I am a recent graduate with a Bachelors in Mathematics from the University of Arizona. I have always enjoyed the simplicity and structure of math. Solving a math problem is as satisfying as piecing together a puzzle. There are a million and one ways to solve it, but there is only one right answer. Solving a problem not only requires logic and patience, but creativity and curiosity. Students know all-too-well how easily their creativity and curiosity are crushed when dealing with a difficult math problem. When I see students getting frustrated with the rigidity of math, I try to help them relish in its systematic ways by using the tools that they already have. I have always pictured math as a toolbox. Each year in math, as students learn more concepts, they collect more tools to add to their own math toolbox. The more tools they collect, the easier it is for them to get the job done. Students can only use the tools, however, when they understand how they work. This is why building a solid foundation is so important. How can you solve integrals without geometry? How can you factor without understanding basic algebra? I push for complete comprehension of a topic, not just the knowledge required to complete an assignment. I want to help students build their own toolbox of math concepts with the confidence that they will be able to utilize it and add to it in future math courses.
When I'm not working, I enjoy cooking, reading, knitting, skiing, gardening, and playing the piano.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe every student already has the tools they need to succeed. I am here to help them understand how to use them properly.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would get to know the student's motivators, goals, and concerns. We would identify a major goal and a roadmap to achieve that goal, including how to deal with setbacks and challenges.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
When reviewing problems, I identify the misconception and clarify that topic using proofs and problem-solving methods.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Before I jump into a session with students, I would identify their motivators and goals. Through challenging sessions, I would then refer them back to their goals and remind them how far they've come. I would also continuously change the approach to the problem until I see that light bulb go off.