Hi, my name is Ryan Chang, a recent graduate of the UofA in Molecular Biology and Music pursuing a career in the field of medicine. During college, I had the fortunate privilege of discovering I have a passion for teaching helping others. Below is a brief outline of my tutoring experience.
I have had the pleasure of tutoring throughout college beginning in my sophomore year where I was an undergraduate TA for lower level math classes (i.e. up to calculus 1) for 3 years; then I was selected by my introductory biology professor to become her preceptor, in which I held weekly office hours and conducted review sessions for the upcoming tests. I continued to be a preceptor for my biology professor and the department throughout my following years in college. I started teaching because it seemed, at the time, just a fairly easy part-time job, but I realized I stayed at both positions throughout college because I discovered I had a passion for teaching and genuinely enjoyed what I did.
Aside from academics, I also enjoy teaching violin. Music has been a lifelong passion of my starting at the age of 5. In high school, I selected for the All-state orchestra 3 years and Regional orchestra all 4 years including concertmaster my senior year. I have earned several accolades including highest rating at the Arizona State Solo Competition and continued playing throughout college as a member of the UA Philharmonic. Music has opened doors and brought me to places I never thought possible.
More about me: As I said earlier, I am hoping to become a physician, but in my current gap year, I work as a ER scribe at Tucson Medical Center. Outside of teaching and work, I love staying active including rock climbing and working out (but that is not to say I don't love, as much as the next person, a lazy day with Netflix), and bowling. I pride myself in being patient and figuring out what teaching style works best with a given student; I would love the opportunity to share what I have to offer.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Arizona - Bachelor of Science, Biomedical Engineering/Violin
Rock climbing, bowling, working out, Netflix
MCAT Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
Elementary School Math
GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment
High School Biology
High School Chemistry
High School Physics
MCAT Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy encompasses patience, application to cement knowledge, fostering independence, and building a rapport with the student. Too often I see tutors who approach a problem in a set way who do not understand how to teach to the student's strengths. This leads to the student not genuinely understanding the material and becoming dependent on the tutor for help. The ultimate goal of tutoring is to assist the student so that they can ultimately do the problems themselves when it comes time for the exam, whether this is by showing them more effective studying strategies, different approaches to problems, or filling in gaps in their knowledge.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
On a first session, I typically like to get to know the student and parent outside of school, such as their interests, hobbies, sports, etc. This establishes foundational rapport with the student and parent. Then I ask them what they have been struggling with and whether or not they know why they are struggling. After this, I then ask the student to provide the problems that we are working with that day and assess their knowledge; by doing so I can identify the gap in knowledge or what they are misunderstanding. From there, we can begin the tutoring.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I encourage them to work with me for problems they do not initially understand, and then when I feel that they are ready to take on similar problems themselves, I let them do it on their own. Regardless of if they make a mistake or not, I go over the problem and each of their steps to cement this knowledge. If a mistake is made, I try to have the student identify it themselves rather than me pointing it out. Mistakes are where that "lightbulb" moment comes from. Then I will provide the student with a variation on the problem that requires them to apply what they know, but is something they have not seen yet. If they are able to answer the variation, then I feel confident that they would be able to do it on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I provide positive feedback and try to help the student understand that mistakes are how we learn. I consider patience one of my strongest attributes, and this play a key role in helping students stay motivated. If a student sees the tutor becoming frustrated, then more often than not, the student will become frustrated as well.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student has difficult learning a skill or concept, I try to provide multiple approaches or methods to solving the problem in hopes that one of the methods works to the student's strengths. I also encourage the student to practice through repetition-- but effective repetition. Evaluate each step after the problem is done and try to identify your own mistakes, if any are there. Then I provide the student with a more difficult problem that requires them to apply what they know beyond what the original problem is asking for. This ensures that the student has effectively learned the topic and is capable of going a step beyond if necessary.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The most effective strategies I have found to be successful begin with assessing the student's knowledge in order to understand what they are missing. Diving into a problem without assessing the student's knowledge is an ineffective way to tutor. Then I have the student try to solve the problem to the best of their ability and we go from there. Sometimes it is as simple as teaching them a formula they do not know, or other times it may require me to solve the problem first and have them emulate my steps in a different problem. With the latter method, caution should be taken, because you need to ensure the student understands why these steps work, and that they are not just simply following 1-2-3- steps to solve this problem. If they do not understand why, then they may not be able to solve future problems that might have a slight variation to it.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I like to provide the student with stories of how the knowledge was useful for me, whether it was in college or beyond. I also like to provide applications when possible. These show the student that what they are learning is not just for rote memorization, but can be applied in different and interesting ways in real life.