I was presented with an opportunity to teach while I finished my last few semesters of my undergraduate degree and I continued to teach throughout my graduate degree. It has been said that those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. I strongly disagree. I believe that in order to
effectively tell the story of any subject, one must be aware of all of the hidden objects in the dark room. In order to teach effectively, you have to know how to navigate the dark room as if the lights are on. I believe that teaching is the highest form of understanding and that those who truly
understand, teach. As a teacher, you get to the chance to connect to students in a completely unique and rewarding way. I have yet to find a way to better describe my love for teaching.
Outside of teaching and tutoring, I do not fit the "nerd" stereotype. I grew up playing every sport under the sun. I started playing baseball and basketball when I was 6, started playing football when I was in 5th grade and picked up golf and track in high school. I grew up in the Black Hills in South Dakota and am the complete outdoors man at heart. I love to hike, camp, hunt, fish and archery. In my spare time, I also love to run, bike and read (all sorts of books!). I love to play the guitar and have been playing for about 12 years now. I play mostly for myself but will only sing if I'm alone (or if my girlfriend asks).
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Minnesota State University-Mankato - Bachelors, Mathematics & Physics
Graduate Degree: Minnesota State University-Mankato - Masters, Mathematics & Statistics
I love to be outside in the sun; running, biking, swimming, camping, hiking, archery, hunting, football, baseball, baseball, golf. I am an outdoor/sport fanatic!
High School English
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that people don't hate math; they hate being confused and intimidated by math. With understanding comes passion. A good teacher is a doctor who heals ignorance, and an artist who inspires creativity. It is more important to teach someone how to think, not what to think. "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
My first goal is always to be open with students. Being able to say what's on your mind and what you are thinking without worrying is crucial. To create non-judgmental environment, I like connecting with students on a more personal level.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Teaching students how to think and not what to think. If learning is navigating a dark room in search for the door, it is far more important to navigate the room with them, letting them find their way. If you hold their hand all the way to the door, they will be lost when trying to navigate any dark room in the future. I believe in teaching them the how to navigate a dark room, and give them the tools to do so.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I can help students stay motivated by sharing my vast personal experience, and using a more personal connection to share how I say motivated.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I like to view and show concepts from multiple angles and viewpoints to give students multiple chances to see skills and concepts at work.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I like to break down statements piece by piece when reading comprehension becomes difficult.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I have found that creating an open, non-judgmental environment, where students aren't afraid to be ask questions and aren't afraid of being wrong, has been the most successful strategy I employ when working with students.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I like to draw from my vast personal experiences and knowledge of subjects, and how they are relevant in real-world situations, to help engage students and to grab their attention.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I like to ask students follow-up questions, and ask them to explain back what they think to gauge what they have learned.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Confidence is contagious, so I always show my confidence in any student, regardless of subject. I let them know that, although it isn't always easy, it is always worth it, and if you're not struggling, you are not learning. I let them know that I'm there to fight through the struggle with them.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I like asking students questions to gauge their responses in order to get a better feel of their mental process. I also like to watch them work for the same reason, so I can get multiple views of where speed bumps may lie.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I always try multiple techniques when tutoring a student, and I tend to shy away from things that don't work as well, and expand on things that do, in order to tailor each tutoring session to each student's needs.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I like to use visual tools such as whiteboards and drawings to help connect the dots while tutoring (when appropriate ). I like to incorporate visuals and make concepts tangible as often as possible.