I am a graduate of Old Dominion University. I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with a minor in Sociology. While attending ODU, I also received a Master of Science in Chemistry with a concentration in Analytical Chemistry. Since I graduated with my M.S, I have also taught undergraduate General and Organic Chemistry Lecture and Lab sections at Thomas Nelson Community College. I also work full time as a Chemist for the Department of the Navy. While I can tutor a range of subjects, I feel that I would be of most use in the areas of Chemistry and Math.
I believe that education is the key to creating a better society, and I try to exude this sentiment in my teaching style. I also feel that being able to explain math and science subjects in terms of real world problems will make students able to relate to concepts historically difficult to grasp. In my spare time, I enjoy watching science and historical documentaries with my wife, fishing, being outdoors with the family dog, and watching my 49ers on football Sundays.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Old Dominion University - Bachelors, Chemistry
Graduate Degree: Old Dominion University - Masters, Chemistry
Watching movies and documentaries, playing outside with our dog, fishing, football
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that as a teacher, it is my responsibility to challenge, support, and motivate my students in the pursuit of three learning goals: (1) confront misconceptions and anxiety about math and chemistry; (2) ensure that students learn basic math and chemistry concepts to be able to apply knowledge in the real world; (3) understand chemistry concepts to cultivate their interest in further learning. I begin a class or session with a student by allowing them to share their current knowledge so that I can understand what areas that I may need to address first. For example, I would ask a student to explain to me what they understand about significant figures and why they are important in analyzing data. I would then determine what areas the student needs assistance and in the process alleviate anxiety about the subject through positive reinforcement. I would encourage the student that the material can be learned by sharing my experience in learning about the subject (significant figures in this example) and the strategies I tried to understand the material. I would then find real world examples of the subject to try to make the material more understandable. For example, I would discuss my local landfill and the EPA regulation for sulfide. I would tell them that the maximum limit of sulfide gas emission was changed from 0.3 mg/L to 0.30 mg/L and what that implied for the landfill. By explaining a real world example of significant figures the student would understand the concept as well as its impact in the real world. Overall, my enthusiastic teaching style mixed with real world examples of material would hopefully teach my student math and science concepts as well as motivate them to want to learn more.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
My first session with a student would be to gather information about what knowledge the student currently possesses to try to tailor a lesson plan to them. If the student is discouraged, I would also use this time to let them know that I can help them with any issues they may have. Based on the student's knowledge, I would end the session by asking them questions to answer for our next meeting.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I would help the student become independent in their learning by asking probing questions and through motivation. The first step in becoming an independent learner is in knowing what questions to ask to understand a particular concept. I would ask the correct question to lead the student to seek the answer (with my guidance initially, until they were able to learn independently). The second aspect to a student becoming independent in their learning is to be fully motivated. As the student is able to answer questions, they would become more confident in themselves. This confidence, along with the tools to problem solve, would enable them to learn independently.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
The key to keeping a student motivated is celebrating learning achievements throughout the tutoring process and instilling belief in the student's abilities. With each improvement, I make sure to acknowledge the student's successes so that they will begin to become confident in themselves.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
The first step is in breaking down the problem into smaller, easier to understand steps, and addressing each step individually. As the student begins to understand each step, I gradually add the next step, and the next, until the concept is understood.