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I am currently a 7th grade math teacher at Lyons Community School in Brooklyn, NY. I have been in that position for 2 years. I greatly enjoy my job as a teacher and mentor for my students. When I am not teaching, I enjoy exercising and right now I am training for my first half-marathon. I also enjoy watching documentaries and classic movies. I look forward to working with your child!

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Derek’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus - Bachelors, Economics

Graduate Degree: Cedar Crest College - Masters, Secondary Education with Mathematics Concentration


loves working out, member of a kickball league, and enjoys watching Netflix

Tutoring Subjects

10th Grade

10th Grade Math

10th Grade Writing

11th Grade

11th Grade Math

11th Grade Reading

11th Grade Writing

12th Grade

12th Grade Math

12th Grade Reading

12th Grade Writing

1st Grade Math

2nd Grade Math

3rd Grade Math

4th Grade Math

6th Grade

6th Grade Math

6th Grade Writing

7th Grade

7th Grade Math

8th Grade Math

9th Grade Math

ACCUPLACER College-Level Math

ACCUPLACER Elementary Algebra

Adult Literacy

Advanced Placement Prep


Algebra 2

Algebra 3/4

American Literature

AP Economics

AP Microeconomics

AP US History


College Algebra

College Business

College Level American Literature

Elementary Math

Elementary School

Elementary School Math

Elementary School Writing

High School

High School Business

High School English

High School Level American Literature

High School Writing



Middle School

Middle School Math





Study Skills and Organization



Test Prep

US Constitutional History


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy is that every student every student can learn as long as they put in the work. As a teacher, I think of myself as a leader. I am there to help students discover concepts and ideas, not bombard them with information. When true discovery happens the lesson stays with the student and can be applied to new concepts.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

I will always begin sessions outlining long term and short term goals. Long-term goals can be anything from "I want to pass a test" to "I need to get into this particular college." Short-term goals are things we can work through on a weekly or monthly basis. Short-term goals will yield long-term success with proper planning and hard work. I also like to see what level students are performing at, so I may give a short diagnostic assessment. This will save time and allow me to better focus my instruction. For example, I won't waste time teaching a 7th grader about negative numbers when they already know the concept.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Independent learning is essential for success in college and life in general. My role will not be to provide students with all the answers. It is essential that they know how to find the answers by themselves. For example, if they are struggling to remember how to write a line in slope-intercept form, they should utilize textbooks and digital resources to find the answer. By doing this they will become more independent and self-assured of their ability to tackle problems.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Younger children are extrinsically motivated, meaning they want something concrete in exchange for performing a task. So that may be going to a friend's house, a weekend trip, or choosing that night's dinner. Those are things that can be worked out and discussed with parents. Older children are more intrinsically motivated, meaning they will work for a reward that could be months or years away. For example, me working hard now may mean I can get into a good college later.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

First I examine their work and see if I can spot the misunderstanding. If I cannot see the misunderstanding, then I ask a student to walk me through their thinking. In my experience this has helped me pinpoint a student’s difficulty. Once the difficulty is identified, then we talk about what went wrong and how we can fix it.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

In my classroom we read all passages twice. Each paragraph is then summarized in 8 words or less. At the end of each passage we ask one question we have from our reading. I have found this greatly helps with understanding and comprehension.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

Students must be comfortable with their teacher. To get to this level we must know each other at more than a superficial level. They need to feel that I care for them and their wellbeing. I have found that I have much more success teaching students who feel a bigger "buy-in" from me as a person and not only a teacher.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

I have found that tailoring subjects to student’s interests has always helped with engagement. For example, I have a student who really like racecars. We did a lesson on speed, distance, and time so that students was thoroughly engaged.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I like to ask students to give a verbal assessment of problems they have solved. I will ask questions to deepen their understanding. I also find quizzes and tests are also useful.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

This goes back to a student being an independent learner. The more independence we can give our students the more confidence they will feel.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I use diagnostic testing and interview the students themselves to pinpoint their needs.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

I scaffold my lessons. For example, I pick problems that are very basic in the beginning, then build up to problems that are harder. This allows students to understand a concept piece by piece until they have a full understanding.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

I prefer to use digital resources (laptops, iPads, etc.). However, students must be able to solve problems without the aid of technology.

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