A photo of Bill, a tutor from SUNY Empire State College

Bill

Certified Tutor

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I tutor kids of all ages, and specialize in those with ADD/ADHD, Asperger's and Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as those with emotional and cognitive disorders. My preferred subjects are test preparation (SAT, ACT, GRE, etc.), Math, Science, and English.

Bill’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: SUNY Empire State College - Bachelors, General Sciences, Theater

Hobbies

I am a big science buff, especially astronomy and evolutionary biology. I was also a competitive wrestler for 10 years and a competitive runner for five. I have 3 kids of my own and I love to teach.


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I think it's very important that I relate to students on a personal level so they truly understand that I want them to do well. Once that bond is made, we can work together toward a common goal. I also determine early on how students learn. For example, some kids are visual learners, while others need to have questions read to them. It's amazing to see the transformation in a student when you hit upon that student's learning style. Also, I think it's important to be able to recognize when a student is getting overwhelmed and you need to step back and take the pressure off.

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

Often the first thing I do is talk with the student and parent(s) about their recreational interests. I'll build in some extra time for this so that they won't have to pay for it, because we're all having fun and getting comfortable with each other. Once that's done, we'll talk about goals, strengths, weaknesses, where we are and where we want to be. After that, I may quiz the student to find out her level of understanding of the subject matter, and then maybe we'll do some drills and figure out what we're going to do in the next couple of sessions. That's about enough for one session.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I try to find out what a student wants. Some want good grades, and some want to please their parents. Others want to make me happy. Once I figure that out, I get the student onboard and pace out some goals while making sure their eye is on the big picture.

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

If a student isn't getting a concept, I give them real-life examples. For instance, if a student doesn't understand the concept of a mathematical variable, I'll give them a gas mileage problem. The gas mileage is a real number that we're trying to find out - that's a variable. Eventually, we hit on something that clicks.

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

If a student seems to be bored with a subject, I'll tell her what gets me excited about it. For example, let's say she's having trouble getting interested in biology. I might point out that while humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, and all other great apes have 24. How did that happen? Contrary to popular belief, it didn't happen gradually, but it happened in one great leap. Millions of years ago, two ape chromosomes fused and led to the very first human. So it could be argued that Adam and Eve were apes. Pretty exciting stuff. This might get somebody interested in biology. I can do this for most subjects.

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

One of the best ways to learn a subject is to teach it, so I have my students teach the material to me. Not only does this give me a good idea of their grasp of the material, it makes them bring their game up to a new level. This crystallizes the subject matter in their minds.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I have students do their work with as little guidance from me as possible. While some kids are okay with figuring things out completely on their own, others need to either watch me do a problem or guide them through it.