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Mike

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Mathematics has always been my strongest subject, but it has also always been more than that to me. I have a personal relationship with the field, and mathematics is the passion of my life. I am a passionate student, soon to be finished with a Master's degree in computational mathematics before moving on this coming Fall and beginning a Ph.D. program in pure mathematics, but I am also a passionate tutor whose ultimate goal in life is to share my enthusiasm for the discipline as a college instructor. I enjoy working with other people, and as someone who is still an active student of math I feel well equipped to relate with others who may be struggling with the material or with understanding why it may be relevant in their lives. I am confident in my ability to connect mathematical concepts to real world examples, and flexible in regard to working at whatever pace is most comfortable for each student.

While I am willing and able to provide help to students in any area of mathematics, areas such as algebra, pre-calculus, calculus, and discrete math are among my favorites. I am also happy to provide test prep for both general and subject SATs and GREs, which includes studying the material to be included on these tests as well as going over specific test-taking strategies. In addition to mathematics, I am able to offer assistance for computer science courses as well, with particular knowledge in languages such as Java and Python.

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Mike’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Carnegie Mellon University - Bachelors, Mathematics

Graduate Degree: Duquesne University - Masters, Computational Mathematics

Test Scores

GRE Quantitative: 170

GRE Verbal: 162

Hobbies

Outside of mathematics, music is among my greatest interests, in particular playing guitar. I am also an avid reader.

Tutoring Subjects

Algebra

Algebra 2

Algebra 3/4

AP Calculus AB

AP Calculus BC

Calculus

Calculus 2

Calculus 3

College Algebra

College Computer Science

Computer Science

Differential Equations

Discrete Math

Graduate Test Prep

GRE Quantitative

High School Computer Science

Java

Math

Multivariable Calculus

Pre-Calculus

Python

Quantitative Reasoning

Technology and Computer Science

Trigonometry


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

My philosophy is that teaching is ultimately about connecting with a student. The material being taught is in a way secondary, as understanding, and more importantly a desire to understand, will follow if and once a successful connection is made.

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

In a typical first session it is useful for both myself and the student to gauge what it is the student does and does not know about the relevant material, but I generally place an even greater emphasis on assessing the level of interest that student has for the subject. If the interest is not there, attempting to explain and clarify the material usually proves to be a greater challenge, and so I first like to get the student more interested in the material. Such efforts include getting to know the student, which is useful for building a friendly working relationship, and is also helpful for me as it allows me to learn what that student does care about so I can then try to connect the material to their interests.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

An important component of being a successful tutor is teaching students the relevant material, but it is at least equally important to increase students' interest in the material and teach them the skills to be a more efficient learner. This includes helping students learn how to identify what it is they know and what it is they do not know so they can more effectively study and allocate their time.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

The number one way to keep a student motivated is to engage them in the material by connecting it to what they are interested in. It is also useful to set incremental goals for students so they have a concrete measure of their progress and success.

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

I would first ask the student to explain the skill or concept, as well as its purpose, to the best of their ability to gauge where their understanding is at. If a student is unable to recognize why a concept is important it often serves as an obstacle to their ability to learn that concept. It is then my duty as a tutor to convey exactly why the skill or concept is necessary and connect it to what they already know.

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

I adapt my tutoring to a student's needs in whatever way will be beneficial for them. If they need to work at a slower pace, I am happy to slow things down. If they are a visual learner, I will provide graphical representations and other visual aids to help clarify the material. If they are the type of student that needs frequent repetition to master a concept or technique, I will go over as many practice problems as they require, including designing some of my own if I feel it will be helpful. This also includes continuing to review previous concepts even as we move on to new material.

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

As a mathematics tutor, my primary materials are simply a pencil and paper, in addition to whatever textbooks are being used by the student. I may also bring and use a textbook of my own if I feel it would be beneficial. If a student learns best from visual aids, I am happy to provide them. I may make use of online resources as well.

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

A simple and standard technique is to have a student perform practice problems to confirm their understanding of the material. However, in addition to that, I like to ask students to explain the material verbally to me, which includes discussing the relevant concepts and their importance, as I feel the best way to demonstrate and reinforce one's understanding is to explain the material to somebody else.


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