I grew up in the Eugene, Oregon area and attended the University of Oregon. Go Ducks!
I was a Middle/High school math teacher in Vancouver, Washington. After I got married, I decided to pursue a career in Software Engineering to best support my family. In my spare time, when I am not reading my old math textbooks, I play soccer, watch ESPN, and follow current and future trends in technology. My long term dream is to be involved in a tech startup that provides benefit to my community and economy.
I have experience teaching all levels of Middle School math and High School math, as well as tutoring college math students. It is my personal belief that student engagement is the most important ingredient to mathematical learning. I have a knack for getting students to engage with difficult concepts and find a way to fold in humor to keep conversation and energy flowing.
You will find me to be relaxed yet energetic, professional yet personable, nerdy yet ... nerdy is about right.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Oregon - Bachelor of Science, Mathematics
Graduate Degree: University of Oregon - Masters in Education, Education
Soccer, technology, playing with my cat
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Student engagement is the most important goal of a learning session. Any student can learn anything with engagement. No student can learn anything without it.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
We first get to know each other on a personal level and a mathematical level. We then approach the concepts that led to the need for tutoring, and we figure out where we stand on them. Then, we get started with the math.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Students who are independent learners are confident learners. Confident learners have a pattern of success. Getting a student to have that pattern of success is the first step to becoming an independent learner.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Step one: Get a student to know you believe in their potential. Step two: Get a student to see a pattern of success. Step three: Let that pattern of success show a student their own potential.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Research suggests a student needs at least 6 engagements with an idea before it is committed to memory. Re-engaging the concept in different ways requires the student and the teacher to exercise patience. In order for the student to believe the patience is worth it, they must first trust in their ability to succeed.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading and mathematical comprehension are closely related. Teaching a student to read and understand the problem before beginning teaches them to think through the meaning of the words and concepts.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Students have more experience with mathematics than they usually know. Diving into a student's experience, and how they already know things to work, usually opens their eyes to simple and complex math concepts.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Confidence and attitude is key. I can't change a student's attitude, but I can show them confidence through success. With that confidence, we can work our way to finding success where it has been elusive in the past.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I believe in assessing a student constantly. Assessing a student constantly should not always mean testing them and passing down a grade, but it should be used to form the lesson based on their current understanding. Once the student has shown proficiency in a certain area, I keep that proficiency sharp by engaging that same concept in a variety of creative ways.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
A history of success is the best way to build confidence.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Constantly assessing students and allowing that assessment to form the lesson as it progresses.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Constantly assessing the student and using the assessment to adapt the lesson to the student's needs.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Depending on the lesson, I use visual, textual, and real life examples to engage a student's mind in multiple ways.