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Stephen

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I am an experienced mathematics tutor and mechanical engineering instructor. I have privately tutored for the past 6 years and am proficient in most high school and college-level math, as well as engineering and physics courses. I am a graduate of The University of Tennessee with both an M.S. Mechanical Engineering and an MBA. I excelled as a student through preparation, hard work, dedication, and most importantly a passion for my education, and I carry these pursuits with me as a tutor. My goal as a tutor is to enhance the educational experience of all of my students, improving both their ability and desire to learn.

Stephen’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Tennessee - Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering

Graduate Degree: University of Tennessee - Masters, Mechanical Engineering, Business Administration

Hobbies

Guitar, Math, Movies, Golf, Basketball, Running, Coffee, Traveling, Ping Pong


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

My philosophy is that students want to understand the purpose behind what they are learning. Using thorough examples and real life applications, I aim to provide a full tutoring experience, not just show students how to get the answer but why that answer is important. This especially makes for a fun learning environment and a higher level of motivation within my students.

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

It is important to gain a reference point for the learning experience and to make my students feel comfortable in the learning environment. My first lesson consists of a brief practice session, reviewing some basic to intermediate level concepts. This allows me to plan future lessons and prepare a set of goals that are achievable for each individual student no matter where they are in their understanding. Secondly, I like to tell my students about myself and explain some of the challenges I have overcome so that they can relate and find commonalities between us. This is essential to the tutor and student relationship and keeps my students excited for the lessons to come.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I teach my students the "why" and not the "how." When a student understands the purpose behind the solution, they are in a better position to ask the right questions and have the passion to learn a particular subject area. Additionally, math is a subject where concepts build on themselves; therefore, I aim for 100% proficiency in the foundation concepts so that students are prepared to challenge themselves as the school year progresses.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

It really depends on the students. Some students are results oriented, and for these individuals, I focus on progress reporting and practice testing to keep them driven toward higher marks. Each of us is inspired in different ways, so I ask my students what motivates them, and I tailor the experience to meet their needs.

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

I ask my students a lot of questions, such as "Do you understand me so far?" or "What in particular is confusing you?" Once we have established the challenges, I let the student work problems independently. and I only intervene when absolutely necessary. When this does not work, I think of new ways and examples to approach from. Often the first angle of attack is not successful, but a change of perspective can work wonders in our minds.

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

I would recommend an English tutor. Mathematics is my expertise, but I know my weaknesses just as I know my strengths.