A photo of Mark, a tutor from Cornell University

Mark

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I am a retired architect who has a deep interest and enjoyment of math. Playing duplicate bridge is a constantly challenging pastime. I also dabble in coin collecting, piano, table tennis, bike riding and raising chickens. I enjoy the travel, the symphony and theater. I'm a father of three and grandfather of two who loves to work with children. The most interesting math classes I've taken were Abstract Algebra and Analysis as an undergrad - they really demonstrated how beautiful math can be.

Mark’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Cornell University - Bachelors, Architecture

Graduate Degree: Carnegie Mellon University - Masters, Architecture

Hobbies

Piano, duplicte bridge, numistmatics


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

Working with students to get them fired up about math subjects greatly motivates me. Whether instructing from their textbooks, doing problems or devising specific instruction for them, I always enjoy the interaction and challenge. Learning and being able to utilize concepts in math is a lifelong ability which teaches ways to visualize and attack a wide variety of problems. I have tutored various math subjects to several students over the past 20 years. I enjoy working with students to get them to appreciate and understand math concepts. I insist that all steps be shown and that the "process" of reaching the answer be clear. I will utilize online material when appropriate.

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

My first step is to assess if any foundation material needs reinforcement.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I try to emphasize a bigger picture for math; that it is a lifelong skill, that it teaches a perspective on how to attack a wide variety of problems. I like to use a sports analogy - you don't just show up to play the game, you need to practice hard and perform quite a few "unglamorous" tasks (weights, laps, pushups, whatever) to be able to get into the game. The same is true for math - you need to do the day-to-day work to achieve mastery.

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

I can usually find alternate ways to explain concepts. For example, some students might more easily relate to rise over run for the slope of a line, others might relate to delta y over delta x, others will relate to a visual, showing positive & negative slopes and steep/shallow slopes.

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

I try to relate to them on a personal level. I need to be accepted by them to best accomplish the tutoring objectives so it is essential to be able to communicate with them easily within a personal style. I don't think tutoring = lecturing.