A photo of Matt, a tutor from George Mason University

Matt

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I am a recent graduate from George Mason University! I obtained a Bachelor's of Science in Biology and continue to live in the Fairfax area. During my college career I took a large variety of science and math classes such as: Immunology, Microbiology, Organic Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, Physics, Genetics, Algebra, and Calculus.

Over the last 4 years I have coached Varsity Football and Lacrosse at a local high school (Freedom High School) while attending GMU as a full time student. Being a student and coach requires that you be organized, dedicated, and pay attention to detail. Additionally, it teaches you time management, as well as how to be a leader and to set goals for yourself and those around you. I have a great deal of experience working with middle school and high school students and pushing them to achieve their goals!

Matt’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: George Mason University - Bachelor of Science, Biology, General

Hobbies

Fitness, sports (basketball/lacrosse), guitar

Tutoring Subjects

Algebra

Algebra 2

Biology

Chemistry

College Algebra

College Biology

College Chemistry

Ecology

Environmental Science

High School Biology

High School Chemistry

Math

Microbiology

Pre-Algebra

Pre-Calculus

Science

Statistics


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe that every individual has the ability to achieve the results they want. Nobody is "unteachable;" it's just that different people require things to be explained in different ways. All it comes down to is work ethic and the willingness to do well.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

In a first session with a student, I would try to find out what concepts they were having trouble with, so I can begin to plan on how to address them. I would also get to know them a little bit so they felt more comfortable around me. It's hard to teach a student something when they feel stressed out or that they're not allowed to make mistakes.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Becoming an independent learner is all about being able to explain things in your own terms. If you can teach a concept to someone else, it means you understand it well enough for yourself. So, after a student and I had found the correct answer to a problem, I would give them a similar problem and have them teach me how to do it, as if I had never done the type of problem before.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Motivation in 90% internal. Sometimes it takes a person (or two) to help motivate a student, but a large majority of it comes from within the student. In order to motivate a student, you have to get to know them and find out where their priorities lie. Why are they getting tutoring? What are their personal education goals? What would they like to see themselves improve on? That kind of thing.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

Sometimes when a student doesn't understand a certain concept, it helps to explain it in terms they understand. For example, if a football player is having a hard time understanding the structures of a cell, it may help to explain it by using the different positions of a football team as a metaphor.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

Some of the problems most students have with reading comprehension is either reading too fast or trying to process too much information at the same time. In order to develop an efficient reading pace, it helps to read out loud. If the student is stumbling or skipping over words, it is an indicator that they are reading too fast. As far as processing the information, it helps to write tiny summaries for each paragraph that note the important information in each paragraph.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

Humor always goes a long way when you first start off with a student. It helps them feel more comfortable and less like they're in a "school environment." Additionally, it helps to get to know the student. In my experience, students are much more willing to work with you and push themselves around you if you make it clear that you care about their future from the beginning.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I would have them teach me how to do a problem or explain a concept from start to finish. If you can teach someone else a concept, it shows that you fully understand the concept yourself. I would steer them away from simply memorizing material, and have them explain why certain concepts are related to one another.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Confidence comes from preparation. If a student has put the work in, they will begin to see results, and in turn become more confident.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

One of the ways you can evaluate a student's needs is to simply ask them what they are/are not comfortable with. They need to be able to be honest with themselves about what they need to improve on.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

Every student learns a different way. As a tutor, it is my responsibility to find a method to relay information in a way that makes sense to the student. Whether that involves using metaphors, mnemonic devices, or just repetition, it is my responsibility to push them to get the results they want.