A teacher's job is to teach. I believe it's my job is to make sure you learn: that's the principal difference. I believe that every student is capable of succeeding in math and the sciences, two subjects that are notoriously difficult; the key is in the manner of teaching. As an experienced mathematician and tutor, I know that often students are not taught in a manner that is conducive to their learning. It's my job to find some method that encourages my students to not only succeed, but to thrive!
I bring an infectious enthusiasm with me to tutoring, so be prepared to get excited to learn a subject you may very well hate! By the time we're done, you'll not only know how to solve problems, but you'll understand the fundamental concepts behind how we're solving the problem, and why it's important. Looking forward to working with you!
Undergraduate Degree: University of Pennsylvania - Current Undergrad Student, Physics
ACT Composite: 35
ACT English: 36
ACT Math: 34
ACT Reading: 36
ACT Science: 35
Running, hiking, yoga, reading, guitar, meditation
10th Grade Math
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12th Grade Math
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4th Grade Reading
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8th Grade Math
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Elementary School Math
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High School Chemistry
High School English
High School Physics
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Middle School Reading
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SAT Subject Test in Spanish with Listening
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What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that every student is capable of learning and excelling. It's my job to find the method that best fits the student and allows them to understand the material without difficulty.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I always make sure to identify the goals of tutoring first. Then, the next step is to recognize any obstacles the student is currently facing that limit their ability. These could be test anxiety, a lack of previous knowledge, or a professor who does not explain concepts in a clear, concise manner. From there, we work to clear the obstacles and come closer to our goal.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
My method of teaching has always been to shape the student as an independent learner. I teach concepts before I teach examples; this allows the student to grasp not only what is going on, but also the reasons and derivations behind the subject matter. At this point, many students become intensely interested, often leading them to be curious and develop an interest in a subject they had previously struggled with.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By consistent positive reinforcement. I believe in praising a student's successes rather than criticizing their errors. This encourages the student to do well, rather than belittling them and creating a reluctance to attempt problems out of fear of failure.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would identify what part of the concept the student is struggling with - and then deconstruct it into more and more basic principles until the student can understand the concept and grasp why it works.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
It depends on if they're struggling with comprehending at reading at a high speed or comprehending difficult reading material (Shakespeare, for example). If it's speed, I use online software and a nifty phone app to start them out at a slower reading speed and gradually increase their speed. If it's comprehension, I teach them how to break down sentences and complex words into simpler structures that they are then able to understand.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I have found that it's best to be forthcoming about the difficulties you see the students having. If I can identify a weakness they have, they likely know it's there. From here, we can work to overcome it or find an alternative method for the student to learn. I also like to have a sense of humor with my students; everyone seems to learn better when math is mixed in with Star Wars or physics with T-rex's.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I think I answered this in a previous question. I would identify why they don't like the subject (perhaps a bad teacher, a poor test grade, or a feeling of inadequacy) and work to remedy that. Most students hate math. I fix that by showing where math comes from, why it's not so hard, and how it can be used to explain a plethora of phenomenon that are, frankly, fascinating.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would use techniques proven by science to augment learning skills and increase retention of learned material. These include the Pomodoro Technique, chunking, analogies and metaphor, and spaced repetition.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
By first teaching them the concepts behind the subject. After that, I show them a few practice problems, then ask them to solve a few easy problems on their own. If they have difficulty, I simply review a concept with them or guide them to find the answer by themselves. This instills confidence that they can do problems from this subject, and I gradually increase the difficulty level until they feel very confident with the subject.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Primarily by asking the student. A student will often know the areas they are weak in, be it understanding concepts, overcoming test anxiety, or visualizing/solving complex problems. I also review and analyze the student's work and thought process, so anything the student struggles with and needs can be identified.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I vary my methods of teaching concepts, the speed at which I teach, and how the student and I approach problems. For example, one student might learn better by analogy, while rigorous proof might be better for another. The method that best allows the student to learn also determines how we approach sample problems.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I usually use a calculator on my end, Google Search to bring the student to web pages that are helpful, and the sample problems provided.