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Zain

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I am a graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. I received my Bachelor of Arts from the interdisciplinary College of Social Studies and earned certificates in South Asian studies, international relations, and social, cultural, and critical theory. I graduated with honors for my senior thesis which explored the 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan. I was awarded both the Davenport Grant for study of public affairs and the Tololyan Fund for study of diasporas and transnationalism, with which I was able to traverse the Indian subcontinent, interview family members, and conduct independent research.

This experience confirmed my love for stories and their potential to build compassion, and so upon graduation, I continued pursuing historical, archival, and educational work as a William J. Clinton Fellow with the American India Foundation. I spent my fellowship year traveling across the country as a story scholar with the 1947 Partition Archive, collecting the oral histories of Partition survivors and helping them realize the potential of their own stories in facilitating greater cooperation between communities for generations to come.

I am similarly passionate about helping students as a means of helping them realize their own potential—my ultimate goal, far more important than just going over any particular subject material or standardized test. Since high school I have developed curriculums and tutored students in areas like character education for elementary schoolers, college essay writing for underprivileged high schoolers, and standardized test-taking for all ages. My teaching philosophy revolves around the idea that my success as a tutor depends on my ability to address the student in particular, given their background, behavior, and aspirations. This draws on my own experience as a student in the personalized, small classes offered at a small liberal arts school like Wesleyan. As a result, my philosophy often translates into a teaching style that draws heavily on high-level devices like stories, analogies, and real-life experiences tailored for the student. Together, we can then boil down the big picture into relatable specifics through which one can find the answer. The process can be thought of almost as putting together a jigsaw puzzle: my role will be to come up with and find the pieces before guiding the student to learn how exactly they can be put together, so he or she will always be ready next time they encounter such a problem.

Though my expertise and passion in the social sciences—economics, history, political science, philosophy—is obvious given my academic background, I also have extensive work experience in computer science and programming that I am eager to share with my students. In high school I excelled with standardized tests like the ACT and SAT, in addition to a variety of subjects in the AP curriculum. I look forward to the opportunity to help students in as many of these areas as needed to ensure a solid academic foundation for whatever future successes they aspire toward.

Since returning to NYC, I have also worked as an independent writer and musician, with plans for graduate school in the interdisciplinary South Asian studies and the release of my debut album, consisting of songs written during my year in India.

Zain’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Wesleyan University - Bachelors, College of Social Studies

Test Scores

ACT English: 30

ACT Math: 30

ACT Reading: 36

SAT Writing: 710

Hobbies

Music; South Asian art, history, and culture; postcolonial literature; international affairs; migration; diasporic culture; technology

Tutoring Subjects

ACT English

ACT Math

ACT Reading

ACT Writing

Advanced Placement Prep

History

AP Comparative Government and Politics

AP Computer Science

AP Computer Science A

AP Human Geography

AP U.S. Government & Politics

College Computer Science

College Essays

College Geography

College Level American History

Computer Science

European History

Geography

Gifted

High School Computer Science

High School Geography

High School Level American History

PSAT Critical Reading

PSAT Writing Skills

Public Speaking

SAT Writing and Language

Social studies

Summer

Technology and Computer Science

Test Prep

World Religions


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy revolves around the idea that my success as a tutor depends on my ability to address the student in particular, given their background, behavior, and aspirations. This draws on my own experience as a student in the personalized, small classes offered at a small liberal arts school like Wesleyan.

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

Before delving into any subject matter, I would first put the student at ease by getting to know one another informally so they have a good idea of who I am, and I have a good idea of what makes them unique-- their background, behavior, and aspirations. With this knowledge, I can frame my curriculum and teaching style specifically for what matches the student best and maximize the success of the teacher-student relationship.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Given my teaching philosophy, my teaching style draws heavily on high-level devices like stories, analogies, and real-life experiences tailored specifically for the student. Together, we can then boil down the big picture into relatable specifics through which one can find the answer. The process can be thought of almost as putting together a jigsaw puzzle. My role will be to come up with and find the pieces before guiding the student to learn how they can be put together, so they will always be ready the next time they encounter such a problem.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to keep students motivated, even if they are only making marginal progress. Students should always be congratulated on their effort, and success for them should be defined on their own terms--that is one of the aims of tutoring vs. just a normal classroom session. High self-esteem is foundational for students' academic success, and fortunately, it is often self-fulfilling. That's why positive reinforcement is important from the start; it sets up a healthy feedback cycle that ensures persistence in the face of difficulties and setbacks.

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

I like to combat such difficulties by employing the strategies that have worked best for me from as many angles as possible: metaphors, analogies, storytelling from real life, and mnemonic devices, to name a few. Often it takes making a connection to some kind of story or piece of knowledge from another subject that perhaps the student does understand well to make the "a-ha!" lightbulb moment happen.

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

Reading comprehension can often be improved tremendously by having students regularly put what they have read into their own words instead of simply regurgitating what they have read through rote memorization. The process of reformulating facts and details as part of a larger narrative using one's own vocabulary is what makes everything stick.

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

Starting at a high-level with a student-- discussing why the subject matters, even if it doesn't necessarily pertain to their own life, for example-- is one of the best places to start. Without adequately addressing the "how" and "why," it is impossible to successfully teach the "what." In addition, it helps to underline where the student may already have strengths or knowledge of other related subject matter that will accelerate their mastery of the subject at hand. There is no better way to start than for students to know that success is within their reach.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

Students' disinterest in a subject they struggle with can often be answered by illustrating 1) how it will be important in their life, 2) how it has already been important in my own life, or 3) how they need it to pursue certain other goals, even if they find the subject itself "useless."

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

Asking a student to explain concepts and details from the material in their own words is one of the best techniques to ensure that they have a firm grasp on the subject (rather than it being something they have only learned through rote memorization and are bound to forget after "taking the test").

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

Highlighting their successes so far in that subject-- however few they may be-- is one of the most important steps that should regularly be taken in order to build solid foundations of self-esteem that will fuel their confidence and ability to tackle all of the difficulties and struggles ahead.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Oftentimes, the parent or student themselves will know right away what their needs are. This can make such an evaluation far easier, though it is still important to initially use something like a diagnostic test or curriculum check-list and make sure that no gap in the subject matter is being left unaddressed.

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

From my initial conversation with a student, I can get a good idea of the kind of language they are comfortable using, the degree of cultural and academic knowledge they already have, and the style of conversation and teaching that they feel most at ease with. The subject matter is usually not what changes when adapting one's tutoring to a specific student's needs. It is knowing these foundational details that ensure success in how I tutor the student.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

All materials should be available at hand for a tutoring session: computer, pencil, paper, and the appropriate books. Certain students learn better with certain mediums, and certain subjects are suited better to certain mediums as well. Math problems, for example, should be solved with pencil and paper, but that does not discount the possibility of valuable educational materials like learning tool websites in helping certain students figure out the problems.