Many students think that math is something that you're either good at or you're not, and I want to change that. I believe that any student can succeed in their math classes with the right dedication and attitude. Over my years as a student, I have worked with others in helping them to not only understand concepts in math classes, but to be enthusiastic about their work.
I am currently a sophomore at Temple University, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. My ultimate goal in my career path is improving sustainability and reducing the environmental impact of machinery. Though I am most experienced working with high school students, I would be an appropriate tutor for college students as well as I am in a more similar position to them. I hope to use my position at Varsity Tutors to further my tutoring experience and help students approach their coursework more effectively.
Undergraduate Degree: Temple University - Current Undergrad, Mechanical Engineering
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1380
AP U.S. Government & Politics: 5
Hiking, Running, Cooking, Guitar
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that the best way students can succeed is through self-motivation and confidence in their work. If a student gets too frustrated with their work, it makes concepts seem much harder than they are. When this happens, a teacher must help their student to step back, look at their work more carefully, and realize they have the ability to solve a problem.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first step to helping a student is identifying where their difficulties lie. During a first session, I would have students first identify what concepts they are struggling with, then what their study habits are and how the might be contributing to their difficulties. If they are particularly struggling with a certain topic, I would be sure to cover that first to help boost their confidence in dealing with other problems. Likewise, if the root of their problem is one concept that is needed for other parts of the course, I would try to help them approach that better and master it.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
A tutor can help a student devise a study plan that caters to their individual needs. When this is put into practice, a student will begin to realize how rewarding it is to be self-motivated with their work.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I can help a student stay motivated by having them recall how they have felt when they have succeeded in school. When a student stays on track with schoolwork, it can help them feel more confident and less stressed in other parts of their life. Reminding someone of these benefits is helpful to keeping them motivated.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
The first thing I would do in this situation is to see if the student is struggling with a concept that they would have learned in an earlier course, and if that is the issue, help them to master that. If they approach the problem in a variety of ways and are still having trouble, I would either have them consult their teacher or consult one of my professors or peers to try to get some outside influence.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension can be hindered by a variety of factors, so I would first help the student identify why they are struggling with this and work from there. I would also help them to eliminate distractions, which could be a big contributor to difficulties in this area.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The best way to figure out how to help a student is figuring out what makes the subject difficult for them. Sometimes, it is simply not understanding certain concepts in a course despite generally enjoying and doing well in a subject. Sometimes, their work habits and interests may not align with the subject being taught, in which they may feel less confident in learning the subject matter. Tutoring can be angled in a variety of ways, and knowing the way your student needs help is the most important way you can help them learn.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would help a student become more excited about their work by connecting it to their own interests. If a student is not interested in math, I would remind them that math can be applied to everyday life in countless ways, and acquiring the skill of mathematical thinking is the goal of certain classes more so than simply knowing information.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Informally quizzing students periodically can help insure they study and retain the information. Asking them to answer questions after they've mastered a subject with your guidance in an earlier session can help insure they have remembered material independently.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
A student can become more confident in a subject by trying to forget their past experience with a subject. Even if a student does not think they are inherently good at a subject, I would remind them that they can and have succeeded in the subject with hard work. Some students are ashamed when they cannot do well in a subject with ease, but hard work is often more admirable than being inherently good at something.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I try to ask the student as many direct questions about their experience with a subject instead of making assumptions about where they need help. Asking the student to explain their situation and give examples of what they do understand and what they don't can gives me the most accurate sense of where the student needs help.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Asking a student directly what is helping them and what isn't throughout my lessons is important in adapting to their needs. When approaching a problem, I would first have the student show me how they would do something and then try to approach it as similarly to how they instinctively would as I can.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use a lot of unlined paper in my tutoring to try to make it as clearly written and neat as possible. I also keep necessary formula or rule sheets on hand so that students have the information they need.