I'm a recent graduate of Harvard University, I've been tutoring for about five years now. I come from a public high school of 240 students in middle-of-nowhere rural Connecticut. Plain and simple: I wouldn't have made it to Harvard without finding a way to enjoy studying for the SATs and other tests. My goal is to share that enthusiasm with my students. The test might be frustrating, and it might seem pointless, but I insist that every hour spent on SAT prep is a priceless investment in your future. (...and I have an economics minor!)
Undergraduate Degree: Harvard University - Bachelor in Arts, Music and Economics
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1600
SAT Math: 800
SAT Verbal: 800
SAT Writing: 800
SAT Mathematics Level 2: 800
SAT Subject Test in Spanish: 770
Piano, biking, musical theater, good movies, and bad movies
What is your teaching philosophy?
Any student can learn to find any subject interesting. Once that happens, success is certain. My goal as a tutor is to catalyze this.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
After briefly introducing myself, I like to figure out what the student's likes and dislikes are. I like to know what the student is comfortable with and what they are afraid of. Then, we dive right into an assignment or a lesson so that I can understand the student's learning style. By the second session, I should have a great plan for how to most effectively teach the student.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Everybody is interested in something. For me, it was fiction books; for others, it might be movies, music, challenging games, and so on. By connecting one of these interests with the subject the student is struggling with, I can motivate the student to become an independent learner.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Once I can connect a student's non-academic interests (movies, music, books, etc.) with the challenging subject material, my job as a motivator is essentially done. Beyond that, my goal is to show the student the way that studying hard completely changed my life for the better--to be a role model.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
There are a million different strategies to teach tricky skills and concepts, and it only takes one specific strategy to make the material click. So, try everything until it works.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Annotate. Write in the margins. Underline unfamiliar words and look them up. Highlight main ideas. Cross out extraneous information. Star confusing passages. This keeps the reader from getting bored, and it strengthens learning.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Connect it with something they are excited about. For me, that means connecting difficult material with music or television.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Ask the student to teach the material to me, as if I didn't know it at all.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Divide studying into small pieces to develop a sense of accomplishment in conquering the material.