Having been involved in tutoring officially and unofficially for many years, I have developed a passion for helping students achieve their potential. My previous tutoring experiences include teaching high school biology, SAT prep, math tutoring, and tutoring medical students at risk for failing a course. I focus on individualizing my teaching style to meet each students needs by first trying to identify the underlying factors that are keeping each student from excelling. I have a B.S. in Biology and a PhD in Immunology and Virology and enjoy tutoring both math and science.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Case Western Reserve University - Bachelor of Science, Biology, General
Graduate Degree: UMMS - PHD, Immunology and virology
MCAT Biological Sciences: 11
MCAT Physical Sciences: 11
MCAT Verbal Reasoning: 11
Ballroom dancing, pets, reading, and traveling
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Learning is more fun when you can understand why the information is important. What keeps each person from excelling is different. Before going over the material the same old way, I like to try and identify the specific barrier to understanding for each student. I try to focus on the big picture, answering the question "Why does this matter?"
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session I like to have the student let me know why they sought out tutoring and what they hope to get out of it. Then I have them explain what they are finding difficult. Next I have them pick a topic they really want to master, and start with having them explain to me what they understand. This lets me learn about how the students approaches problems and thinks about the topic, as well as where the breakdown in the understanding is.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By walking the student through the thought process for finding the answer rather than simply answering their questions or providing all the information and answers for the student. By focusing on the "big picture" and why information matters, I can help students work through problems rather than memorize the answers.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
It is hard to stay motivated when you feel like you will never understand the material. By prioritizing understanding why the student is having trouble rather than focusing on what they don't know, students are more quickly able to realize that success is possible.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Try to explain the topic in as many different ways as I can. Simply repeating the same information the same way is never the solution. Sometimes you need to move onto something else and come back to that concept after successfully learning something else.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
By focusing not just on what matters but why it matters. For example, many people have difficulty with word problems. They can underline all the information the problem gave them, but they don't know what to do with it. This is because mathematical word problems give a lot of extraneous information. I help students to create a systematic approach to problem solving, which helps students to look for the important information, thereby improving reading comprehension.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Making the session student focused. I spend the first session listening to the student and understanding their learning style so that I can target the tutoring to that student. Strategies for this include having the student explain to me what they understand, having the student explain to me how they approach a problem, and having the student try to identify what the underlying problem is.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I use the same techniques to make sure a student understands the material as I do to identify what they don't understand. I have the student talk me through the material and through their thought process on a number of questions.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I start with the course materials the student has and then go from there. Sometimes I use a favorite textbook, a whiteboard, google images, or a creative YouTube video.