I am a very fun and thorough tutor. I earned my bachelor's degree in physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara. After that, I earned my master's degree in environmental science from California State University, Chico. I have about 7 years experience tutoring in physics, math, and chemistry for both high school and college. I also have about 3.5 years of TA'ing for college courses in physics, astronomy, and life science.
Now I tutor in many subjects including algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, differential equations, physics, chemistry, and astronomy, earth science, and environmental science. I am very enthusiastic about all of these subjects, but my passion and favorite to tutor is physics. I teach many of the difficult concepts through examples and analogies. I am relaxed, patient, and approachable to make your tutoring experience as easy as possible.
Outside of tutoring, I enjoy just about everything. I like science (obviously), sports, movies, TV, video games, cycling, snowboarding, and just hanging out with good people. The list of what I don't enjoy is probably much shorter and includes laundry and traffic. Thanks for reading and good luck!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of California-Santa Barbara - Bachelor in Arts, Physics
Graduate Degree: California State University-Chico - Master of Science, Environmental Science
GRE Quantitative: 168
Hanging out with friends, video games, guitar, piano, bicycling, snowboarding
High School Chemistry
High School Physics
Middle School Science
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I like to teach through examples and analogies. Most concepts in math and science can be boiled down or compared to much simpler ideas. Also, I push my students to work the problem out themselves first. The way to figure out what not to do is to do it--somewhat akin to a child playing with an electrical socket, but a lot safer.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Getting to know each other, both in a teaching relationship and a personal one. To do this, we should approach a wide variety of topics to determine the student's strengths and weaknesses.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I always take students through my process. I'll think out loud when solving problems. If I reference or Google something, I show them exactly what I did. If I use a trick as a shortcut, I'll show them the long way first, and then the shortcut.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
My passion. The most boring teachers are those that seem bored themselves. I am an enthusiastic teacher. As boring as some of the topics are, there are usual very cool applications of everything in math and science that I know of to some degree.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Compare it to a simpler concept or take it back to fundamentals. I'll see if there is something from the student's background that is missing, leading to their current struggle.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I deal with math and hard sciences, where I admittedly frequently skipped the reading myself. Some people do not learn well from reading, myself included. This may be precisely the reason the student is reaching out to a tutor. I can summarize orally what the reading was about, along with visuals and examples.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Watch them try at first and simply be the student's safety net. If the student starts to make a mistake, or tries to do it the hard way, I might intervene. Students won't learn by just watching me do their work.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Compare it to something they are interested in. Do you like video games? Realistic physics makes a much more enjoyable game. Like cooking? It is just simple chemistry with food. Do you like music? There is some very interesting math going on in musical theory.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Ask questions along the way. I don't want to give a test to give unnecessary anxiety to a student. If I am doing my job, I should have a solid grasp on how well my student is doing.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Throw in some "softballs." Sometimes students are assigned very difficult problems in a new subject. I'll give some problems that I am confident the student can solve before tackling the difficult ones.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
This depends on the student, but the first thing I would do is simply ask. Communication is key, and this student is going to know better than I do why they are looking for tutoring.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Communication, along with trial and error. I have some teaching tricks that work well sometimes and not so well other times. Its usually just a matter of getting to know the student.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Google is my go-to tool for nearly every subject. It's not enough to know how to use Google, but also what terms to start with. I also use a lot of paper to write big and make large pictures.