I have been tutoring professionally full time since January 2015. I love helping my students become confident in their studies. So often my students see math as an immovable obstacle in their lives and I work hard to show them it is actually just a set of skills not yet learned. I break down concepts into smaller steps that are less intimidating. I also re-teach concepts that are usually forgotten from lower levels of math that are necessary to understand current concepts. I prefer to teach students concepts in an intuitive way versus a memorization way. In the long run, understanding mathematical concepts on an intuitive level will be remembered longer and will help with higher level math down the road. I push my students to the level of accomplishment I believe they are currently capable of achieving.
I feel one of my greatest resources as a math tutor is true empathy. I was not fond of math in high school, either. It was only in college that I really hit the books when it came to math and eventually learned to enjoy math because I needed it for my other classes as a biochemistry major, biology minor. I have an excellent academic record with a 3.9 GPA. I am a member of the Honors College at ODU, have won multiple academic awards, and have maintained Dean's List for my entire college career. I have also been accepted early admission into VCU's Pharmacy School to pursue a PhamD degree. I hope to eventually own and operate an independent community pharmacy. In my fee time, I practice yoga, read fun books, and watch movies.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Old Dominion University - Current Undergrad, Biochemistry
yoga, movies (especially horror), books, my cats, coffee
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
So often my students see math as an immovable obstacle in their lives, and I work hard to show them it is actually just a set of skills not yet learned. I break down concepts into smaller steps that are less intimidating. I also re-teach concepts that are usually forgotten from lower levels of math that are necessary to understand current concepts. I prefer to teach students concepts in an intuitive way versus a memorization way. In the long run, understanding mathematical concepts on an intuitive level will be remembered longer and will help with higher level math down the road. I push my students to the level of accomplishment I believe they are currently capable of achieving.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I get to know the way they learn best by trying different methods. I might show them a problem step by step, talk them through a problem, or ask them to explain a problem back to me. I also try to de-mystify math by breaking down terminology. I will keep my eye out for gaps in understanding from previous math classes, as well. Often it is necessary to re-learn a concept that was either never learned or forgotten.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
This is always a goal of mine. I teach how to study for math. This includes preparing a study guide and practice tests for yourself. I also often have the student teach a concept back to me once they are ready.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I have noticed that students often feel more motivated once they are less intimidated. I continually use praise to build their confidence. For some students, external motivation is needed. I try to keep the sessions fun and show my enthusiasm for what we are doing. I also communicate all the doors that being able to do math will open for them in the future.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I make sure they understand all the concepts needed to conquer the new concept. Once they are caught up, I present the concept both conceptually and by presenting different versions of the same problem. As always, I go slow and include every step when going over a problem.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I am a math tutor, but I do have to help students understand what word problems are asking them for. I help them to identify how to translate words into math by breaking each word down.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Usually, a combination of reviewing past concepts and showing a new concept in an easy step by step way is enough for the student to succeed. Translating complicated math terms into plain English is also really helpful for students.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I help them get excited by being excited myself. I also use a lot of praise to help raise their confidence.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Once the student is able to do one type of problem on their own, I give them a problem that tests the same concept but looks different. I will sometimes also have the student teach a concept back to me once they are ready.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I reteach them past concepts so that they are able to master current concepts. I use a lot of praise. I make a big deal when they start to see their grades improve.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I watch carefully when a student is working a problem out. When I watch step by step, I am able to identify what aspect of the concept that is causing the trouble.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I show a concept in different ways. After a few sessions, I know the best way the student learns and teach them concepts in that way.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
For an in-person session, I use a white board with a rainbow of colors, paper, colored pens, and an iPad. Ideally, I also use the student's notes and homework as well.