Hi! My name is Evan, I graduated from Allegheny College in May 2015 with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Psychology, and after graduation I moved to Pittsburgh to begin my career. Besides tutoring for Varsity Tutors, I work as a Laboratory Technician 2 for PPG in Springdale, PA. My laboratory uses fundamental aspects of chemistry to run testing on electrocoat paints in order to determine their respective viabilities as manufacturing products. I love what I do! I currently work 40 hours a week in my Lab Technician position, but would be available after 6 pm as well as weekends (when scheduled in advance).
I have worked as a Biology tutor for both the AP Biology Test as well as the SAT Subject Test for Biology for the last two summers through Maine Prep, one of Maine's premier test-preparation companies. At Maine Prep I learned about what it takes to be a successful tutor, and I also learned about the satisfaction that one can gain from helping students understand previously unknown concepts. Now that I'm in the Pittsburgh area I would love to continue expanding on my tutoring experience- I enjoy working with students and someday I would like to be a Professor in Biology!
Undergraduate Degree: Allegheny College - Bachelors, Biology, General
SAT Subject Test in Biology E/M: 740
Reading, video games, and relaxing after a long day of work!
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that the tutor-student relationship is a two-way street: mutual respect is an absolute must. It is the tutor's duty to respect the student's intelligence and empathize with his or her situation, because everyone struggles with concepts from time to time. The student's responsibility is to be willing to look at the subject from another point of view, because sometimes a change of perspective can allow a previously difficult concept to make sense. If both the tutor and student are willing to work with each other in such a way, then both can gain something special from the experience.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I typically start a first session with my students by telling them a little bit about myself, and then asking the students about their background in the subject. From there I generally go on to ask about what concepts they are struggling with and if there is anything we should work on in particular. This background knowledge can help me create a personalized study plan for each student, which can streamline the tutoring process.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Some students are inherently able to motivate themselves to become independent learners, but many others need a little help along the way. I personally became an independent learner when I found my passion for science: instead of putting off homework to the last minute and putting in the bare-minimum effort, I found myself wanting to learn more than what was required. This leads me to believe that the best way to inspire a student to become an independent learner is to help them find the subject that doesn't feel like a chore, but intrigues and excites them.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
The best way to help any student stay motivated is to directly tie the student's efforts with the results that he or she is achieving. This can be both positive and negative achievements: a failed test that a student barely prepared for can be a real wake-up call, and a student achieving an A after putting in the effort to study can build self-esteem. By tying expended effort to achievement the student can feel control over his or her life: this sense of control combined with a concrete goal can help the student to stay motivated.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
The main way that I check to see if the student is following along is to regularly ask questions. Instead of constantly lecturing like a professor, I routinely intersperse my lecture with questions: if the student can correctly answer the question, then I move on with the lecture, but if the student gets it wrong I will pause and ask why he or she answered in such a way. I have found that this can expose previously unknown gaps in understanding, and once these gaps are amended the student can better understand the concept. Sometimes I will even have the student pretend to be the tutor and that I am a student struggling with the concept. If the student can accurately describe the concept to me, then he or she certainly understands it; if the student struggles or is incorrect about certain aspects of the core concept, then I make a note and make corrections afterwards.