I've tutored music theory and economic development. I've taught an aikido class with over thirty students, and I worked for a year assisting students with their writing in Oberlin College's writing center. I've spent years explaining jargon-heavy subjects in plain language, and I understand the importance of ensuring that students can do the same. I am ready to immediately begin tutoring for math, econ, and finance-heavy classes, because I emphasized them in my degree and because I reviewed them for the past nine months while studying for actuarial exams.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Oberlin College - Bachelors, Economics
SAT Composite: 2180
SAT Math: 750
SAT Verbal: 740
SAT Writing: 690
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
To me, tutoring begins with understanding students’ goals and their preferred methods of learning so they can excel by whatever metric they expect to test. Students that reduce their goals to a series of problems force themselves to think more precisely about how to attain their goals, so my first lesson is always about how to specify a problem.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I’d ask for any relevant documents or spoken instructions, and then I’d ask what the student wanted help with. If I’m able to help the student progress during the lesson, I’d end the lesson asking if they want to schedule another, and if there was a way I could better accommodate them with my teaching style during a future lesson.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I help students identify what methods of learning suit them and their material. I teach concepts, and ask the student to come up with applications of these concepts to show that they understand them. For example, sometimes I ask students to rephrase an idea in their own words to show that they understand the idea. After a few lessons, I'll encourage them to try methods like this as they need them, eventually without reminders.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
If they're discouraged because they're bored, I make sure they understand the concept so the computation or writing comes more naturally. If they're discouraged because they're struggling, I try to help them specify the problem. Even if a student doesn't understand how to start, we can make it easier by breaking the tricky parts into smaller, easier problems.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If they struggle with the computation quantitative problem, I break the problem into a series of simpler steps. If they're struggling with the concept of a quantitative problem, I give intuitive examples. If the student is struggling with starting to write, I make sure they know what they want to say through a series of questions. If the student is struggling with expressing an idea, I encourage them to write about the idea without a particular point in mind, and then help them reduce their musings into an argument.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
In computation, I've found that there's less pressure, and fewer mistakes, if a student can correctly specify the problem, so I ask them to break the problem into a series of simple instructions, then help them solve it. In writing, I've found that students often figure it out themselves once they know what they want to say, so I ask them to verbally explain it to me.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I ask students to show that they understand the concept by explaining it to me, in their own words. I there's math involved, I'll ask them a simple example problem.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I try to make sure that the student understands the advantages of understanding the material. For example, to a physics student, I explain calculus as a shortcut for applying concepts they already know. If the material relates to the students interests, I'll explain the relation, working backwards from the students interests.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I explain the subject in general terms so the student understands its point. Then I give them simple conceptual problems. Once they understand that they can solve a certain type of problem, students learn to distinguish between intimidating new concepts, and problems that are just a little farther up the difficulty curve.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I ask the student what they struggle with, and what learning methods work for them. As they work, I keep track of how they respond to different methods.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
At the end of the lesson, I ask the student what I could have done to make it easier. I also keep track of the student's responses to different teaching methods.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
If I'm tutoring a student working on an assignment, I use whatever materials the student thinks relevant. If I'm teaching concepts online, I draw graphs or submit written instructions with the resources offered by the online platform. If I'm tutoring in person, I use pens, notebook paper, markers, and a whiteboard.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I describe the concept in my own words, ask them to then explain it to me in their own words, and then I explain how the text fits what we both described.