I have been cultivating expertise in teaching since my high school education. My experience has included both formal teaching duties and informal conveyance of my knowledge and experience to my peers and juniors. The first time I had a notable teaching experience was when I taught the International Physics Olympiads Prep Team at a private high school for four semesters, during my junior and senior college education. I successfully designed a study curriculum, led a team of tutors in Physics, Math and Computational Science Olympiads and taught many gifted students. The year I moved to the States for my post-graduate career, I was happy to hear news of two of my students receiving medals in the National Olympiad.
In the U.S., I designed and taught Precalculus, AP Calculus and SAT Math Prep courses in a private high school in New Jersey. Many of my students got scholarships from major U.S. universities. One of them
even got a perfect score in SAT Math the following year and enrolled in Duke University.
Until I recently received my Ph.D., I continued to be involved in teaching activities as lecturing and tutoring college students for more than five years. I taught and lectured many different laboratory courses and lecture sessions such as Physics I: Mechanics, Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism, Mechanics Laboratory, Electricity and Magnetism Laboratory, Optics Laboratory, Modern Physics Laboratory and Quantum Physics.
As of now, I have been teaching, formally and informally, for more than 13 years. Throughout my teaching life, I received outstanding evaluations from my students, in oral and written form. I believe my achievement as a teacher is a consequence of my enthusiasm about teaching and my teaching philosophy; that is to care for and respect the students and the topic to be taught.
Undergraduate Degree: Middle East Technical University - Bachelors, Physics
Graduate Degree: University at Buffalo - PHD, Physics
GRE Quantitative: 800
GRE Subject Test in Psychology: 800
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What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe my achievement as a teacher is a consequence of my enthusiasm about teaching and my teaching philosophy, which is to care for and respect the students and the topic to be taught. Before I stand in front of my student(s), I make it certain that I am well prepared for the lecture. Before I step out of the classroom, I make sure that each student has understood the lecture to the best of his/her capacity. The ability to motivate students and stimulate their desire to learn is a critical quality of a talented teacher. Every student has different background, ability, and motivation. Identifying each student's need is essential for helping reach his/her potential. My teaching objective is to promote critical thinking, effective use of scientific information, asking relevant questions and approaching these questions in a methodological way, and working in a collaborative manner. To ease the learning process, it is essential to use multimedia and Internet resources as complementary tools for traditional blackboard and chalk teaching.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
The first thing I try to teach a student would be "how easy to grasp" the subject is. As divided into bits and pieces by a clear mind, I believe any subject can be taught to any level of understanding, up to a sufficient level. Once a student passes beyond the "being overwhelmed" barrier, at least if s/he gets motivation to stand on her toes to look behind the wall, I think s/he would already make the first step into being an independent learner.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
The biggest reason for a student to lose motivation is thinking the subject she works on is a "rocket science." As each rocket is composed of metal junks, each subject can be divided into digestible parts for the student's grasp of knowledge. This would help the student to gain her motivation back.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
There are multiple ways of going from one city to another. I believe, this fact is more valid for mind maps. Every individual learner has different inclinations in terms of understanding topics verbally, visually, audibly, by designed models, by mind experiments, etc. Repetition of the concept in multiple ways would help the learner to catch the point in all ways.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
The personal technology era generation, even though showing many skills which were taught to be extraordinary few decades ago, has an unfortunate standing in terms of reading comprehension. Yet, I believe the only way to overcome this obstacle is reading more and more critically. To improve these, I would increase the motivation of the student for reading on a daily basis by finding out pieces of personal interest for her and figuring out a study calendar with the student.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Students mostly view topics as their enemies, since they get frustrated by them. So a good strategy while starting a learning experience with the student, is making her believe you are on her side, not the Math or Physics.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Learning is a self-motivating procedure which comes with its gratuity inside. As human minds, once we feel the joy of learning something new, good, and useful, we become excited to ask for more.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I prefer to go over solved problems in solution steps, and then give students assessments with different levels of hardship, categorized.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Increasing the bar continuously, yet gradually would make the student more and more self-confident in every step she accomplishes.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Some students have a certain level of background knowledge, yet others might only be missing enough motivation, or having a certain level of frustration. Some might be not competitive enough in time-management, yet others might only need an initial thrust to speed up. So, as for all different concepts, the best way to start is by building a good communication level with the student and listening to her.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
If I say in my more than ten years of teaching experience I don't remember teaching the same class twice, that won't be an exaggeration. Every student would exhibit different levels and ways of absorbency of the knowledge, which an educator should try to pour without any spill.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
For experimental courses, even if I don't have the luxury to do demonstrations most of the time, I would come up with video, etc., materials for mindfully designed experiments. For analytical and logical courses, I try to come up with different types of sample problems, requiring various methods of solution.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
My first task would be building a good level friendly communication with the student to be able to listen to her needs. I'd briefly go over the calendar in my mind and also a phenomenological introduction to the subject of interest, answering "why people care about, study that topic?" As a final step, I'd measure the student's background grasp of the subject, verbally or in a written form, with certain small assessments.