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Michael

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I've worked was a volunteer docent at the American Museum of Natural History while I was in high school, teaching visitors and students about the various dioramas on view and giving demonstrations of phenomena like buoyancy. More recently I had the opportunity to work as a student caller at the Renssealaer Annual Fund, where I got to engage in alumni relations and answer the questions of parents of current students. Although I'd never worked in a sales position before that, my experience there helped me to learn how to talk with people and find out how they work and what interests them.

At Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (my alma mater as of May 2015, also known as RPI), I enjoyed having the chance to work with my friends and colleagues and help them with their school work. More than the thrill of problem solving was the satisfaction I got when I helped them understand a problem and work through it themselves. At RPI I studied mathematics although I also had an interest in physics and computer science. As a tutor I look forward to helping you better understand math! The subjects I'm looking to teach include calculus, multivariate calculus, and differential equations, although I can also teach algebra for those who need it.

Every student is different and to help them learn it's important to listen to them and decide on how to teach them, either with theory, applied problems, or some other method. This was something I learnt while I was responsible for leading practice sessions for one of my school's martial arts club.

In my spare time I am learning how to be a developer and data scientist so I might eventually achieve my goal of one of those careers. I also really enjoy to read, run, and am currently learning how to play the piano, something I have always wanted to do since I was a kid. Teaching myself how to do these things has helped me better appreciate how constructive guidance from a tutor can be.

Michael’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - Bachelors, Mathematics

Hobbies

learning to play piano, running, swimming, cooking, reading

Tutoring Subjects


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

My style is to first communicate with the student and figure out their needs. Afterwards, I can help through concepts, example problems, and any problems they are working on.

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

Talk to the student and discuss their objectives so I can plot our course and prepare for subsequent lessons. Afterwards I ask about if they have any homework assignments or coursework they would like me to help walk them through. At the end, ask if they have comments, questions, or concerns, again so I can prepare for the next lesson.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

After working them through a problem, let them do one themselves with some guidance and let them see that they can figure it out themselves.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

First, I'd ask if they have any comments, questions, or concerns. You can find out what a student’s motivation or lack thereof stems from, and by helping them with their learning objectives, make them feel more optimistic and motivated.

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

Try to break down the concept into easier ones they may understand, and then rebuild the concept from those building blocks. It also helps to have example problems we can work through so it sticks.

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

See what issues they have with reading comprehension. Math can have a lot of jargon, and if the student doesn't understand the concepts, reading the literature can be difficult. Therefore I'd try to help them understand the vocabulary and concepts.

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

Getting some background knowledge, such as their learning objectives and difficulties, so I know what to focus on.

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

Help them progress through the subject! When we're struggling with something, it can be pretty hard to stay excited about it.

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

Have them work through a couple of problems and see how they progress. Ask questions about if they understand what they are doing in order to solve it.

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

First help them learn the concepts, and then help them work through some problems and see if they can do some of their own. Once a student knows he or she can do it their own, they'll feel much better about being able to tackle future problems and feel more confident.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Ask them. A student usually knows his or her own needs. If they don't, see if they can solve a problem on their own, and if not, observe and figure out where they are struggling.

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

Since each student has different needs, I will have to tutor to a different style depending on the student. If they say they are a visual learner, provide them with more visual examples, for example.

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

The digital whiteboard, material about the course they provide me, and some problem sets.