A photo of Nathan, a tutor from Bard College at Simon's Rock

Nathan

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I recently graduated from Bard College with Bachelor's degree in Economics. I am from Orient, New York in Long Island and currently live in Brooklyn. I specialize in tutoring all levels of math from introductory algebra to differential equations and linear algebra, as well as statistics, econometrics, and economics. Amongst other things, I love sports, music, and comedy.

My inspiration for becoming a tutor stems largely from my own experience as a student. I always found that if I liked my teacher, I liked the subject that they were teaching. The best teachers are able to make the most boring material interesting; I hope to be able to do that with my students.
Throughout my experience as a student, I came across many bad teachers. Whether they were unfriendly, uninterested, or just unable to teach well, looking back I am worried that many students are not able to absorb material at basic levels because their teachers fail to get through to them. My intention is to support these students through and through and help them to understand and grasp the material that their teachers are failing to teach them. If a student starts off in algebra I with a bad teacher, they may never fully understand the concepts at hand, forever being behind in their math classes all the way to their college graduation. As a tutor, I aim to reverse this trend and get my students back on track.

Nathan’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Bard College at Simon's Rock - Bachelors, Economics

Test Scores

SAT Math: 700


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

My approach to tutoring is centralized around three major elements: consistency, simplicity, and affability. Firstly, it is imperative to have a teaching method that is consistent to the material and to the students to avoid confusion. From start to finish, I aspire to deliver an education that is consistent in a way that makes it possible to progress through levels of difficulty with ease. This can be achieved by maintaining a constant order of operation; beginning with a formal explanation of a method and proceeding with examples afterward would be an example of this. The best way to achieve this consistency is to make my methods and explanations as simple as possible, especially at the basic level of a concept. Simplicity goes hand in hand with lucidity. Before it is necessary to proceed to more complicated material it is absolutely imperative that a student have a solid understanding of the basic concepts at hand; when I was a student, I found that if I was struggling with a concept it was because I lacked an understanding of the basics. An example of this comes from introductory algebra. When the usage of x as a variable is introduced to a student, he/she is often used to seeing x as a multiplication symbol; hence, it is natural that these two definitions can be confused before a student has a clear understanding of what a variable is and what the variable x represents. Thus, it is extremely important that the introduction of x as a variable is introduced with simplicity, and that the distinction between x as a variable and a multiplication sign is explained clearly. If introduced quickly and in a convoluted manner, the student will fall behind very quickly. Lastly, it is vitally important that I am able to maintain a good relationship with my students, and to teach in a way that is affable rather than assertive. A student can become apathetic towards learning very quickly if he/she feels marginalized by the teacher. In order to learn, a student must have a good attitude and appetite for the material; achieving this begins with the way in which a teacher presents himself/herself. If a student dreads meeting with his/her teacher or dreads going to class with the teacher, they will certainly dread learning the material. I aim to avoid that dread at all costs with my methods.

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

In a first session with a student, my priority is to get to know them. I want to know what his/her hobbies are, what they are interested in, what they like to do in their free time, etc. Not only does this help to develop a functioning relationship with the student, but it also can help me as a tutor make the material that they are studying easier to understand. If a student loves to play music, math problems and concepts can be related to music in a way that simplifies them and makes them interesting. It can be extremely difficult for a student to learn if he/she doesn't want to. In my experience, the teacher plays a tremendous role in creating an environment that is both interesting and entertaining. I have always found that the courses that I am most interested in coincide with the teachers that I get along with the best. Thus, in my first session with a student, I hope to begin to get to know them well and understand their interests, so I can create an environment that they want to be apart of.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

The best way for a student to become an independent learner is to introduce them to substantive, interesting supporting material. If a student is learning statistics, it would be incredibly helpful to introduce them to the usage of statistics in the sports world or in the world of politics (depending what they are interested in). Giving them an interesting homework assignment where they try to use what they've learned in our session and apply it to a real world issue or activity can go a long way in developing their natural interests in the subject at hand.