Hi! I consider myself upbeat, happy, and encouraging and I try to strike a balance of work/play/rest in my life. I’ve received (and continue to receive) great help in the pursuit of my goals and so I try to help others when I can.
I earned my bachelor’s degree in math at University of Southern California (Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa), and my associate’s degree in music at Los Angeles City College.
Since graduating college, I’ve balanced both math and music—doing some math tutoring, while actually going back to community college to study music. Now, I direct a choir and work as a musician for various side projects.
University of Southern California - Bachelors, Math
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that all students can succeed even if they've had trouble in a certain subject. By creating a supportive environment, I can help guide students' growth through tutoring sessions that are fun and relaxed!
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Hello. In a typical first session with a student, I would take a little time to get to know each other, and then talk briefly about the subject we're working on (where the student is having trouble, where she or he excels). Then, I would jump into some more formal "tutoring:" either helping with some specific assignment the student might have, or if the student doesn't have any specific class material to work on, we could pick some problems together, and I could get a feel for their problem-solving process. I believe in cultivating an upbeat and nurturing feel; striking a balance between "challenging" and "comfortable." And, while I believe most subjects lend themselves to continual practice, I think we can inject a little variety (and even fun) into our tutoring sessions!
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By working with a student to help her or him arrive at the answer (instead of giving away the answer), I can guide a student towards confidence in their own problem-solving abilities. Through increased practice and scaffolding, I believe a student can become not just more proficient in the subject, but become a better learner overall.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
During sessions, I try to be a couple steps ahead of the student: observing their habits, and guiding them through content in a way that will keep them growing, and turned on. If there's an especially hard question, I'll do it with them and even make it a contest to see who can complete the problem first.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would break down the concept into familiar territory, make the student understands those components, and then go back into putting these pieces together. I would start with easier problems and work our way up to more difficult ones, always observing the student's motivation and ability level as we progressed so that I could make adjustments accordingly.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I believe not talking too much, and giving students some space to struggle with problems a little on their own is a good strategy. On the other side of the coin, I try to observe the student's attention and motivation, and make sure they're interested in the problem.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I think a student who struggles in a subject for a long time may build resistance to that subject. By going back to where that student first started struggling, and developing his or her confidence in that subject, I think will help her or him start to see the subject in a new light. Certain topics, like long division for example, are more labor-intensive (and maybe not as fun), and that's okay with me if the student is not excited all the time.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would eventually ask students to try solving a certain problem all on their own, and keep repeating this until they were able to do it with no coaching from me.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I would start by asking a student straight out, to tell me what subjects, or sub-topics they are having trouble with. And then, I might start to probe their knowledge a little by asking them to [informally], start chatting with me about their knowledge in said topic. Then we'd transition into trying out some sample problems in this topic and I could watch and see what (if any) mistakes they are making.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I would guide students through a process--first identifying where they have knowledge gaps (by discussion with the student, and observing them solve problems). Next I would coach them in their areas of weakness, and allow them to try out new techniques we discussed. Then, I'd present them problems to attempt that utilize these techniques, while I watch, trying to offer minimal help when needed. Eventually we would get to the point where they can solve problems without my help.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Observing the student during our interactions would be key for me to be able to be on their level. I've worked with students who are slow, fast, outgoing, shy, distracted, multi-taskers, etc. I think allowing students to be who they are is important. I know some learning styles will not work for all students, and I'm willing to be flexible and try new approaches.