I am located in Seattle and have a bunch of experience in math and science, as well as a whole bunch of weird and random experiences and skills that my life has thrown my way so far. I am looking to move on from my engineering office background and head towards a future of teaching and tutoring.
For people looking for a tutor, let me start by saying that I totally understand why STEM topics can be hard. I struggled for years trying to understand what they threw at me in classes, and there are times when I still do not understand some of the topics! My experiences have told me that I value learning when it takes place in an informal, fun and cheerful environment that allows me to try and figure out my own way of retaining information- be that through word association, joking, goofy acronyms or even songs, and that happens no matter what age you are. I recall sitting in my graduate level college courses humming a little tune as I tried to remember exactly how an MRI machine works while getting weird looks from my classmates, but it worked! And that's what I want to do for you- make boring topics more fun and hard concepts easier to tackle in an environment that is accepting and open.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Bradley University - Bachelors, Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Focus and Biology Minor
10th Grade Math
11th Grade Math
12th Grade Math
1st Grade Math
2nd Grade Math
3rd Grade Math
3rd Grade Science
4th Grade Math
4th Grade Science
5th Grade Math
5th Grade Science
6th Grade Math
6th Grade Science
7th Grade Math
7th Grade Science
8th Grade Math
8th Grade Science
9th Grade Math
CLEP College Algebra
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Science
High School Chemistry
High School Physics
Middle School Science
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that all students have the ability to learn, and that those who struggle with what is taught/how it is taught in a classroom are totally normal. Some subjects are harder than others and just take a little more time, explanation or work, but it definitely can be done!
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I'd like to get to know a bit more about you, what teaching style you prefer, and what things you enjoy outside of the classroom. I personally preferred learning when I could see how it applied to my life, so knowing your interests and preferences helps me tailor the lesson to you and will, hopefully, help you remember for your class!
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
My goal is to be able to help you see the reason behind why this abstract information is important. I totally understand how some concepts are hard and can seem pointless- I was there as well at one time! In my mind, finding the right way of looking at a problem can mean the difference between seeing something as impossible, and seeing it as completely do-able.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
It truly depends on what they are hoping to take out of the session. If what you want is to improve your grades, then sure, we can work on that! We can go through problems and I can give you an honest, no-extra-junk opinion/guide on how to take on that topic. Or, if you want to care but truly struggle because it seems so pointless, then maybe I can show you a fun way of looking at a problem that doesn't make it so boring or painful.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I'd try and focus in on what it is they are struggling with. Some issues are that they can't remember an equation that applies, or some rule that is important- maybe a silly song with modified lyrics would make it easier to remember. If it is because you can't remember the process, then we could come up with an acronym that would help you remember. No topic is out of your reach, but the way you learn and the way it is taught can make it feel that way!
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
As it relates to STEM topics, my initial suggestion is to basically skim the reading. Lots of word problems have a bunch of fluff that can be distracting, but glancing over it and writing down the important parts can give you a great start. You'll write down extra stuff you don't need, sure, but that is the second step- filtering that information and deciding how to proceed.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Of all of the ones I have done, asking leading questions and having the student figure out the solution on their own has yielded the best results. When a student solves the problem with minimal guidance, the process by which it is completed is easier to remember and apply without any help!
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I do my best to show how applicable some of the topics are! Oftentimes a problem is worded in such a way that it is incredibly difficult to see the point of working through it- for example, how often do we work in friction-less vacuums? But when a student can see why something works, it is so much easier to extrapolate and find a way to apply it. I don't expect them to love the topic, but relevance is pretty important.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
After I guide them through a problem, or several of them, I craft a similar problem and see if they can work through it without much help. If they succeed, I create more abstract questions that they attempt- ultimately my goal is to establish a foundation that they can take away and apply on any problem they encounter. This requires that I have constant feedback, however, as each step is dependent upon the student and teaching style I employ.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I've found that gradually increasing the difficulty of a topic while stepping back my assistance eventually gets to the point where the student can feel proud of getting the solution to a really hard problem. That joy in accomplishing a hard task- or in answering a question that was once hard and is now easy- often leads to self-confidence. I've found that that confidence can have a profound impact on tests and scores, so that's always in the back of my mind! I've also seen that asking leading questions and constantly re-assuring a student that is struggling helps tremendously. It's not easy being in unfamiliar territory, especially when compared with someone who seems to know much more, but the important part is to build and grow on a personal level.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
As I focus on science, I begin by asking the student what areas they are currently working on or have poor grades in. Then I ask about the specific aspect they are struggling with- oftentimes it isn't an answer of "all of it!", but rather some small aspect that is hard to conceptualize. I'll narrow in on that and work through homework problems with them and suggest my own problems, or do a mini seminar to re-explain everything if they felt like the missed the concept of the class.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
For the most part, I focus on what the students have. I access online materials for equations and images, but given that the student usually has the paper in front of them, I've found that it is usually easier to focus on that. For conceptual questions, I have alternated between drawing on my own experiences and the online set of questions that are available.