I finished an accelerated Masters program in Economics from CUNY Hunter College in Spring of 2014. My thesis had to do with adapting mathematical models to better understand Russian history. I'm currently pursuing a PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from UC Davis with an aim to have a research career. I have been a tutor in one capacity or another for over six years now. I started as a TA for the Economics department and have gradually taken on private students as well, teaching anything from Statistics and Econometrics to Mathematics. Over the years I have learned what students need in order to understand a subject well and that understanding comes from two key things: the patience of the teacher and the understanding of first principles. As such, my teaching philosophy is that it is important to teach the very foundations of a subject so that the student can gain a deeper understanding and be able to, in some sense, derive out whatever he or she needs with minimal memorization. Although this requires a bit more time, it leads to larger returns in the end. My favorite subject to teach is Economics because it deals with mathematical concepts but with an eye to understanding human behavior and society. It is also very fun to teach because it works well with my teaching philosophy. If one knows the foundations of Economics, he or she can understand even the most complex and involved problems in Economics. My interests outside of academia are primarily reading fiction by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Gustave Flaubert, or Michael Chabon and reading philosophy by Karl Marx or Georg Hegel. I am also very interested in music, particularly progressive rock from the '70s, and I play the guitar and piano.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: CUNY Hunter College - Bachelor in Arts, Philosophy and Economics
Graduate Degree: CUNY Hunter College - Masters, Economics
Graduate Degree: University of California-Davis - PHD, Agricultural and Resource Economics (Development Economics)
Playing music, reading books, and hanging out
10th Grade Math
11th Grade Math
12th Grade Math
6th Grade Math
6th Grade Science
7th Grade Math
7th Grade Science
8th Grade Math
8th Grade Science
9th Grade Math
AP Music Theory
AP US History
CLEP Principles of Microeconomics
College Level American History
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Science
GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment
GRE Subject Test in Mathematics
High School Business
High School Economics
High School Level American History
IB Business & Management
IB Business & Management SL
IB Economics HL
IB Economics SL
IB Philosophy HL
IB Philosophy SL
Middle School Science
PC Basic Computer Skills
Technology and Computer Science
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy has to do with concentrating on first principles and then working from there, so as to get a firmer and more fundamental understanding of the material that's being taught.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first session with a student is where I'd discuss with my student about what their goals are with tutoring. Is it a particular grade, or a particular level of understanding? I want to make sure to know how to tailor my tutoring so as to help my students achieve the particular goal they're after.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
When a student has a difficulty with a particular skill, that's the time to slow it down and pinpoint what exactly isn't clicking for the student. It's precisely in those situations where true learning takes place, because we can help to dissect what's causing confusion and then rectify whatever issue there is with the material at hand.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Every student has the capacity and potential to grasp a subject by themselves, but they just might not know the strategies necessary in order to do so. As a tutor, I think it's important to not only resolve any confusion a student has about a topic, but also to show them more generally how to approach a problem they don't understand so that they can tackle it on their own the next time they encounter it.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation is a difficult thing to have, especially in the face of subjects that you may not be passionate about or are confused about. The best way to instill motivation is to show that any problem is "tackleable," and that every student has the capacity to figure out and learn from that problem. Sometimes it's just a matter of being there to support them while they conquer it.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The best strategies are to personalize the tutoring to their needs. It's important to find out what a student needs from the tutoring as well as what is causing the student to struggle through a particular subject. On the first day, I like to go through a little bit of the material and a get a feel for how the student thinks and learns so that I can plan a lesson around their particular needs.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
When learning new material, it is often not enough to teach and then go on to the subject. Rather, I like to use a technique that I call "adaptive foundations." When teaching a new topic and then going on to a topic that builds on the previous one, I like to ask questions that will help the student understand how the new topic builds on the foundations of previous topics.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
My favorite materials are simply a pen and paper. It is important in many subjects (especially in quantitative ones) to understand topics from a variety of angles. If one learns a new equation, it is important to also understand that equation geometrically, as well as foundationally. Foundational understanding has to do with where that equation fits in with the subject as a whole. If the student understands the subject holistically as a body of knowledge, he will be able to tackle any similar problem easily, because they understand where it fits into the subject as a whole.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Every student is different in two key ways: how they go about interpreting a problem and how they go about solving it. It's important to get to know a student and find out how they tick in terms of those two factors. After that determination has been made, it is then important to answer questions and teach material with the student's particularities in mind.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Oftentimes, when a student has trouble with reading comprehension, they get frustrated and embarrassed. In that case, it becomes more important to reassure the student that the tutor is there to help. The tutor shouldn't badger the student by correcting every little mistake they might make, but rather be focused on helping the student gain confidence about their ability to read, while simultaneously pointing to ways to improve.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
When a student is struggling with a particular subject, it's important to a take a step back and discuss it more conceptually, rather than technically. That way, the student can see the big picture, as well as develop an intuition that will help them with the more technical portion of the subject.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
It is important to let a student figure things out for themselves and only step in to help when necessary for further learning. The better a student will get at applying the logic of a particular subject to a problem themselves, the more they will build confidence in it.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I think the first step is to just ask a student what they need! Tutoring is first and foremost a service and any service involves an explicit understanding between a tutor and a student about what the goals of tutoring should be.