I am a recent Computer Science, B.S. graduate of San Jose State University. I have most of my experience tutoring Pre-Calculus and am able teach other areas of math such as Middle School Math, Algebra I, II, III/IV, and Calculus I and II as well as Computer Science. My favorite subject to tutor is Pre-Calculus because I know that involves a diverse mixed bag of math subjects that students really appreciate the help with.
My hobbies are programming, game development and gaming. If you like either of those, I like giving examples of how math is applied there.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I think an important role of the tutor is to provide tight feedback loops. Frequent testing gives your student a safe place to gauge their skills, so they know what to work on if they fail, and they feel rewarded and motivated to learn more if they pass. It also shows them and yourself how well you're doing your job, so it can be a tool for self-improvement as a teacher, as well as for customer satisfaction.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Get to know the student and find out what they need help with. Most people seek a tutor when they're having a lot of trouble, so it's best to learn their situation and target to their needs.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Teach them principles of personal development and how to apply them to the skills they want to learn. Self-motivation, training regimen, and getting feedback are important topics to discuss with the student. Also, be strategic about helping the student through their problems, or else they might not learn to solve them without you (but still do your job!).
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Show them how far they've come! When they improve, test them to see what they've learned. The feeling of improvement is very rewarding, and seeing progress when they might not have before is a great motivator.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Communicate with them to diagnose exactly what they're having trouble with. Don't repeat an explanation that they didn't understand, and come at it from a different angle. If possible, break down the steps or abstraction layers.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Help them understand the logic behind the facts that they need to know, so they only have to remember a few starting points and can make their way to an answer when they need it. If that's not possible, come up with a goofy way to remember it. The goofier, the better!
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Tell them to work through a problem on their own while thinking out loud.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Challenge them until their classes seem easy!
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Remind them of the importance of passing, and don't sugarcoat it. But then give them a pep talk. Change their perspective of the situation to something that will benefit them.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Ask them what they're having trouble with and strategically test them to pinpoint what to do to help them.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
If they respond to teaching with "I know it, but I just can't do it. I make little mistakes," that means I need to put them through repetitive practice until they are consistent. If they feel like their practice is too repetitive, I give them challenge problems.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
A pencil, paper, and a laptop with Wolfram Alpha loaded up.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Have them work through their practice problems to see where they hit a wall, and then help them through it.