A photo of Brian, a tutor from The College of William And Mary

Brian

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Hello! I am a semi-retired professional. I served in the United States Army for 23 years culminating as an Assistant Professor at the United States Military Academy, West Point. I taught 6-8 grade mathematics in the inner city of East Harlem, NY successfully bringing grades 6-8 from 0% proficiency to the highest scoring school in the Manhattan Region of the Archdiocese. I started working with Varsity Tutors to supplement my income, and decided that with enough tutoring clients, I could enjoy a more flexible lifestyle. I consult with the Board of Directors with the Archdiocese of New York as we develop the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics curriculum. The flexible work schedule of Varsity Tutors allows me to investigate my interests and passions of theater, writing, and triathlon.

Brian’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: The College of William And Mary - Bachelor of Science, Biology, General

Graduate Degree: The University of Maine - Master of Science, Spatial Information Engineering

Hobbies

Training for triathlons and acting in Regional Theaters.

Tutoring Subjects

ACT Prep

Algebra

Algebra 2

Biology

College English

Elementary Math

Elementary School Math

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Writing

English

ESL/ELL

Geology

Geometry

High School Biology

High School English

High School Writing

ISEE Prep

ISEE- Lower Level

ISEE- Primary

Math

Middle School Math

Middle School Reading

Middle School Science

Other

PSAT Prep

REGENTS Prep

SAT Prep

SAT Math

Science

SHSAT Prep

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization

Test Prep

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

A student must be taught how to learn. I work with a student to determine personal learning style to guide them to understanding how personal strengths can be used to make learning more efficient. Learning how to learn is critical.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

A student will become an independent learner, if you allow personal discovery while providing thorough and consistent feedback. A student must learn to challenge themselves and convention.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

A teacher/tutor must have a joy and passion for the subject that they teach. Motivation is about the energy exchanged during a session.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

A student that has difficulty learning a skill or concept is missing a critical learning point or process that was presented previously. I would begin to scaffold learning from an early point in the child's education. We would determine the point of beginning, at which the child understood confidently....and work forward until the point of confusion is identified.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

As a math based tutor, this is particularly challenging. I learned as a middle school math teacher that many students reading at the 3rd grade level simply can not comprehend the instructions or word problems in an 8th Grade textbook. I approach every session as a reading / math lesson.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

I like to give a performance task. I prefer to give at a grade level lower than current grade, so the student is confident. As I meet with the student more frequently, I start to accelerate the challenging nature of the tasks.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

By knowing a student's interests, I can tailor questions related to an individual's interests. I tend to focus mostly on mathematics, so I'd help a student understand the relevance of mathematics to real life.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

Review questions, online assessments, and spot quizzes.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

A student must succeed. I would start the student at a learning level that is easily achievable (take foundation skills associated with current tasks and ensure those skills are solidly understood). Work predominately with level 1 and 2 questions, which are interspersed with level 3 and 4 questions.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I assess student learning through graded practice (homework), observing the comments provided by teachers, as well as quizzes. A student must be given opportunities of both a formative and summative experience to determine learning.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

A student's attention requires the use of a multi-modal approach to learning. Models, diagrams, word problems, etc. I ask specifically what works for the student.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

I rely on the textbook and materials given by the teacher. Also, I use online tools to augment study.

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

In the first session, I focus on the student-tutor bond by getting to know a student as an individual. I want to understand what interests a student so I can find learning materials that would be exciting.