learning becomes a game to memorize something just to regurgitate it on the next test. By giving students the tools and some potential applications, I think they are much more likely to want to learn more on their own. This was a big change in mindset for me, which unfortunately didn't occur until college. When I finally understood what I could do with knowledge to interact in the world and create new technologies, I started studying topics that I wasn't going to be tested on but which I had a genuine interest in.