Learning is one of the most rewarding, useful, and fun things that a person can do. My goal as a tutor is not only to help students complete assigned tasks and get good grades, but also to understand why the material is important and how it can help them in life. If I can help a student to be motivated to learn, aspire to fulfill meaningful goals, and give them the tools they need to reach those goals, then I will consider the time that I have spent with them as a success.
I graduated from University at Buffalo with a B.A. in Math and Economics and an M.S. in Economics with an advanced certificate in Finance. I now work at M&T Bank as a Credit Analyst. I aspire to start my own business next year.
I try to put effort into improving at everything that I do because I believe that anything worth doing is worth doing well. Some of my life achievements include, being an all county 1st singles player on my high school tennis team, improving my max bench press by 35lbs in 3 months, running a marathon, climbing a mountain, clearing a 40 feet long ski jump, ranking in the top 10 players in upstate NY in a video game, getting a job in my field immediately after college, being chosen to lead a project at work even though I am one of the newest people there, completing 3 college degrees in 5 years with a high GPA, working at least part time every year since I was in 10th grade, and ranking 1st every week in location accuracy and pulls per week as a backroom team member at Target. I am currently independently learning coding through codecademy.com and freecodecamp.com and am in the process of creating my own website.
These things all resulted from the common theme of focused effort and a clear mindset for improvement. Improvement happens when you try to do something, fail, figure out what you're doing wrong, and try to fix it. Everyone can improve at everything if they stay focused, adapt their improvement methods, and try again. It's never too late. Some things take more time than others, but everything is achievable. If you have an idea of what you want to accomplish in the future, start now and you'll be much more likely to get to where you want to be.
Undergraduate Degree: University at Buffalo - Bachelors, Mathematics and Economics (Double major)
Graduate Degree: University at Buffalo - Masters, Economics (Concentration in Finance
mountain climbing, coding, running, tennis, racquetball, video games
What is your teaching philosophy?
Learning is one of the most rewarding, useful, and fun things that a person can do. My goal as a tutor is to not only help students complete assigned tasks and get good grades, but also to understand why the material is important and how it can help them in life. If I can help a student to be motivated to learn, aspire to fulfill meaningful goals, and give them the tools they need to reach those goals, then I will consider the time that I have spent with them as a success.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Introduce myself, get to know the student, understand their goals for the class, figure out what they're struggling with, and help them with each problem 1 by 1. I would watch them attempt problems and speak their thought processes out loud. This way I can get an understanding of how they're thinking about the problem and where their misunderstanding is coming from. Then I can explain to them why the question and correct answer make sense and provide simple explanations until they understand the underlying concepts and procedures.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
When I encounter a question that I don't immediately know how to answer I ask the student how they would try to learn it on their own. If they can figure it out on their own then that is great, but if they have trouble, I will show them how I would teach myself the question and then have them try to do the same on the next question that they have trouble with. Then repeat until they get the process down and can learn on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would find out what the student is passionate about and show them how learning the subject I am teaching them can help them to reach their goals. For example, math can easily be related to making money and managing it, sports, video games, physics, running any business, understanding relationships between any 2 or more things, etc. Math is the universal language of the world and has endless uses. Some of its uses can surely motivate the student. It's just a matter of figuring out which ones they are interested in.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
First, I would explain it to them in the way that I currently understand it. If that doesn't work, I will act as if I didn't know and relearn the skill or concept again myself while explaining to them how you can learn it from scratch. If they still have trouble I will try to explain it in as many ways as possible and try to relate it to things they already understand well. They may not get one concept because it uses another concept that they don't understand in order to get there. I would try go through all the earlier concepts needed in order to get to the final concept that they are having trouble with.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Once I go through a question with a student and they tell me they understand it, I make sure they understood by having them answer another question on their own that is similar to the one that we just went over together.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Pen/pencil, calculator, paper, and the student's textbook or homework so that I am prepared to explain problems and know what material is covered in the class. A computer is also helpful to show a student how they can find useful resources online and make the most of them. It also helps as a quick reference tool.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I try to get an idea of what they already know vs what they need to know. Once I have a clear understanding of that, a path to get there comes naturally.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would explain all the uses for the subject that are relevant to the student. It is often not obvious to a student how the material can help them. If they know how it will be useful to them they will be more motivated to learn.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I work with them through problems until they understand them. Once they are able to understand the concepts behind a question, they can answer any other questions like it. Every concept that they understand will make the rest of the material a little bit easier for them. I try to get a student to the point where they can see a question that they've never specifically learned about before and be able to answer it on their own using a combination of other concepts they learned previously. When a student can do that, they will likely gain a lot of confidence in the subject.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I will ask them what their needs are, what they know, and what they would like to know. Aside from that I will have them explain their reasoning for answering questions out loud, so that I can correct any misconceptions that they might have immediately.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I adapt my tutoring needs through trial and error. I will explain how to answer a question to the student and see if they understood. If they didn't, I think of another way to explain it. I try to use as many methods as possible to keep things interesting. The more ways it is explained the clearer it will become for them. A combination of visual learning through writing down equations, graphs, pictures, etc., audible learning from explaining it out loud, and physical learning through them showing their work in writing helps to accommodate all learning styles. I also try to be humorous and comfortable, but still focused, to help the student focus on learning instead of getting stressed out or nervous.