I have graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a Mechanical Engineering background. As an engineering student, the math never goes away! I have experience as a student mentor in Fall 2011 and Spring 2012 at UTD and helped many people with their homework problems, so I am not new when people want help on their assignments. I am fearless especially when it comes to pre-algebra, algebra, college algebra, trig, pre-calculus, calculus problems. I have tutored many high school and middle school students in math related subjects back when I was a member of National Honors Society. In addition, back when I was in elementary school, I have participated in numerous number sense and problem solving competitions. I am a very patient teacher and look forward to make mathematical problem solving understandable to the best of my ability.
I also play the violin for a hobby, and had at least a decade of experience playing. I have achieved concertmaster positions for many concerts and gave lessons to middle school students. I was accepted in the TMEA All Region Philharmonic Orchestra back in 2007 through blind life auditioning and qualified to audition for All State as well. I have the proclivity to learn extremely difficult violin pieces and techniques.
I was a long distance runner as well. I have run many 5Ks throughout senior high, and completed my first marathon in April 2009. Afterward, I participated in gymnastics, circus arts, yoga, and contortion as personal enrichment.
Ka Him’s Qualifications
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: The University of Texas at Dallas - Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering
Q & A
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
In order to ensure that students retain the material that I have taught them, it's very important to give them similar types of questions that they have in their homework, quiz/test/exam corrections, and reviews for exams. Sometimes, adding a twist to the problems will tell whether the student understands the concept that is taught.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
To build a student's confidence in tackling difficult problems, sometimes it is necessary to revert back to working on very simple problems and work our way up. This will help take care of conceptual confusion. Doing difficult problems assigned with a weak foundation will only cause careless mistakes and frustration, which will defeat the purpose of learning how to solve the problem.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
There are many topics that are covered in a math subject, and they will be followed by the schedule of the curriculum. Regarding school work, I will follow the topics taught and concentrate on the student's homework problems, quizzes, and performance on tests to see where the level of the student is. For test corrections, we will make sure that we correct all the missed questions and figure out why those questions were missed. For standardized tests, fundamentals are very important when solving problems. We will work and solve as many problems as needed in a step by step approach during a tutor session.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Every student works at a different pace. It is a mistake for me as a tutor to assume that a student understands a simple concept when it's actually not easy for the student, so it's crucial to make sure not to rush for the sake of covering as many concepts as possible, but rather cover the concepts in a way that the student understands what to do in a difficult situation before moving on to new things.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
It can widely vary from student to student. Sometimes, I may provide textbooks as a reference resource for understanding concepts, and sometimes, I can create random questions on the spot that are related to the material that the student is currently learning.
What is your teaching philosophy?
Help students understand and retain the material that they have learned in case they need it in the future.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
My first session would be to assess the student's questions regarding specific math related problems. It may be getting help for an upcoming test, help solving homework problems, or clarifying concepts with a student who is completely lost with the material given. I would schedule when, where, and how often it would be best for parents/students to meet for tutoring sessions.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I would teach the student concepts, and assign them problems that will help reinforce the concepts that are learned. Sometimes, I even write various level math problems related to the concepts that will be a challenge to make sure the student understands the material.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation comes with interest and direction. For the concepts that I teach, it's important to not go on a tangent to topics that are more difficult, which will confuse the student. To have a motivated student, it's best to have the student practice working on problems by themselves as the tutor watches through the process and corrects them as they work the problems.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would go back and clarify the definitions of the concepts initially, and I'd work problems that reinforce the concepts. Practicing by doing the problems is more effective than trying to memorize the steps to solve a problem.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
When reading, it's very important to underline keywords that are stated. Reread the question or instruction if necessary. Sometimes it is very easy to miss a word, which will lead to a wrong (or trick) answer as the student solves a certain problem.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The main strategies that I find most successful with students are working on problems over and over again to ensure that they understand how to solve the problems without my help. Follow the work to a question, cover up the work, and have the student redo the it in attempt to achieve the same answer. If the textbooks run out of questions, I can recreate a vast combination of similar math problems to enable a student's critical thinking on a certain math topic to make sure they are successful with a concept.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Most often, students despise math because they don't understand how to work a problem, or they are just completely frustrated from trying everything that they can. The easiest way is to start all the way back to square one as a last resort and work our way up to see where the student is struggling. If they lost confidence, I would provide the simplest questions that they know how to do in order to boost their confidence. Afterwards, I'd make the questions progressively harder. Soon, we will eventually be going back to work on the difficult questions.