I am a physics PhD candidate from Pennsylvania State University where I have been a teaching assistant for over 6 years.
I have taught the entire gamut of physics courses from concepts in mechanics (position, velocity, acceleration, force, energy, momentum..) to electricity, magnetism and thermal physics. I have also served as a physics instructor, in which capacity I have designed the lectures and assessment for algebra and calculus based physics courses.
I love teaching because I get to try out different techniques to explain concepts depending on the student's learning needs. Because of my experience teaching physics, I can quickly grasp what concept the student is having problem with and figure out whether a more mathematical or physical and visual approach is needed.
Math and physics are my favorite subjects to teach and I enjoy solving problems and explaining easy ways to break down a problem into smaller,
manageable bits. Because math is the language of physics, I am fairly competent in teaching calculus and algebra as needed.
Graduate Degree: St Stephen's College - Masters, Physics
Graduate Degree: Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus - PHD, Physics, Education
Gardening, dog walking, cooking
What is your teaching philosophy?
I enjoy teaching physics and math and believe that good conceptual understanding is the key to strong problem solving abilities. The one-size-fits-all approach does not really work for everyone, and hence, I like to try different approaches depending on the student's needs.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Before I begin the first session, I would ask the student for their study materials and determine what topic the student needs help with. In this way we can hit the ground running. 1. We would do a brief meet and greet to get comfortable and then begin with any concepts that need refreshing. For example, if we are starting with position, velocity, and acceleration, we would talk about what each of these terms mean physically and their mathematical representations. 2. We would then go over problems like interpreting position vs time graphs, velocity vs time graphs, etc. 3. Then, I would ask the student to solve a problem by themselves just to make sure that the concepts are settling in. 4. Go back and repeat the previous steps if necessary.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Guide them through problems and concepts initially, and then have them work on problems by themselves, providing help in the form of clues.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Telling them that the ability to solve math and physics problems and become good at it is an acquired talent, and it is simply not true that some people are born with these qualities. Everyone can get it as long as they work towards it, patiently and consistently.