I graduated from BYU with a degree in civil engineering. I have always liked working with and helping others achieve a greater understanding of their subject material. I tutor people in math and Spanish. I learned Spanish both in the classroom and in Mexico; I lived there for two years when I was younger, and I also completed an engineering study abroad in Zacatecas my last semester in college.
I prefer to use the materials that the student is using during tutoring sessions because they will have the same resources available to them when I am not with them. When teaching math, I like to have the student do example problems so that I can see what concepts are giving them trouble and help them specifically with those problem areas. When teaching Spanish, I like to speak in Spanish with them as much as possible. There will be times where English will be used to help explain concepts and rules, but the only way to learn the language is to speak it! As much as I was able to learn in the classroom, I found that my learning really accelerated once I was forced to speak it all the time in Mexico.
While not at work, I enjoy spending time with my young family and playing sports. I played ultimate frisbee for BYU's club team while I was there, and I played basketball in high school.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I like to have the student work out as much as they can so that I can see what they know and where they are getting confused. We'll work through the mistakes, write out some steps rules to follow, and then use those as we go through the review or the assignment. I also ask them to show me notes from class if they have them, so that I can show a consistent approach that their teacher is using in class. If that approach is confusing to them, I will show them different methods to see if that is more clear.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I will ask them to show me past tests or assignments that they have and we can go through them together. We'll look at where they are struggling and focus on the problem areas. I also like to write out notes or steps that I can leave with them so they can remember what we covered.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I try and build their confidence as they work. I will show them how to do different things and go through my own examples that are similar to their homework assignments, and then have them work through their assignment. I'll help them as needed. I also like to leave notes for them. Sometimes I'll write them out, and other times it will be notes I've used with other students, and I'll point them to different resources that they can use when I'm not there to try and understand the concepts on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I like to give them examples of how what they are learning that can be applied to real-world situations. As an engineer, I use math frequently, and I see a lot of it applied in the real world. I also try and keep things upbeat, stay positive with them, and encourage them.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
When a concept is especially difficult, we'll stop and run through several examples involving that concept. I like to leave them with something, like some extra notes or examples, so they have a reference as they continue their work when I'm not there. I also try and show application of that concept, or try and get them to look at it differently to see if that will increase their understanding.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Most of the reading comprehension we go through is just word problems in math. I teach them to look for specific words that indicate what is being asked, and how the problem should be set up.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I try and teach the skills and steps as simply as possible, and teach them to organize their work in such a way that it's easy to follow. That will help their teacher see what they're doing, and it will also help them see if they make a mistake. Then we go through lots of examples. The best way to learn something is to do it. We'll go through examples together, and then I'll have them do some on their own so they can build confidence.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I try and see how they are struggling, and attack the situation focusing on that. I like to get them to look at the work from a different point of view, and see if that will help them understand it better. I also try and stay positive, and try to relate the problems or subject to something that they are interested in.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
After going through and working examples together, I have the student work though some on their own while I'm with them. That way, I can see if there is something that is confusing to them.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I try to stay positive. Many students understand the material better than they realize; they are just unsure of their understanding. I help them through examples, give praise on successes, and help them through some of the confusion with mistakes. Having them work on simple problems involving a concept, and then building on that also helps them feel like they can do it. I like to show them how the same rules and process apply to the simple and the hard problems.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I have them work through examples from their homework and also some that I'll make for them. I observe how they work and their attitude while they work to see what I can do to help.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Every student is very different. The beauty of tutoring is that you can be one on one, so we can go as fast or slow as needed and try out many different approaches to concepts to see which fits best for the student. The age also will determine the approach. Some of the younger students have a really hard time working for an hour or so, and so taking a little break for a few minutes just to have them clear their head can be beneficial.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I usually just use paper and different colored pens so that I can show different steps in different colors if that helps make it more clear. I bring printed notes that I can leave with them if I feel that will be helpful and they send me the specific topics they are studying. I will also use a graphing calculator, depending on the level of math, to show different concepts or show them how to use their calculators to solve equations (like linear regression) if the assignment allows for them to be used.