My name is Zain, and I'm a 4th year physics student and University of California, Santa Barbara. My strengths in teaching are a patient, calm teaching style with a focus on the fundamentals. I've tutored everything from middle school math to upper division physics and I loved every minute of it. I really enjoy science and math. Nothing brings me more joy than getting a student from "Huh?" to "Ahah!". I personally believe that anyone and everyone can benefit from learning math and physics, and anyone can do well if they're dedicated and have the right guidance.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of California-Santa Barbara - Current Undergrad, Physics
Dota2, CS:GO, Table Tennis, Go, SSBM
High School Physics
SAT Subject Tests Prep
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I think that the basics are the most important part of learning any subject. Everything builds on previous knowledge, and you want to be a stone tower, not a house of cards.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I like to see the student work through a problem or two to see how they think. It's not as much to see how much they remember, but more to see what makes them nervous, because that's almost always the best place to start.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I think that once a student gains the confidence that their questions aren't silly, they're much more able to learn independently and do the work it takes to learn anything they want.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation is a fickle thing. There are a lot of ways motivation can dwindle, and fewer ways to restore it. Sometimes the best course of action is to take a break and come back to it later. Other times, it just takes that one breakthrough in understanding to cause a resurgence in motivation.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
The first thing is to isolate why this might be a troubling concept for the student to learn. Is it because they didn't understand a previous topic fully? Is it maybe because the topic is hard to grasp in the current format? My job is to repackage whatever needs to be taught in a way that the student can understand.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension is trained, not learned. The easiest way to build up reading comprehension is to read a lot. Finding interesting things to read about in your spare time is a surefire way to up your reading comprehension.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I've found that a good way to start is to get an accurate picture of what the student knows, and also make sure that my sessions are a safe space where the student never feels uncomfortable about not understanding something. If you don't understand, you're in the right place with the perfect person to help!
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
People like to succeed at difficult things. If something is really difficult, and the student is able to grasp it, many times this is enough to spark interest and engagement. However sometimes subjects still seem tedious and annoying. In these cases, I like to give students the background behind what they're learning, such as how many thousands of years of brilliant minds it took to get that information in the first place. Sometimes the perspective can make it less frustrating.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
As scary as it may sound, taking an assessment while someone watches your thought process goes a long way in finding out if a student really understands the material. Sometimes you can figure out how a certain problem works by piecing things together, but if I'm watching you work through it, and I have you explain your process, it's much more apparent if there's something I can clarify.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Practice! The best way to feel confident about your batting skill is to hit a lot of homeruns. The best way to feel confident about your skill in anything is to be able to do it with ease, which comes with practice.