I am a certified Illinois teacher with 11 years of experience educating students ranging in ages from middle school to collegiate freshman. I am endorsed in middle school math and physical science. I also carry an algebra endorsement. Math courses I have taught include Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, Linear Algebra, Pre-Calculus and Calculus. Science courses I have taught include Earth and Space Science, Life Science, and Physical Science. I have served as both a Math and Science Department chair, and a Science Instructional Coach. I am also very knowledgeable of the Mathematics Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Bachelor of Science, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
Graduate Degree: University of Illinois at Chicago - Masters, Education
Science Fiction (movies and books), Science Journals (reading), weight lifting, cardio boxing, chess, anime, comic books
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My goal as a teacher is to help students become creative problem solvers. I accomplish this by having them make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. During instruction, I help students reason abstractly and quantitatively. I believe that it's important for student to construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of what they learn.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I like to get to know the students and find out their academic strengths and weaknesses. I would also administer a pre-assessment in the content of instruction, so that I can cater my teaching to the needs of the student.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I believe that in order for a student to become an independent learner, it's important to let them struggle with problems. Whenever I introduce a topic, I would model the solution to a problem, and then guide the students through an example with specific questioning (Usually in the form of "What are you doing?" and "Why?"). I would then give the students an independent practice where they can work through the problems on their own. After a period of time, we would go over the student's work together.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By giving them challenging problems, positive reinforcement, and some kind of material acknowledgement of their hard work and success (usually a certificate, special pen or pencil, etc.).
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Break the skill into smaller, more manageable steps or skills that the student can master. I would also make sure to scaffold instruction to the needs of the student. I would incorporate more hands on manipulatives and visuals to make the abstract concept more concrete.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Do a read-aloud where I model fluency, comprehension, and questions, which I would ask while reading the text.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I find that problem solving has been successful in working with students. Rather than focus on individual rote skills, I would have the students work on real-world problems that incorporate several skills and concepts.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
By explaining the real world purpose of the content that they are studying and why it is important to them.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would give the student an independent practice where they go over whatever skills they learned that session. I would end the session with a quick assessment (exit ticket) where they are tested on what they learned. From this exit ticket, I would learn what to focus on for the next session.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
By giving them multiple attempts at problems around a concept, using positive reinforcement, and tracking their progress with the content.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
By giving them a pre-assessment on the concept that they are studying to identify academic needs.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
From a pre-assessment given to a student, I identify strengths and weaknesses. I then adjust the instruction, catering to the needs of the students based on that pre-assessment.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use text, videos, manipulates, models, and my laptop to help make instruction more engaging and relevant to the student.