Hello, my name is Alan, and I would love to help you in any areas in which I have expertise. I am adept at most any type of math and most any type of language. I do enjoy math, yet I love to read literature and to write.
Learning is best when it is fun, and when it is adapted to the learner at hand. I am always interested in hearing what the learner is thinking because I think a lot can be learned from listening to how an individual is arriving at a given perspective.
I taught for several years through an organization called Teach For America, and I later earned my master's in education from Harvard University. I was even able to earn a Teacher of the Year award for my school, my city, and then my county. But a lot more important than awards or degrees is that I genuinely have a good time working with students of all ages. Learning itself is fun, and there is often a lot of humor and reward along the way as well!
If you think I might be of help to you, I look forward to hearing from you.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: New Mexico State University-Main Campus - Bachelors, Mathematics
Graduate Degree: Harvard University - Masters, Education
ACT Composite: 30
ACT English: 30
ACT Math: 35
ACT Reading: 31
Tennis, pop music, Spanish, coffee, Italy
High School English
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My philosophy is that learning requires some basic anchors and hard work at the front end, but once a person feels confident in fundamentals, he or she feels freed to learn with greater curiosity and enjoyment. The best learning is fun.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
It is good to hear what the student's goals are, what the current struggles are, how they prefer to learn, perhaps a little of his/her background. I think we should begin by learning something to the point of confidence.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Students become independent once they have mastered a few skills or strategies in which they are confident. They can use these as strong anchors for the rest of their learning.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
We are all motivated by fun, humor, and also success. We know the feeling of being skilled, and this is motivating.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I like to listen to the student to find out what they are thinking and what they are struggling with. There may be different ways to approach the material.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I think it is best to read passages together and then discuss what is being said. We can discuss any difficult words and have fun by incorporating those words into our conversations in creative ways.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
First, it is important to learn something about the person and what his or her goals are. Then we can start with a task, and I like to hear a lot about what the person is thinking. I would rather be a guide and an equal.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
The best way is fun. In math, I have always found that knowing a few key things can give a person so much confidence, and then there is a lot more room for thought, learning, and speed. So often it is really just a confidence problem. We all have that!
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I think we should practice the material together, and I would like to see whether he/she can guide me through it and do it more on his/her own. We can apply the lesson in new settings. I do not like to forget old material. There is always a chance to link it together, and this makes learning more complete.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
There are often building blocks, and you get really good at those. If you feel stronger in negative numbers; fractions; speaking simple sentences in Spanish, then your confidence, curiosity, and enjoyment will grow.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
When students complete a first assignment with me and talk things out with me, I can start to see what they are good at. They may be taking these things for granted, but they shouldn't! This is something we can emphasize. Then if there are weaknesses, we can take one or two and hammer those out over time. The smallest improvements can make a person hear more in class, get more out of homework, calm down on a test.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
If a student likes music, let's incorporate that. If the person likes to write notes about steps, that should be encouraged. If the person is an artist, maybe we can draw more. It seems like many students know a lot about the way they learn, so if I can listen to what they have to say, we should be good.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Paper, pencil, computer, imagination, and a sense of fun.