Despite graduating magna cum laude from a mechanical engineering program on a full scholarship, I didn't always like math and science. It can take a lot of effort to "click" with these kinds of subjects, but once you do, it's a surprisingly rewarding experience. (Yes, I am a huge nerd now. See photo.) You just need to break down the problems, recognize patterns, and apply the concepts. So if you're just required to take a math course and you're sick of having a panic attack every time you look at a problem, or if you're in a STEM program and you are constantly worried that you don't belong there, I can help. I can also help if you just need to review or clarify a subject.
Undergraduate Degree: Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art - Bachelors, Mechanical Engineering
Video games (Melee is the greatest), reading science fiction, bike riding, and working on my car
What is your teaching philosophy?
Math and science problems tend to be algorithmic, so finding missing steps and stumbling points in the student's existing problem solving process is key in creating confidence and understanding with the subject.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Ask them directly about perceived problem areas, then run through some related example problems until I have a better understanding of their specific needs.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
For a student, reading their course's textbook is probably the best way they can help themselves. Textbooks aren't usually easy to read, but I have advice on how to make the task more manageable.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
The feeling of making progress can be itself motivation. It's best to help a student with the less challenging problems they're experiencing before moving on so that they have that momentum to continue.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
They may lack prerequisite knowledge, in which case I would have to teach them that first. The problem also may be my explanation, so restating that in a different context may help. Repeating simple practice problems whose concepts can be extended to more challenging scenarios can also help.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Filling in vocabulary gaps, breaking down a sentence, and having the student try to repeat the text to themselves in their own words can help.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Let the student begin work where they feel they need the most help, and observe and assist as needed until it becomes more obvious where they are having the most trouble.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Have them walk me through a practice problem, explaining the key steps as well as why they are doing them. If they can successfully apply a concept and explain it in their own words, they essentially own it.