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Mark

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I was in the top 10 in my class at an engineering magnet High School and then went on to graduate with a Bachelors of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of South Florida in 2016. After leaving college, I immediately took a position for a software development company where I have been a QA analyst for over 3 years now. My end goal career wise is to one day be a Disney Imagineer with a focus on robotics and animatronics. My Honors Thesis was the proposition of Sensory Relief rooms to be implemented throughout the Disney parks to provide much needed respite to those suffering from disorders on the Autism Spectrum and more specifically, Sensory Processing Disorder. In essence, while my passion is engineering, I am unafraid of expanding my horizons and exploring fields such as mental health, software coding, and any other challenge that will further my education.
Regarding my views on education. Without the next generation taking an active approach towards learning, what we do now will be for nothing. We cannot expect the up and coming generations to go without the wisdom and learning of the generations before, particularly from our mistakes and follies. Only with dedicated support and faith in their abilities can the students of today become the great minds of tomorrow. Thereby, I hope that I might be able to inspire whomever I can to value learning and the understanding of the world around us.
But a little about my holistic self, however, and I must admit I am an avid fan of video games, notably the Fallout and Call of Duty franchises. And for those curious, I'm dedicated to Sony and the PlayStation (sorry PC or Xbox gamers). I also enjoy soccer, table top role-playing, paint ball, and horror movies (especially the awful ones). My wife and I, together, enjoy trips to Disney World whenever possible. In addition, my apartment is filled with various critters, ranging from contained millipedes and snails to our adorably timid dog, Dixie.

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Mark’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of South Florida-Main Campus - Current Undergrad, Mechanical Engineering

Test Scores

SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1350

Hobbies

Video games, robotics, space travel/exploration, paintball, table top role playing

Tutoring Subjects

Algebra

Algebra 2

College Algebra

Elementary Math

Elementary School Math

Essay Editing

Homework Support

Math

Mechanical Engineering

Middle School Math

Other

Pre-Algebra

Pre-Calculus

Reading

Science

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

Guide, rather than answer. That's consistent with most tutors, I'm sure, but what I try to do is "research" the answer with the student. If it is a math problem that the student simply cannot start, then together we hunt down the formula through notes or online if need be and work out how to use it. If it is not math based, then I work with the student to understand his or her rationale behind a choice and then do "research" to confirm or deny the approach/answer.

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

First off, I'd share a little about who I am and encourage the student to do the same. I find it helps to learn from a peer, rather than some instructor. Additionally, if I can correlate the student's interests to the subject at hand, all the better. Afterwards, I would try to get an understanding of how the student best learns (tactile, visual, auditory, guided, correctional based, and so on).

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

As stated with my approach to teaching, developing a mindset to research based on given information. The idea behind this is to make them self sufficient to be able to find the solution, or find a starting point for themselves from immediately accessible materials.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

The way I keep motivated is dependent on the circumstance. If I am working on something I can see myself needing regularly, then I keep motivated in realizing a little time now saves a lot of time later. If I don't foresee the later use of the material, then I try to revel in the knowledge I'm gaining. Basically, I make it interesting for the sake of being interesting. I try to find where it applies in general day to day life.

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

Provide plenty of encouragement. Help the student to reflect back on previous struggles and help him/her to see former success. Additionally, I would try to break the problem down into simpler bites, where possible, and overcome the dilemma piece by piece.

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

One thing I would do is encourage the student to look at the words, rather than reading them, in order to find words that are "too big" or unknown in definition. Then, we fix those errors ahead of time, moving on to the passage afterwards. After each section, I will also have the student give a brief explanation of what that passage said, a summary or a "what it means to me," depending on the material.

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

Trying to instill a sense of peace in the student. Learning something for the sake of learning something is much more relaxed than trying to learn something for later assessment. So focusing on the situation at hand and explaining that the student is free to come to the solution on his/her own terms hopefully relaxes the student towards the problem.

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

What I think is the most effective way is often the most difficult to implement. Trying to connect what the student is doing to the student's interests should help make the subject more tolerable. Where that might fail, the next step would be to point out how the subject material might matter in other ways.

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

Asking for clarification on a student's rationale. Having the student give me a summary of material read. Basically, having the student reiterate in his/her own words what just happened.

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

Reinforcing current successes and reminding of prior successes in similar material (or even dissimilar should the dissimilar material be considered more difficult).

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

From the student him/herself at first, letting the student explain what he/she might feel is needed and then going from there. After solving some problems, should the needs be different, I would explain to the student a revision of needs and work with the student to implement the revision.

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

I try to take advantage of what the student has (i.e. notes, textbooks, and such) as well as the Internet.

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

Mostly through simple patience. Taking the time to listen to the student and paying attention to the processes by which the student is attempting an answer can do a lot to help me see how that student might need motivation. A methodical student necessitates a methodical approach. A student who might try to rush needs his/her attention concentrated. And so on...

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