I am a graduate of the University of Mississippi. While in graduate school, I spent years as a laboratory teaching assistant for various undergraduate chemistry laboratory courses. I have several years of tutoring experience, primarily in undergraduate general chemistry courses. I believe that all students are capable of doing well. It is just a matter of isolating what they do not understand, formulating a plan to reinforce fundamental concepts, and helping them to build confidence by working problems.
Undergraduate Degree: University of Mississippi - Bachelors, Chemistry
Graduate Degree: University of Mississippi - PHD, Chemistry
I enjoy watching sports, particularly, football, basketball, and Olympic sports. When I have time, I like to jog, play basketball, and workout. I also enjoy watching sci-fi, anime, and action movies. Occasionally, I like to play video games.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that students learn best by working and thinking through problems. I believe this is especially true for chemistry courses. Although everyone does not learn the same way, we must put in the time in order to know what does and does not work. Many students work just enough problems to familiarize themselves with a concept, but stop short of working enough problems to be truly comfortable with the actual chemistry concepts being presented. While I do believe that there is more than one way to learn something, when it comes to math and the physical sciences there is no real replacement to working your way through progressively more involved problems because they force you to think, and the process reinforces what you already know.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I will try to get to know the student to a small degree. What are some of their likes and dislikes? What is their major, and what career are they pursuing? After this, I will give them time to describe what sorts of problems they may be having with math or chemistry. From here, we can begin to formulate a game plan to get them back on the right track.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I think students will naturally become more independent as they become more confident. This confidence will come primarily from practice problems and reinforcing important concepts. If a student believes that they understand how to work a problem, then I believe they will more readily tackle tougher problems independently and with less apprehension. However, there must be a balance between tutoring versus over-tutoring a student. Part of the learning process for the student should be attempting to do new problems on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Encouragement. Encouragement. And, more encouragement.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would back-track in an effort to figure out exactly what is the trouble that they are having. If possible, we may talk about closely related skills or concepts that the student does understand and feels comfortable with. After having such a discussion, I would find a way to relate it to the current "difficult" concept or skill. From this point, I would re-evaluate whether or not the student finds the difficult skill or concept more approachable.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
It is always good to see what they know as it relates to their present studies. If there is some fundamental concept that they should know, but they have forgotten, we may go over that first. Math and chemistry courses tend to build upon previous concepts, so you have to remain aware of previous concepts and skills.