Nearly ten years ago, I scored very well on the Math section of the SAT. I've received exactly zero job offers in the real world because of it. I have, however, utilized the analytical problem solving skills developed in high school and college test prep to advise a wide range of clients in the financial services industry, one that requires lifelong continuing educational testing.
My goal is not to make sure you remember the formula for the volume of a cone ten years from now. It's to help you develop the awareness to budget your time, focus your attention on the problems that are most easily solved, apply a few heuristics that'll shave minutes off of some questions, and be comfortable throughout the testing process. If you do this, you'll give yourself a much better chance of success.
The best schools teach the same subject matter as any other, but they surround you with talented, brilliant people who challenge you every day. At Varsity Tutors, you join a multitude of students who care about their understanding--not because it's the end of the journey, but because it's the next step. I enjoy working with students of all ages!
I graduated from Allegheny College with a BA in Economics and a Mathematics minor. I'll be your guide.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Allegheny College - Bachelors, Economics
SAT Math: 800
Comedy podcasts, fantasy sports, playing basketball and ultimate frisbee
10th Grade Math
11th Grade Math
12th Grade Math
1st Grade Math
2nd Grade Math
3rd Grade Math
4th Grade Math
5th Grade Math
6th Grade Math
7th Grade Math
8th Grade Math
9th Grade Math
Elementary School Math
What is your teaching philosophy?
If a student finds an interest, he or she will independently study a subject or construct a solution to an existing problem, but it takes a thorough understanding of the underlying subject and potential applications before that can occur. I tutor in math-related subjects, so it's important that I relay the applications in business management, finance, or science so that students understand the long-term value of the skills they're developing.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The most important objective of a first session is getting to know the student and identifying where he or she stands on day 1 with diagnostic practice tests. This allows for deliberate goal setting, benchmark creation, and accountability for both the tutor and student.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
All independent study is unique. If you are an expert and someone else is not, you have value in your enhanced knowledge. This is how jobs are created and companies are started--taking a simple interest that envelopes one independent learner, and identifying enough people that would benefit from this knowledge, service, or product. I started modeling political polling data and sports stats as a way to learn spreadsheet functions. I don't make a lot of money off of it, but I could if I keep improving it.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
A college football coach mentioned to me that every lecture I skipped or slept through equaled $200 in wasted tuition. I stopped missing class for any reason whatsoever. A student is allowed to be frustrated or confused. He or she isn't allowed to be foolish. Wasting the opportunity to be helped by an expert tutor is foolish, because so many peers would trade places for this advantage.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
It's important to present a skill or concept using all the cognitive abilities. If a concept doesn't click logically, I'll present it verbally, visually, or with Interest-based applications, until we're viewing the problem from the clearest perspective of the student.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Most passages can be graphically represented, either as a plot's conflict rises and falls or as a theory is presented and defended. If a student can identify whether the intent of the author is to describe or to entertain or to prove something, he or she can look for the important information in each paragraph.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
If I can be both respected as an instructor and relatable as a person, the student inherently cares more about the learning taking place with my help. There needs to be an immediate small gain so that the process is reinforced, and the goals set on day one seem much more attainable for the student.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would pause the lesson for a moment and assign a project looking up a person or two of my choosing, e.g. Pythagoras, Gregor Mendel, Isaac Newton. Polymaths have theorized (and stumbled upon) so many incredible advancements, and it's important for students to understand that even if a subject isn't their forte, it could have some strange application to their favorite subject later.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
After a student works through a problem toward a correct answer, I'll tweak the values or pick another item from a set and ask them to repeat the solution. If they can foresee new methods that apply to solving the problem or new parameters that no longer exist, they've mastered it.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Students need to see that they're consistently improving, so the bar needs to be set where it's both a challenge and attainable.