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Sam

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As a National Merit Scholar, IB diploma holder, Arizona State University graduate with a Bachelor's in Mathematics, and lifelong learner, I am confident that I can assist students with whatever their goals may be. I would like to help students identify their goals, help them develop the tools necessary for success in those goals, and fan the flame of their chosen passion.

I believe a relevant education is important to success, achievement, and well-being. I am a full service coach who helps with life goals, emphasizes the importance of practice and a growth mindset, and commits to the success and well-being of anyone I mentor. I can help with specific subjects that are causing problems, guarantee increased test scores (my specialties are the ACT & SAT), and assist in maximizing the value of a high school or college experience.

I am very serious about your success, will demand much of you, and hope to be a master coach who provides valuable insight, skills, and guidance.

Sam’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Arizona State University - Bachelor of Science, Mathematics

Test Scores

ACT Composite: 33

SAT Math: 740

SAT Verbal: 740

SAT Writing: 710

Hobbies

Reading, basketball, tennis, hiking, camping, biking, investing, business


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

Practice is the only way to achieve mastery. A master coach may direct practice sessions so that the student arrives at mastery more efficiently than could be done on his/her own. When master coaching, consistent effort, belief, and desire come together, you will have immense success.

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

The typical first session will be used to get to know each other, address concerns and difficulties with specific subjects, coordinate future meetings, build belief in each other, emphasize the importance of practice, and put a difficult subject in context. After the first session, I want my student to feel capable and excited about moving toward his/her goals. In that first meeting, we will lay the foundation for how we intend to proceed, and I will make my teaching values and expectations known and begin to isolate specific problem areas and current strengths.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Instill confidence and desire. In order to be an independent learner, you have to want to study the material. I hope to convey the relevance of subjects not particularly enjoyed and stoke the curiosity in enjoyed subjects. I will teach the learning process so that it can be applied to any subject the student wishes to explore.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Give good feedback and praise. Again, it's important that we are focusing on subjects and aspects of subjects that a student finds relevant and interesting. We will set goals, and when a student comes through on his/her end of the bargain, they will be rewarded. In subjects a student likes, I hope to intensify the curiosity and affinity. In subjects a student does not like one bit, I hope to remove the difficulties and personal failures that cause the student to dislike it. Through success and understanding, we can get to a sufficient level of motivation for even the worst subjects. When practice makes sense, seems useful, comes with good feedback, and we're working together toward a goal, success becomes fun, rewarding, and inevitable. With success comes motivation and confidence.

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

Get to the root of the difficulty. Was it taught wrong or confusingly? What is the current level of understanding? How much have you practiced it, and if the answer is "not much," should you expect the skill or concept to be easy? We will break the skill down into its obvious component parts, practice those distinct elements, learn how to tie them together, practice tying, and then attempt the skill as a whole while referring back to the components. Once we have the basics of the skill understood, we will practice it relentlessly with feedback and reward. As the skill is mastered, we will practice it periodically and use our comfort with the once difficult concept to build belief and springboard into other difficult, related areas.

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

Frequent self-explanation. When reading something difficult, it's important to frequently explain to yourself what the heck it means. Can you find evidence to support your understanding of a text? If the explanations do not correctly identify the meaning of the writing, where are we going wrong? Is the language, style, or vocabulary confusing? We can work on these elements, but the most valuable tool seems to be "cutting the fat." Reduce sentences to small blocks of meaning. Link the blocks, and you will have an understanding of the piece's meaning. Cut out all of the confusion and leave the logical structure. As vocabulary and confidence improves, less cutting is necessary and what was once confusing actually enhances the reading experience.

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

Convince the student of the value of practice and explain the growth mindset. The growth mindset indicates that anything is possible with hard work, curiosity, and the understanding that your skills will improve with time and effort. Once we have understanding of this framework, our challenges become surmountable. Identifying current difficulties with a subject, test, or goal, and applying my insight to chip away at these difficulties is also very useful. I attempt to convince the student that they can conquer their challenges, and I try to give them a reason to want to.

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

First, define why there is such a struggle. Attempt to remove those difficulties. Explain times that I struggled and was frustrated until "it clicked." Help them get to the click point without all of the frustration, so that they can stay engaged in and excited about their progress. Beyond that, we need to define goals, celebrate and reward our little wins, and build the framework for why what we are doing is important.

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

Require the student to explain the material to me and demonstrate ability with the material through exercises in test-like conditions. Periodically review concepts that have been mastered in order to retain them.

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

Baby steps. We start out with the smallest, simplest components of a concept or question. As we master and demonstrate mastery of those small skills, we begin to tie them together and tackle the bigger skills. As my student demonstrates to me that he/she can handle each step of the material, confidence is created. As the student shows me what he/she is capable of, he/she will notice as well. Ample praise and careful repetition will be used to guide developing confidence.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Communication. How do you feel about this? What about this? Do you like this? What do you want to be good at? As we discuss these types of questions, we identify needs and work together to fulfill them. I want to help ease frustrations and increase performance. Depending on the student's goals, I will use the insights I've gained as a student to give encouraging, time-saving, practical advice.

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

If our sessions increase frustration without a light at the end of the tunnel, things have to change. Either my style, our framework that explains what we are trying to achieve, or the plan we originally created is not working. I'm very willing to listen to concerns about any situations that arise. I want to be a positive influence in the student's life, not a source of grief. If I am not meeting my student's needs, I will adapt as best I can on my understanding of what I'm doing poorly. If we decide there's nothing I can do to meet a student's needs, I'll do what I can to get someone into the picture who can.

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

For test prep, I like to use physical copies of practice tests. Certain websites also have nice test question banks. For classes or non-test prep subjects, class homework, tests, and assignments give me a good idea what an instructor is hoping to teach. Once we identify that, we can get the proper material to facilitate quality learning.