I have a bachelor's of arts in mathematics, and am enjoying life in reno Nevada before I go onto grad school. In my free time, I like to make mathematical animations and do creative writing.
Undergraduate Degree: University of Nevada-Reno - Associates, Applied Mathematics
ACT Reading: 31
ACT Science: 35
Books, art, climbing
Elementary School Math
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that when I am teaching it is important for me to balance the rigor of the content with the accessibility of how I present the information to the student. As a tutor I try to communicate as effectively as possible in a way that is personal to the learner. Math is all about noticing patterns, and without a solid understanding at any level of math advancement is harder and disjointed. It is my responsibility as a tutor to make sure the learner is understanding what we are doing, why we are doing it, and how we do it. Learning and competency are my primary objectives. I never want a learner to feel like they should not ask questions. When you hire me it is because you want to gain knowledge, not for me to pass judgment. I take learning seriously, but also try to show how it can be fun.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I like to start off tutoring by showing learners how to adjust what they should be thinking about when they are understanding math. There are certain mindsets that are more conducive to math than others, and some can even stand in the way of learning. Once I have helped the learner develop a more useful framework to understand math, it is usually much easier to make meaningful progress.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
A strong foundation in math is built on critical thinking and problem-solving acumen. When I teach I try to show how the methods we use are founded on those two things. When only the methods of math are taught the learner misses the greater context of what is happening. I try to teach math through the application of these foundational skills the learner is able to not only understand the math at hand but also gets useful experience in being able to think independently.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I firmly believe that when motivation is validated by tangible progress you see an increase in both. I also try to foster an environment that lets learners know that mistakes are ok if we can turn them into learning experiences. I have a lot of patience and I do not believe in passing judgment on learners. It is my responsibility to be supportive and understanding so that the learner will not be distracted from the material.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I believe in using an adaptive approach to teaching. I have no problem with presenting concepts through multiple perspectives. Because Math is combinations of logic I try to follow the learner's understanding until I can see where they diverge from what they need to know. I am also always trying to understand how to present information to learners such that it is accessible to them. Clarity of communication is important to me, which means I need to be able to speak the learner’s language.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Within math word problems the diction is very precise. Even something as simple as a cheat sheet that shows the relations between certain words and the operations they imply can be incredibly useful.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
A lot of the time when a student becomes discouraged, it is because the logic they are required to perform does not fit anywhere in their intuition, and they do not really have context for why it is important or useful. This is where I feel most math teachers fail in their instruction, and I try my best to help compensate. Often when these deficiencies are addressed, students find the more rigorous parts of math tedious at worst, and possibly enjoyable.