I am currently an undergraduate at Brown University concentrating in both Materials Science and Economics. In terms of tutoring experience, prior to Brown I have privately tutored other high school students for about a year mainly in the subjects of math and science. Other unorthodox instructing experience includes teaching young kids how to swim, and other college students, the Japanese martial art of Kendo. I am also a Meiklejohn Peer Advisor at Brown which pretty much is a fancy way of saying "guide for freshman year of college." Basically I help out first years at Brown with the transition to college and assist them with whatever concerns or problems they might have during the school year. I tutor a variety a subjects but mainly focus on all levels of math up to calculus as well as all sections of the SAT I. A reason I like tutoring math is that for the most part, once you learn any material (and I mean really learn it), you are more often than not going to remember it for the rest of your life. I sometimes surprise myself with the things I still remember from my math classes in the past. I think the main reason though is that once you have a strong understanding of the basics, taking on harder concepts becomes less of a challenge. The way I teach is pretty straightforward - the only thing I ask of students is to ask questions. Ask as soon as something comes into your mind because chances are if you are not sure of something now, you are definitely not going to be sure of it later. I, and I am certain a lot of other people, have a tendency of just nodding "yes" when being explained something, and then realize later "I didn't understand a thing that person said." The only way to get around this, and I know it can be uncomfortable sometimes, is to ask questions. Some things you can find me doing in my free time are reading, practicing kendo, and catching up on the latest episode of Suits.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Brown University - Bachelor of Science, Materials Science
SAT Composite: 2370
SAT Math: 780
SAT Verbal: 800
SAT Writing: 790
Reading, Kendo, Traveling
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
We'll probably play a few ice breakers just to get to know each other better, and through that, I will try to figure out what kind of student they are. From there, I'll probably move on to go over everything the student is having trouble with.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student has a hard time with a concept, I'd try to break it down into smaller parts and make sure the student understands each step. With any learning, a strong foundation is necessary in order to comprehend complex concepts.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I recommend that students try to read more books in their spare time. It doesn't really matter what they read (ok maybe not comic books), as long as they're reading anything someone put thought into, they're already practicing reading comprehension. There's no real way of improving reading comprehension besides reading.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The one strategy I find successful is to approach tutoring not as an instructor but as a friend (who happens to know the answers) to study with. The important part to working with students is that they want to work with you and that they feel comfortable doing so.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
If a student is struggling in a subject, more often than not, at some point I struggled with it as well. The point I'd try to make is that each student can overcome any topic they're having trouble with. I guess, in short, I try to help students get engaged by showing them it's possible.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I wouldn't exactly call them techniques, but whenever I explain anything, I always make sure to ask if the student has any questions. I'm very insistent on this and probably ask 2-3 times before moving on. Afterwards, I make sure they understand the material by asking them to explain it back to me.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I generally use just a notebook in which I write out step-by-step explanations or diagrams if need be.