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Mike

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I'm a graduate of Brigham Young University in Business Management, and I am currently working towards a Bioengineering degree at the University of Utah. I've always loved math and I'm great at helping students make sense of new or difficult concepts. As a tutor, I am careful to make sure that students are able to do problems on their own, without relying too heavily on memorization.

Outside of school and work, I enjoy getting up in the mountains whenever I can. I especially like hiking, fishing, and backpacking. I'm also a huge nerd when it comes to fantasy and science fiction novels.

Mike’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Brigham Young University-Provo - Bachelors, Business Management: Supply Chain Emphasis

Hobbies

hiking, backpacking, fishing, anything in the great outdoors


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I don't believe anyone is doomed to be bad at math for life. The brain is like a muscle, and while some people may be out of shape, everyone can become smarter by pushing themselves. As I teach, I give students the confidence they need to become "smart" at any subject.

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

I would first assess where the student is at. Often when a student is struggling in math, it's because they never fully understood something they've already learned.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Part of the teaching process will involve helping students learn how to use resources that are already available to them in their books, at school, and online.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

By encouraging the student and never making her/him feel dumb because they have a question. I'm still a student myself, so I can relate to feeling lost in a tough subject.

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

I would backtrack a little and make sure the student has a solid understanding of all the necessary prerequisite knowledge. From there I would approach the problem in as many different ways as possible until it clicks.

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

I help the student learn how to guess the meanings of difficult words by using the context. I also help the student learn how to get the main ideas from a passage quickly, without being bogged down by the details.

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

I like to be very relaxed and friendly at the beginning so the student will feel comfortable being honest about areas they are struggling with.

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

In math, it's common to hear students say, "but when will I ever use any of this?" Having had experience in business and now engineering, I actually have an answer for them, making it easier to stay motivated.

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

I make sure they can do a practice problem by themselves before moving on. If it is a non-math related subject, they should be able to explain in their own words what was taught.

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

I focus on what they do know at the beginning, and then at each step of the learning process, I complement and praise the student. It's so easy for tutors/teachers to make a student feel stupid for not knowing something, so in addition to praise, I make sure to be extremely patient.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

For Math subjects, I can quickly gauge whether a student has the basics down. I'm also careful to pay attention to a student's stress and anxiety levels. Often, bad scores on tests can follow great scores on homework if a student doesn't know how to manage their stress well. Part of learning the subject is learning how to work under pressure.

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

Different people learn different ways. I alter my teaching method depending on how the student responds.

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

For math, I prefer to use the resources that the student has provided by their class. That way I'm not using notation that is unfamiliar to what the student's teacher is using. I make use of practice tests in other subjects.