I love math, and I hope to help spread this sentiment. I have always felt that people who struggle with math don’t “hate” math; they hate not being able to DO math. Understanding math requires foundational skills, and if that is established, anyone can learn to understand algebra and beyond. The key to understanding math is to build on this foundation by connecting to previous knowledge, and knowing where new knowledge will lead you. The key to using math beyond the classroom is to learn to properly communicate their understanding of math concepts (a.k.a. showing work). I will work to establish both of these two important keys, in hopes of increasing mathematical understanding and performance. I look forward to assisting future, or present, math lovers.
University of Colorado-Colorado Springs - Bachelors, Mathematics
What is your teaching philosophy?
Teachers and tutors can lead a student to the path of understanding, but all true mathematicians must choose to travel that path with the goal of independence. They must be willing to take risks, and learn from mistakes. No academic travel lacks the opportunity for growth.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would begin by looking at the foundation, and establish any needed work on strengthening the foundation. I would also look to learn what goals we can work towards, both for the immediate future and in the long term.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I will attempt to model how the student would work through a problem, give opportunities to mimic the process, and give lots of opportunity for the student to practice. I will encourage my philosophy of taking risks and learning from mistakes. I hope to build confidence by pointing out the benefits of both successes and failures.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I will do my best to keep the student on the path. As long as the journey continues, successes will come. I believe every success helps build motivation to do more.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
It may take looking at some foundational skills, and practicing those. Beyond that, I can take back the lead with more examples and find ways to convert any perceived roadblocks the student has into hurdles instead. Then, we can work to overcome them.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Math vocabulary will be important to keep track of. It can include symbols as well as words. I will teach how to convert the written words in a problem into mathematical language and also encourage students to always express answers in complete sentences. It is important to be able to translate both ways.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I like to find out what they know and build on any successes. It is important to start with the confidence that they can move forward, no matter what level of difficulty.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
With math, the ability to use it depends on the understanding of how present concepts can be used now, and in the future. I will attempt to show this connection. It helps to know what they are working towards.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Independent practice will be monitored, and practice tests can be utilized to measure academic progress. Tutoring gives a better opportunity to view results and make corrections. These results are also opportunities to learn from mistakes, which aids in increased understanding.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Success breeds confidence. I will work to provide lots of successes, big or small.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I will teach students to communicate their work. Reasoning and explanation are big parts to building understanding. This communication should point out areas of strength and areas of need.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
There are different ways to explain math concepts. I would use my 18 years of teaching experience to adjust when necessary.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I am a big advocate of paper and pencil work, but will work with technology when it is appropriate. I like graphing calculators, but it is important to learn how to operate several types of calculators. New technologies are being used, and I will incorporate these when I can.