My teaching education began in high school when I became an instructor at a summer camp, teaching dance classes. I received my Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from The University of Oregon three years later. Teaching has always been a part of my life, and I have had the tremendous good fortune of having had extraordinary math teachers in my life. I know from my experience tutoring younger students that not everybody is so lucky to have brilliant and enthusiastic instructors. My goal as a tutor is to pass that same level of love and enthusiasm for math that I was given by my teachers.
Outside of my academic life, I am a circus performer, and I often draw from this experience in my sample problems. For example, when discussing object motion, a demonstration of some toss juggling can invigorate a math lesson, showing some real world application for the subject matter at hand.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Oregon - Bachelor of Science, Mathematics
SAT Math: 740
SAT Verbal: 700
SAT Mathematics Level 2: 790
SAT Subject Test in Chemistry: 800
SAT Subject Test in Biology E/M: 750
Dance, juggling, and the circus life
10th Grade Math
11th Grade Math
12th Grade Math
SAT Subject Tests Prep
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that people want to learn, and that when presented with the information, they will learn it. I don't try to assign steps to problems, or make my students memorize complicated formulas. I break down the problem to its components, and we take the problem apart, and then, once the student understands each component, we put it back together, and then solving it is easy.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
If I have not already sent them a diagnostic test in their subject, we will start by doing some sample problems of whatever it is they are working on in class, or, if they are prepping for a test, we will take a sample test so I can see where the student is getting stuck, or where the gap in their knowledge is.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
The process of breaking a problem down to its components is a process that we work on in sessions, and this process can be applied to any math problem or subject matter. Every idea in math is built on smaller ideas, and if you understand the base ideas, you can understand the higher ideas. So when a student learns how to see the pieces of the puzzle rather than the whole image, they are then able to apply that in the future, when I'm not there to help.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Due to a failing in our system, some people have the idea that math is boring, or that some people just are not good at it. If a student is lacking motivation due to self-confidence issues, or they believe they are just 'not good' at math, we go back to the foundations to find the things that they are good at, and we build from there. We find the places where the student is solid, and we start moving outwards from that point of confidence. If a student is lacking motivation due to boredom, I will do my best to come up with a problem relevant to their life that would involve the math we are working on. This is not, of course, always possible, but I often find simply being excited and energetic about math can lead a student to follow suit.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
When a student has difficulty learning a concept, it is, in nearly all cases, because there is some foundational knowledge that the student is missing, usually through no fault of their own. There are some concepts that, for people who understand it, aren't being taken for granted by the student. We break down each problem until we find the piece that the student doesn't understand fully, and explain or prove that piece.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?