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I earned a Bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in Materials Science & Engineering in 1992. More recently, I earned a Master's degree in Developmental Psychology from Capella University in 2014. My thesis involved comparing the social competence of children whose parents underwent training through the
Positive Parenting Program against that of a control group.

I specialize in teaching and tutoring Mathematics, have tutored mainstream students for 20 years, and special education students for over 10 years. I get immense satisfaction from facilitating the light of comprehension gleam in students' eyes for the first time.

I have a student-centered teaching philosophy; that is, I use students' strengths to help them digest new concepts. For example, if a student is a visual learner, I will likely draw pictures or graphs, or ask them to draw or write out subject matter to aid them in grasping it. I strongly believe in practicing skills to attain mastery, especially skills that a student finds difficult.

I spend most of my "free" time coaching my son in sports, mostly soccer, basketball and baseball. I have seen good success by applying the same concepts I use in tutoring academics to coaching. Our soccer team had an undefeated season two years ago, and won the Halloween Jamboree Tournament last year as well as three years ago. Our little league team won the 2015 district championship.

I enjoy working one-on-one with people and helping others improve their lives. I also work in the Special Education department at the local high school, as a handyman, and a care-giver. Previously I worked as a mental health counselor and vocational specialist. In 1995 I rode my bicycle across the United States, solo, and was part of the 1994 University of Colorado NCAA National Champion Triathlon Team.

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Thomas’ Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Michigan - Bachelors, Materials Science & Engineering

Graduate Degree: Capella University - Masters, Psychology


Coaching soccer, basketball, baseball. I also have an interest in trading stocks.

Tutoring Subjects

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I have a student-centered philosophy, meaning I tailor my teaching style to match the way a student learns best. I break problems down to where the student can digest them.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

I would check in with the student by asking how their day has been, and get an idea of what they find challenging about the subject in which they need help. I would also ask if they are having trouble in just one subject or more than one. As well, I would ask how much effort they are putting into learning. Finally, I would ask whether they know how they would like me to help them (i.e., is it better for me to write out things for them to read, draw pictures, or tell them what they need to know and have them repeat it back to me). Then, it is time to work.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I can help students become independent learners by modeling for them how to ask questions so they can quickly and easily find web sites that will answer their questions.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I believe students can find motivation by looking into the future, accompanied with the insight that the society in which we live is based on competition.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

I would want to know how the student learns best. (I.e., are they a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner?) Next, I would break the skill or concept down into smaller, more easily digestible parts conveyed in a manner that matches the student's learning style.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

I ask students who are struggling with reading comprehension to write short sentences or phrases describing what they are reading as they go in order to increase their absorption of the material. But I mostly tutor math.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

I have found discovering how a student learns best (i.e., are they a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner) to be most successful in helping students.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

It is okay to have a hard time learning something; no one gains competence at a skill or discipline without first practicing it. The fact that a student recognizes that they could use help learning a subject and then takes the initiative to get help, speaks volumes for their character. That student is much more likely to be successful in life than a person who mistakenly thinks everything is easy just because they have some success when they give things a try.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

Once a student can correctly teach a skill or concept to someone else, they will have gained proficiency in that skill or concept. To check that a student fully understands a skill or concept, I switch roles with them and ask them to teach it to me.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

I build confidence by giving students positive feedback when they perform a skill or relay concepts correctly.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I break skills and concepts down into their simplest parts and work up from there to get an idea of where students need support to gain full comprehension.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

I tailor my tutoring to fit the manner in which students learn best, i.e. through which sensory stimulus do they process information best?

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

I mostly tutor mathematics, so I normally use paper, pencil, and maybe a calculator during tutoring sessions; however, some students learn mathematical concepts best if they have objects to manipulate, in which case objects such as coins are helpful.

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