As a student myself, I have had great success in coursework and with standardized testing. I have a proven track record of taking that experience and applying it to boost both students' test scores and their true understanding of the material.
I have 3 years experience as a classroom teacher in a range of environments, along with 3 years tutoring experience. I have current teaching licenses in both Ohio and Maryland for grades 7-12 mathematics, although I am eager to expand my tutoring horizons! I have helped students succeed in math from Algebra 1 through Calculus, though I would be ready and willing to work on subjects from pre-algebra through Calculus 3 (and a bit beyond). I have also helped students preparing for the SAT, ACT, LSAT, and other standardized tests, and have tutored in chemistry and physics as well. I have worked successfully with dozens of students both in person and online.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Case Western Reserve University - Bachelor in Arts, Theater
Graduate Degree: John Carroll University - Masters in Education, 7-12 Mathematics Education
ACT Composite: 35
ACT English: 35
ACT Math: 34
ACT Reading: 36
ACT Science: 34
SAT Composite: 1600
SAT Math: 800
SAT Verbal: 800
playing lesser known board games, reading sci-fi
10th Grade Math
11th Grade Math
12th Grade Math
9th Grade Math
GRE Subject Test in Mathematics
High School English
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I find it best when a student is encouraged to share what they already know, and then build on that knowledge. Even if they think they know little, I will ask them to speculate and refine their knowledge from that point. This approach helps with increasing confidence, rooting out errors and weaknesses in understanding, and building true mastery -- and a feeling of mastery -- of the material. I am also a firm believer in learning by doing -- natural for mathematics, of course, where we can work through problem sets. That approach takes on slightly different forms with other subjects, but always centers around the student leading the work, with me assisting and supporting.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I will usually dig into the materials we have available -- but first, ask the student questions to know where they are starting from. Previous experience with the content/test (scores, previous coursework, etc.), how they like to learn, any learning challenges, etc. We will get to know each other a bit in order to have a foundation to build on, then dive right into working problems.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Students need to learn to work through problems on their own and have the confidence to do so as well. I will always ask the student questions to lead them to finding their own answers rather than simply giving answers. I will make sure they know when they had a good idea, even if it needs tweaking, in order to build confidence. I will model the thought processes they need to succeed, and especially point out when they are doing what I am (and not to be discouraged if I'm faster, since I have more experience after all).
How would you help a student stay motivated?
It depends greatly on the student and why their motivation is a challenge at the moment. So the first step is of course to investigate the problem by combining my own observations with asking the student for input directly. Then, there are any number of options-- from introducing more variety or shorter blocks of time on a single activity, taking a break, making the connections to the big picture ('why you need to know this') stronger, or simply encouraging them to stick with it. If it's an issue on a longer timeframe, we would need to have a deeper conversation about the block: what is the student's goal and how do the activities we are doing connect to it? That will likely refocus the activities, the student, or both.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
The first thing is to try another angle: a different metaphor, another perspective, etc. If that doesn't click, ask follow-up questions to get at the root of the issue: basic principles, misunderstanding of details, or something else. Then, address that issue.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The best thing to start with is finding out where the student is now and is coming from. Academic coursework, previous standardized test scores, and so on can be helpful, but also relevant personal background. That way, I can tailor my approach to fit what they already have covered and what they need to boost. I keep things fun, which helps both motivation and memory.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Two ways: first, tie it to something they do care about. Even if it's as basic as "colleges make you do it," that is at least a starting place. Second, and more importantly, a lot of not liking a subject is frustration, and by improving skills as well as pointing out that everyone struggles with certain specific concepts and it's ok, that frustration is reduced and the struggle is lessened.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I've found the best way is to question students to explain why they chose an answer or how they got there. Any number of times, students have told me they understand an idea, only to confess they didn't after I asked them to explain it to me. You can't know they know unless you ask them to show you.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Starting where they are and building from there. Even the smallest steps start to build confidence. Celebrate achievements -- legitimately, even small ones like pushing through a tough question. Assure them that certain mistakes are just how the human brain is and everyone makes them, but we just need to get over it.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
What they say and what they do. Start with asking what they feel they need, which of course in some ways they know best. But follow it with observing how they perform on tasks, which can reveal issues they didn't know they had or which they were embarrassed about or didn't want to bring up.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I think it's best to work with manageable chunks to start with, and really hone in on problem areas: word meanings, parsing phrases, keeping thoughts organized, etc.