A photo of Brett, a tutor from Kean University

Brett

Certified Tutor

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I've been tutoring students of all ages for the past three years. MATH is my specialty - a subject I love. To me, math is all about solving puzzles. Showing my students how problem-solving can be more like a game than a torture session helps them look at math from a different point of view psychologically. Self-esteem is really half the battle - especially with math I've discovered methods that help grow my students' confidence. There is no greater reward than watching my students have that "aha" moment.
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I constantly hear parents tell me that their child just hates math, and shuts down. I'm told that no matter how their child is taught, they just don't 'get it.' In my years of private tutoring, I have NEVER had a student give up. I take the time to get to know my students simply by talking with them. I learn their interests, strengths, and weaknesses, and use that knowledge to map out a way into their comfort zone.
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I've never had a student who did not improve their math skills. Most of my students improve a full letter grade, and many advance an entire school year. My goal as your child's tutor is to show them how to learn to love math. And I'm good at it.
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In shaping productive members of a democratic society, there can be no greater challenge, nor greater reward than teaching. It becomes our responsibility to show every student that they possess real and valuable worth. Each child deserves to know they can make a difference in today’s society.
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I have always maintained high expectations of myself, and know how to impart that same belief in others. Children need to understand – especially today’s children – that education is responsible for success. It’s education that builds the backbone of a great society.

Brett’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Kean University - Bachelors, Education

Graduate Degree: Nathan Weiss - Current Grad Student, Spec. Ed.

Hobbies

NFL - NY Giants; Golf; Photography; Art; Photoshop;

Tutoring Subjects


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

If I had to choose one education philosophy above all others, it would be constructivism. For me, education should not just be about the destination, rather it must somehow relate to the trip. The very nature of learning and how information is processed is fundamental to true understanding. I don’t believe that schools should be uncompromising Essentialist prisons, nor do I believe that schools should strive to be experimental Progressive playgrounds. Rather, I see education as a way of explaining certain truths, while encouraging imaginations to soar. I don’t see how a teacher in today’s world can adhere to any one fixed ideology and provide their students the opportunities needed to succeed in this modern era. Notwithstanding the amount of knowledge being passed along, without skills and values, that knowledge will be rendered ineffectual. Honesty, integrity and respect are also qualities in short supply today. Imparting these principles in students as necessary and valuable commodities is critical to one’s true success. My goal as a teacher is to create an environment where students’ strengths are recognized ahead of their weaknesses.

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

Introduce myself while explaining my style of teaching, and what I expect from the student. I have a good sense of humor, and am able to put the student at ease. The last thing I want is to have the student stressed out. Part of my job is to impart confidence in every student. Math does not have to be torture - it can actually be fun. I will demonstrate how I work through problems - one step at a time. I am extremely patient, and the student will understand how math "works."

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

As I previously stated, I have the ability to make students understand how to work through problems. Math - or any other subject for that matter, is a methodology. In other words, it's not a race, but simply a series of steps. I put my students at ease through humor and logic.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I look at math as a puzzle - I lead my students through the steps to reach a logical conclusion. The student will gain experience, and with experience comes confidence. Confidence is key.

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

I would go back to a point where things have gone awry and slowly work through similar, but somewhat easier problems. From there, we work through the steps again. We continue along this road until the student becomes more comfortable. Then, we add a bit more complexity - slowly so I don't lose the student's attention.

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

I slowly go over the definitions that I see are problem areas. Again, it's not a race.

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

I find humor is the best way to reach students. I find that asking what interests the student has is a great way of beginning. I want them to be at ease, and understand that I'm not there to pound information into their heads.

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

With math, I always have the students look at problems as puzzles - which can prove to be fun. Solving problems does not have to be torture. It's fun!

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

After showing them the steps I use, I give them a chance to show what they remember. I take things slowly - making sure that learning is actually taking place. Once they begin to "get it" things become logical, and all problems have pieces in common.

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

I give them simple things to start. I will slowly add new elements and show how everything fits together - like a puzzle. I don't want to sound like a broken record, but that's how I see things. I look for fun. The more elements I add, I monitor the student's understanding. Little by little I see "aha" moments - nothing compares to seeing that on a student's face.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I continually monitor what the students understand. Once I see that, I make the road map to more understanding. My students constantly change - and I change with them. I evaluate their needs by talking with them - not at them.

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

I try to use their books/worksheets/homework. I want to show them what they need - not what I want to give. I have to show them how to do THEIR work so they gain confidence - that's primarily what I'm there for.