A photo of Thomas, a tutor from Western Washington University

Thomas

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I have my B.S. in Chemistry, Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, and my J.D. (law degree). I am a patent attorney, which keeps me current and well-versed in a number of subjects. I enjoy working with young people, and put an emphasis on making learning fun and effective. No one student is the same, so I work to figure out what works best for each student. Much of my teaching knowledge comes from my time spent as a teaching assistant in graduate school, coupled with my more recent participation in youth ministry where I taught a class and Boy Scouts, where I was an active member of my son's troop.

Thomas’ Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Western Washington University - Bachelor of Science, Chemistry/Biology

Graduate Degree: Indiana University-Bloomington - PHD, Molecular biology; law

Tutoring Subjects

Algebra

Algebra 2

Algebra 3/4

Biology

Biomedical Engineering

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Chemistry

College Algebra

College Biology

College Chemistry

Earth Science

Elementary Math

Elementary School Math

High School Biology

High School Chemistry

Intellectual Property Law

Law

Life Sciences

Math

Microbiology

Middle School Science

Physical Science

Science


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

Teaching has to be fun and challenging. At the end of the day, the most effective teachers are the ones who are entertaining and engage students.

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

Build rapport through a lot of fun, open-ended questions and have them ask the same of me. Figure out their needs, lay out a game plan, and dive in.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Teach them effective methods for being independent. Taking notes, drawing things out, making videos/recordings, whatever works for them.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Show them how the material is fun and relevant to them, as well as beneficial to learn.

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

Break it down and figure out what the obstacle(s) is to learning it, and then overcome it through various approaches.

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

Teach them techniques to make reading more dynamic, rather than a drill to start at one point and plow through to the end.

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

Those that make them the most engaged in the material. It might be asking them thought-provoking questions, or having them explain things to me in a way that make sense to them.

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

Show them that they can get it in a way that is fun and engaging. Also, point out the benefits of learning the material, and that it's relevant to them.

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

I am a fan of a modified Socratic method, where I ask questions to lead students down a path to make sure they understand the material.

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

Show them that no matter what the subject is, they can get it. It might take using approaches they've never been shown or thought of.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Ask them questions to understand where they're coming from, where they're at, and where they want to go moving forward.

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

Figure out what approaches work best for them. No one student is like another.

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

Any and all that might be helpful. I like to use whiteboards and draw/write while I talk. Also, I use media (video, recordings, etc.) to engage them.