I love math, and I love to help students succeed in math. I teach and tutor math at a community college. I tutor students in pre-algebra through calculus, and I teach algebra and statistics classes. For me, the delight in my job comes from developing relationships with students and watching them succeed in math and grow in confidence. My tutoring experience goes back to college, when I tutored fellow students as well as middle and high school students in the community. It was then that my passion for helping others learn math started.
I have a Bachelor's degree in math from Middlebury College (VT). I also hold a Master's degree in Math Education from University of Phoenix, with a focus on curriculum and instruction. I have developed curriculum for a variety of courses, including a course in math study skills, and I have extensive experience in differentiating instruction for various students and working with math anxious students.
Undergraduate Degree: Middlebury College - Bachelors, Mathematics
Graduate Degree: University of Phoenix - Masters, Education - Curriculum and Instruction, Mathematics
Running, knitting, quilting, puzzles, yoga, and fitness
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe in the ability of students to succeed in math. My role is to provide the information in the clearest way, engaging a student’s mind and providing the key resources to facilitate learning, while it is up to the student to bring an open mind and a commitment to work hard and follow through. Without these complementary roles student success is harder to achieve. Students need to feel that they can openly struggle with math and not be ridiculed or seen as stupid. I foster a safe environment which allows students to have their questions answered and not be left behind. All students deserve an education in which they are encouraged to participate without fear. Learning should also be fun. Math is a creative, fascinating and rich field. I want my students to experience that more than the drudgery they often feel.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In the first session I would want to get to know the student. It's important to hear from each student about their interests and their struggle in order to make a plan to move forward. I would work through some basic problems to get a feel for the student's base knowledge and their vocabulary for talking about math.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I always introduce study skills as I help a student with their math. I have written the curriculum for a math study skills class and taught that class many times. I share basic study skills, test-taking skills, and problem solving skills so that students are able to take control over their own learning.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I like to make my tutoring fun. That means we might play a game that will give the student the opportunity to work on skills in an environment that is more engaging than worksheets. I also encourage students to set short-term goals that are attainable, and I recognize the achievement of those goals. I believe it is motivating not only to see yourself make progress but to also have that progress acknowledged by others.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
When a student is having trouble learning a concept it is important to get to the root of the problem. Often it is just one piece of the puzzle that is missing. I listen to what a student is saying and watch the work they are doing in order to figure out the point at which they are stuck. Other times students need to hear an explanation in a different way. I have many different ways of approaching problems, so I can usually find the explanation that connects for a student.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension is a difficult thing when reading a math textbook. I help students to understand how to approach reading math. I also teach them different ways to break down the material into easily digestible chunks, including learning maps, vocabulary lists, and annotation.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I believe it is very important to get to know students as I start to work with them. Knowing what interests them helps me later when we are struggling with motivation. I also feel like it is important to talk about what they DO know before we talk about what they are struggling with. I like to start on a positive note and work from there.