I'm a professional engineer by day and tutor, well, all the time. My day job requires me to interact daily with non-engineers and to constantly recall my schooling. Consequently, I love to explain facts in an understandable and interesting way. Many people have told me that I am a natural teacher because I am a natural learner. My profession and education as an engineer challenges me to learn new things every day and to figure out how things work.
I graduated Columbia University (Master's Mech. Engineering) and The Cooper Union (Bachelor's Mech. Engineering) both with a 3.9 GPA so I know what it's like to study hard and excel in rigorous programs. One important way I got through my college and graduate school was to teach and be taught by others. This is why I love tutoring.
Tutoring to me is more than just giving the answers. It's about imparting a mindset of working hard until you can solve the problem. It's about finding out WHY the answer is right and understanding the answer well enough to able to teach it to someone else. I want my students to know that hard work makes you a better person and that it's fun to learn new things; and I'm just here to show you how to do that.
Undergraduate Degree: Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art - Bachelors, Mechanical Engineering
Graduate Degree: Columbia University in the City of New York - Masters, Mechanical Engineering
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1440
SAT Math: 730
SAT Verbal: 710
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching style is casual yet professional. I like to teach at the pace of the student, but reach for goals that we set together. My philosophy is to try to relate to the student and make the subject understandable any way that I can.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Introduce myself and get to know the student as a person. He/she is not a project to me; he/she is a person first. I would like to set goals and expectations. I would try to assess their baseline performance.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By encouraging them to ask the "Why" questions, and by showing them to benefit of being an independent learner. I would explain to them how successful people are that way, and how being an independent learner is not a scary or hard thing.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would remind him/her the reasons for why they want to succeed and what they want success to look like. I would encourage them of the progress they've already made. I would suggest they give themselves small rewards along the way for working hard.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I try to explain it in various ways to try to get through to them. If they're good at sports, use sports analogies; if they like video games, use that as a tool to explain a concept. I would break down the basics and use them as building blocks.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I too struggle with reading comprehension. I would share that with them first so that they understand it's not just them. I would suggest they try to read through a passage quickly first to get a sense of the main ideas, and then read it a second time more slowly to get the details.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I think learning needs to be fun and fulfilling; positive feedback works. Also, establishing a baseline is helpful; otherwise, you don't know whether you're progressing. Lastly, being a friend to them rather than a teacher is key.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would try to explain the importance of that subject in their life and how amazing of a role it plays. I would encourage them that not everyone who succeeds in a subject starts out well.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would have the student explain the answer back to me. I would give them harder questions that target methods they struggled with in the past. I would decrease the amount of time they have to answer questions and measure the student's accuracy.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I would show them to progress they made. I would show them that it's not that rocket science which is being asked of them. I would tell them how it was also difficult for me to learn these things but I got the hang of it.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
First, I ask them directly and indirectly. I keep an eye out for questions that they find difficult or pieces of a solution they seem to miss. I try to look for subtle cues as well as obvious ones. I do this by working through practice problems as well as by asking a student to explain to me how they arrived at the answer.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I try to use a concept or subject that they already know well. So if the student likes sports or video games or TV, I would try to incorporate that in my explanations. I also try to target and point out areas that I think the student would need to understand as I explain a solution to a problem.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I like using the textbook or workbooks that the student already uses from school or at home on a regular basis. That way, they have ownership of the material and feel confident about returning to it day-to-day.