I'm a PhD Enginnering student at Penn State with a B.S. in Mathematics. Like anyone in a PhD program, I've spent a lot of years in school at this point. During that time I've tutored a lot of people in Engineering and Math classes. One of the things I've learned during that time is that everyone learns differently. An analogy or picture might work for one student, and completely bewilder another. I think the key to helping students trying to explain something in various ways until I find an explanation that clicks for that particular student.
I also strongly believe in drawing pictures to explain concepts and to help visualize problems. I've even developed a lecture series I gave at PSU on using different techniques to visualize Linear Algebra concepts.
I'm looking forward to helping people achieve their academic goals!
Undergraduate Degree: Wilkes University - Bachelors, Mathematics
Graduate Degree: Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus - Current Grad Student, Engineering Science & Mechanics
whitewater kayaking, being outdoors, playing with my dog
What is your teaching philosophy?
I strongly believe that we all learn differently. Often there are multiple ways of looking at a problem. If a student doesn't understand one, I'll keep explaining it in different ways until we find one that works.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First session, I always try to assess where the student is at. I want to get a feel for what they're having trouble with and what they grasp well. From there I can decide how best to help them tackle their problem.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Often what is holding a student back is an old concept they didn't learn well enough previously. By helping them go back and master that concept, I've prepared them to move forward with minimal help.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By not starting off with overly complicated problems. I like to start off with simple problems, then ask questions that become progressively more complicated by building off each other. This helps students see all the pieces that make up the problems.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I'd help them stay positive. I'd also try to explain the topic with different words and analogies. Every student is different. A good tutor will keep explaining something differently until they find a way the student can understand.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I'd try and have them write down what parts they are struggling with, and if applicable draw a picture.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The first thing is to identify where the student is having trouble. From there, I often try to take a step back, make sure they understand the basics, and help the student build up from there.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
The key is to just stay positive and high energy. Being positive is contagious. If I see they're struggling, I can try and make the problems a bit easier to help boost their confidence and reinforce the basics.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I like to have them explain the concept to me in their own words. If they know it well enough to teach it to me or someone else, then I know they have a good grasp on it.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
You start from the basic concepts and build up progressively more complex problems from there. Luckily this is easy to do in Math.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
First ask them what they're struggling with. Then I'll come up with some simple problems that demonstrate key concepts to see if I can hone in on the problem area.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Every student is different. An analogy or picture that helps one student might not help another. The key is trying different approaches and explanations until you find one that works.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I like to use pictures. If they can visualize the problem it becomes much more tangible.