I am a recent graduate of Stony Brook University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Math and Statistics. Currently, I am studying for the FM and P exams in Actuarial Sciences. Mathematics has always been my strongest and most favorite subject. I was on the Math team for several years and participated in various regional Math competitions. I also have years of experience tutoring in formal and informal settings in a myriad of math subjects ranging from Algebra to Calculus IV.
It is my passion to show students the beauty in math and disprove the many misconceptions of it being difficult and nonsensical, which I often find stems from poor communication between students and their teachers. As a tutor, I aim to rectify that problem with one-on-one sessions designed to tackle concepts from a different angle, that perhaps the teacher had overlooked. There is no better feeling to me than that moment of clarity when a student finally understands something they had been previously struggling with.
Aside from math and studying, I also play guitar and write music in my spare time. Although many people probably would never think so, math and music are actually codependent, and one could not exist without the other. They are both natural occurrences, and I consider their relationship a unique form of art. My individual love for them both has given me a greater appreciation and understanding of them separately.
Undergraduate Degree: Stony Brook University - Bachelors, Math/Applied Math and Statistics
SAT Math: 700
Playing guitar, writing music and playing video games.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I feel like the greatest source of struggle for students stems from the inevitable miscommunication with teachers who are required to use impersonal techniques in order to satisfy the conditions of a large group of students simultaneously. As a tutor, it is my job to bridge that gap by specifically targeting those weak points in a personal one on one setting.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I'll always start with casual introductions to empathize with the student and emulate a friendlier, less stressful setting. Afterwards, I'll ask them to elaborate on what they're specifically having trouble with so that I have a good grasp on what they're familiar with and where they stand, and can start helping them appropriately.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I find that the primary reason most students are so reluctant to learn independently is that their perception of the subject has been skewed by miscommunication and misconception. As a tutor, I aim to remedy those inconsistencies by granting them a deep-rooted knowledge of the subject, and offering them extra course materials so that they will be able to study and learn independently.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Students always lack motivation because certain subjects seem too difficult and exhausting to learn and master. But the learning process should never be a tedious one, rather a personal growth of knowledge. As a tutor, I wish to knock down the mental walls and obstacles students often feel confronted with to show a clear, simple path and help students in retaining their motivation through studying.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Finding the source of a student's struggle isn't always easy, but it is certainly a rewarding endeavor. I would initially attempt to offer a very simple, real-world explanation that perhaps they can easily relate to in order to obtain a stronger grasp on the concept. I would then have them work independently on an example problem so that I can easily identify during which step of the process they begin to have trouble with and try to work with them through it. If all else fails, my go-to method is to keep working on various examples until a pattern emerges for the student and they are able to recognize and overcome their primary source of confusion.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
First of all, I would tell them to always read at a slow enough, comfortable pace that they are able to retain the information. Rereading certain sentences or even the whole text a number of times certainly helps as well. For some students, it even helps to write down certain bits of information while they read. If there is certain vocabulary present that the student is unable to understand, I urge them to use a dictionary. Finally, I would demonstrate how to recognize key words that are inherently vital to the text, and make a habit of underlining them to help see the most important parts more easily.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I like to keep friendly, empathetic relationships with my students in order to distinguish myself from "teacher". From my experiences, students respond a lot better when they feel they're working with a fellow peer rather than an authority figure. To that extent, I'll relate to their struggles by sharing my past experience with them, and the steps I took to overcome them when I was in the same position.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
It's undoubtedly difficult to retain excitement when dealing with tough concepts. I find the best way to deal with this is to simply find the source of struggle and help students to gain a tighter grasp on the subject. From there, excitement and engagement usually follow from overcoming the obstacles that they thought were impossible before. Students often just need a little push to keep them going.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would use any means necessary in order to help a student gain an understanding of the material. Personally, I find visual aids help tremendously. But more than that, I will make sure the student understands every step of the process and I'm always sure to explain why certain things result in what they do while others don't. Sometimes I think it's best for a student to just attempt as much as they can on their own and whenever they get confused or make a mistake, I'll be there every step of the way to help them. Eventually, their reliance on me gets smaller and smaller until they are able to work completely on their own.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
For full confidence and mastery in a subject, I always start from the very basic roots and work upwards from there. In order to have total knowledge in a particular subject it's important to familiarize yourself with the essentials. Once a student has a good grasp on the core of the subject and they recognize how to work with it through my help, the confidence quickly follows and builds over time.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Typically, whenever a student is struggling with a concept, it's either they are having trouble with something very specific in that concept or they just lack fundamental knowledge altogether. If it's the prior, I will work with them diligently until I can recognize what that problem is and help them overcome it. Otherwise, I like to start with a ground-up approach, covering the basics and slowly working towards the more complex until they have full rudimentary knowledge.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
As a tutor, I understand that every student is unique and has their own way of learning and understanding. In fact, often times a student's struggle stems from the teacher's inability to appropriately account towards each of the students' needs. I tend to remain flexible with my teaching and if I notice one method isn't particularly getting through to a student, I'll try something else until I find one that works well. In this way, every student's tutoring experience is different and specifically catered towards their needs.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Aside from the standard online tutoring platform and student's own personal materials/notes/textbooks from school, the materials I'm most comfortable using are all found online. I always try to implore and encourage students to use the vast resource of information, as it offers virtually any kind of help or information for free. And since the internet is so immense, chances are a student will find information pertaining to their subject of choice that will be both helpful and involving.