A well rounded scientist who has taught chemistry for over 4 years (tutored for over 6 years) and enjoys the challenge of tutoring. I have had much success teaching the demanding subject to students from all backgrounds. Chemistry is an ongoing subject and it is very important to learn the basics that repeat throughout the topic. I use logic and concepts over memorization. There is not much more satisfying to me than helping a student realize they are capable of achieving whatever they set their mind to doing.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Univeristy of Massachusetts Lowell - Bachelors, Chemistry
Graduate Degree: University of Vermont - PHD, Chemistry
Skiing/snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking, music, cooking
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I teach concept and logic followed by memorization, if needed. Analogy is helpful to explain new concepts. The only way to master a subject is by practicing. Never stop learning!
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I like to assess the student's needs and desires for the class they are learning. Is the class for their major or a prerequisite, for example? Then I will gauge the level of understanding for topics covered and see what critical concepts need to be reviewed. Some early concepts are found to repeat and are used over and over throughout the course, so these are the critical concepts. I also like to make students feel comfortable, so I try to be friendly and approachable.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Never be afraid to try! It helps soooo much to read course material before class. Then you have knowledge of topic and the class, and lectures will be much more effective. Always ask question and always practice the problems.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Students need to want to do well. There is a reason to learn. Some want to be a doctor, some want to teach, others just want to graduate. Whatever the reason is, there is a reward for success. Remember: knowledge is power.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I try to use an analogy to describe a concept they can relate to. Also, I can perform the problem first, then with them, then watch them be able to do it alone. Once they can do it alone with guidance, they are ready for some practice problems at home. Then I review work they did and make sure they solved the problem completely to see the thinking process they used.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Start with the basics and try small, easier reading passages first. Also, asking questions as they read helps build comprehension skills. Then have them read longer passages with more details as they increase the skill.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Getting to know the student and creating a comfortable environment helps a lot. Keep the first few sessions for confidence building. Learn their interests in order to keep them interested by emphasizing them in the lesson.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Build their confidence. Show them that they know more than they might believe. Talk about the rewards for completing the course and benefits of hard work.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Test them with questions that change variables. I also like to add in questions that require a student to solve a previous topic in order to get the answer. This builds their problem solving ability. If they have trouble, I help them think the problem through with logic. I encourage them to practice problems in between sessions.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
If a topic becomes too difficult, I will back up to the basics. Once I find the point they are proficient, I will build their confidence in small increments. I like to help them by asking questions and relating their answers to other topics previously learned.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Students generally know what they need and have specific questions. However, additionally I will evaluate their knowledge, interest, and ability in the given subject.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Each student is unique, and knowing what attributes they have and what attributes are secondary helps to gain a profile. Sometimes I evaluate their teacher and give insight to help them learn in class as efficiently as possible.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use standard equipment: textbooks, colored pencils, dry erase boards, visual aids (periodic table, modeling kits, etc.), and whatever study materials the student would like to share.