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I have been tutoring since high school, and I find it really rewarding to connect with different students and help them get comfortable with their academics. I'm currently a senior at the University of Washington, majoring in Biology and minoring in Russian language. I have experience tutoring ages 10 to 20, in Russian, English, math and biology. Outside of the classroom I like to independently learn about anthropology and animal behavior. I love to travel: I've been all over Europe, Russia, patches of the United States, Peru, Mexico and Costa Rica. Travel is definitely something I'd like to pursue more in my life. Once I graduate I intend to take 2 gap years to work in my field and explore life outside of academia, before settling in to medical school. Eventually I would like to work in Family Medicine.

I like to tutor biology the best because it is my personal passion. Biology is a science that connects all living things, and the more you think about how every creature around us is wired the more interesting and intricate it gets. I also enjoy teaching math, English and Russian, each for their own reasons. My teaching style reflects my interest in the various subjects: I really try to get students to appreciate the subjects and see how interesting or fun they can be. I like to assess a student's personal learning style and specific needs before delving in, and try to be more of a guide in learning as opposed to an orator.

I am very pro-PNW, and love hiking around the Cascades (rain or shine) and walking around the city with my Labrador, occasionally toting along my Canon camera. I'm passionate about animals, animal husbandry, and animal behavior (animal medicine was a close second to people medicine); and besides dogs I've owned horses, hamsters, rabbits, parakeets, mice and cats. To unwind I read, watch TV, and bake. I'm always happy to discuss any of my interests as well as anyone else's: I find it inspiring to listen to people talk about something they really care about.

Lena’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Washington-Seattle Campus - Current Undergrad, General Biology

Test Scores

SAT Composite: 2060

SAT Math: 650

SAT Verbal: 740

SAT Writing: 670


Dog training, anthropology, hiking, running, reading, baking, photography, horseback riding, travel, and languages

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I like to take things slowly at first to understand where the hang-up is. Then, I try to approach the topic from multiple angles and keep the student from feeling like there is only one right way and getting frustrated. I think it's important to teach someone to use their own learning style effectively so they are set up for success in the future.

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

In a first session, I would spend time getting to know the student: how they learn, how their classes are structured, and how material is presented. With that in mind, I would tackle the material they are struggling with in a way that builds confidence. I would try to develop a method that is personalized for that student, so they feel like they are getting the help they need.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

During sessions, I would focus on teaching the student ways to capitalize on what they are learning and how to adapt the way material is presented to them in a way that makes it easier to digest. I would end the session with suggestions on how to tackle future problems independently, and focus on building confidence in their abilities if I feel that is lacking.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

During the session, I would gauge when the student needed a mental break and present novel and interesting material when it was time to focus. I would work on problem-solving strategies over rote memorization and repetition, setting the student up for success with future problems. I would end each session on a positive note.

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

I would take a step back with them and go over foundational material again. Then, I would try to present the challenging concept or skill in a different way. For example, I could pair it with an already established skill that the student has down, and/or connect it to things the student is comfortable with.

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

For reading comprehension, I would walk the student through various methods such as looking for context clues and identifying key characters and actions. I would go through easier passages to teach the student patterns found in writing, then move on to more challenging passages as they became more comfortable with their skills.

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

I like spending time building the groundwork with the student and getting to know their specific areas of difficulty. I have found that setting them at ease makes them more focused during the session. It is also more efficient to invest time into fully understanding their struggle initially to avoid redundancy.

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

I think it's so valuable to connect what students are learning to real-world applications. I'd make sure I had a grasp on the student's interests and made the material relevant to them. If there really was no connection, I'd remind them that academics are just stepping stones to future goals.

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

I would provide novel problems or ask a previously asked question with a new twist to make sure the concept has sunk in and the student isn't just memorizing limited explanations.

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

I would start on foundational material, and really let the student get comfortable with what they already know. Then I'd present new complications and concepts slowly, so that the student has time to incorporate the material into their understanding before moving on.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I would use a combination of talking to the student, talking to their parents, and a brief review of the material to see where I should focus my attention.

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

I would start neutrally and adapt as I got to know the student and their learning style more. I would initially present a lot of options and see which style the student preferred, and I'd ask for feedback from the student at the end of the session.

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

I think relevant materials really depend on the class being taught. I personally like my college textbooks for tutoring subjects like biology and chemistry, even for non-college level classes, because of their helpful diagrams and explanations. For math, I believe in simple pen and paper, with the help of the Internet as a source of practice problems.