Over the past few years, I've tutored over 100 clients of all ages and in a wide variety of subjects. It is because of these experiences that I can say with confidence just how simple tutoring can be, either for you, or your child. As early as the very first session, through diagnostic tests and conversations, we can discover the unique learning style that will suit each client the best, tailoring future learning specifically to them. This dedication to understanding how each client thinks separates the way I teach from that of other tutors: It's never going to be about wrote memorization or cramming material for an upcoming test. Instead, all subjects will be taught to students in ways that ensure the concepts will make sense and stick for years to come, even going so far as to occasionally review past material to form solid frameworks for new topics.
A large portion of my experience tutoring has been in Test Prep areas, such as helping students prepare for the SAT. Knowing just how much a great score can help with college applications, I strive to see each and every student perform the best they possibly can on these tests. To that end, I have not only a large amount of experience helping others with the SAT, but also a number of tips and tricks from my own time studying for the test. Whether you've taken the SAT already, or never before, and whether your ideal score is just 50 points higher, or 500, any score is closer than you can imagine. After a few sessions with me, I can guarantee a client will enter the testing room feeling more comfortable and ready to achieve the score they want.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Brown University - Current Undergrad, Applied Math/Computer Science
SAT Composite: 2380
SAT Math: 800
SAT Verbal: 800
SAT Writing: 780
Singing, writing, acting, reading
10th Grade Math
11th Grade Math
12th Grade Math
8th Grade Math
9th Grade Math
SAT Subject Tests Prep
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Teaching is twofold. The first goal of teaching is immediate; I make sure that every student knows the material needed to raise their grades or test scores as fast as possible. The second goal is more long term. I strive to ensure that my students fully understand every concept instead of just memorizing them for one test. In this way, the material they learn will stick, and when it is needed in future courses or even later in the same course, they will be successful even without a tutor's help. Past these goals, I believe that each student often requires a different teaching philosophy. In that sense, my philosophy is one of flexibility: there are hundreds of reasons why a student might be struggling with something, and the right style of teaching and method of teaching can be different for everyone. My philosophy is that one needs to quickly get a sense of how each student learns best and to move forward in helping them in a way that works for them.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Unless there is an immediate deadline at hand such as an upcoming test, I like to take the first sessions to get a feel for the student's knowledge base. For standardized tests, this usually means completing a diagnostic test so I can gauge where the student is having difficulties. For math courses, this means a quick test of previous material to make sure the student has a firm enough base to move on. I will then score the test on my own time and come to the second session with a set of goals and items to work on.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Independent learning is about developing a passion for learning and a sense of when a new concept has "clicked" properly. To that end, I always aim to make the tutoring sessions a very positive environment for each student. By encouraging them and making them feel proud for their progress, students will develop internal motivation to master concepts that goes beyond the incentive of any grades. In addition, I make sure students fully understand material instead of simply memorizing it. This gives students a better feel for the level of mastery required for each concept, even when they are studying on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I think that a large number of students who enter tutoring already have a great deal of motivation to improve their scores or grades. However, both for these students and for those who lack obvious motivation, I always strive to imbue each student with a large amount of internal motivation. When tutoring, I emphasize progress over all else. I make sure to congratulate students when scores start to increase or a difficult concept is mastered. I will occasionally start sessions with a brief test that covers past materials, showing students how they've improved and making each subsequent test feel like a personal competition. In these ways students feel validated and enjoy learning and mastering material because it makes them feel proud and intelligent.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
First, I'll try to figure out the root cause of the difficulty. I'll have them explain why they don't understand something, and if their reason is due to something I can fix, I will take a detour and address it. For example, a large number of students struggle with new information because they haven't yet mastered older concepts. A prime example is calculus students who occasionally forget some topics in algebra. In most cases, the above strategy works -- careful examination usually reveals a way to address a student's difficulty. In other cases, the student may not be able to explain why they don't understand something. In these scenarios, I tend to approach the concept from an entirely different angle, or start from an earlier point in the explanation, taking things more slowly and finding the exact point at which the student doesn't understand something.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
There are very few cure-alls when it comes to reading comprehension. The first thing I tend to do is cover a few basics; for example, in the average standardized test environment, don't choose an answer unless there is direct evidence in the text to support it. Your "feelings" or inclinations about what characters might be thinking or what a story is about tend to be much less important than the exact words the authors use, which is one of the biggest reasons students tend to miss reading questions. Past this, however, most missed questions result in the student having a dialogue with me about what they were thinking when they chose the wrong answer. I then will try to note any patterns in their thought process and will have a conversation with them until they see where the right answer comes from.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Patience. I find that the most important thing when just starting with a student is to take my time to understand exactly where their problems are and what learning style best suits them. I may even teach the first few concepts in all the different ways I can think of and then ask the student which worked best for them. This helps me to plan accordingly for future sessions and lesson plans.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Nine times out of ten, when someone tells me "Wow, I really don't like _____ as a subject," they follow it with "I'm just not very good at it." People tend to not be very excited about topics that they don't understand. Teachers and grades have been making them feel bad whenever they come to class, and there is nothing more frustrating than studying for hours and still not getting any concept. These sorts of things can make someone feel defeated or unintelligent. To that end, the simplest way to get a student to become excited about learning is to counteract these negative effects with healthier, positive learning strategies. When students seriously get something, don't move on immediately to the next topic, but instead dwell on what they get for a while, solidifying it and making them feel intelligent and like future concepts are within their grasp. Build pride in each student for the progress and work they complete so that they are eager to master each concept. In addition, to get students more engaged in topics, I try to emphasize the real-world applications of anything I teach. As an applied mathematics major, I can appreciate more than most how the subjects people study can affect the real world. So when students groan "When am I ever going to have to use this?" I can actually give a satisfying answer that will make them realize how powerful what they learn really is. This tends to make students less dismissive and care a lot more about the concepts at hand. While I can't promise that these methods will make a student love their school subjects as much as sports or video games, they tend to make them appreciate and care about the material as well as feel validated by it. In turn, this leads to a much more serious and sustained effort and enjoyment of the subject.