Hi my name is Sam. I studied engineering at Duke University and I've always enjoyed mathematics.
Currently I work as a business analyst at Under Armour in Baltimore. I love the sports world and outside of the office I enjoy basketball, golf, and skiing, and watching movies. There's a pretty good chance my word problems will relate to one of those activities.
I'm excited to help students build a strong base of understanding that will allow them to confidently walk into the classroom and tackle the material in front of them. I like to start small and simple, keeping things positive along the way to help students build confidence and an enthusiasm for solving problems.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Duke University - Bachelors, Biomedical Engineering
Graduate Degree: Duke University - Masters, Engineering Management
SAT Math: 710
SAT Verbal: 630
SAT Writing: 690
Basketball / Golf / Movies
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I like to start small and build confidence along the way. For me that starting point is defining the material. I've found that if a student has a mastery of the terminology it becomes infinitely easier to get past tricky problems and to express where and why they're having difficulty.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I like to have the student explain to me what kind of difficulty they are having and in which areas they feel most confident. This helps me to determine the strength of the student's foundation and what level of complexity I can speak with.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Knowing where to find the right information is essential to becoming an independent learner. I like to develop a student's understanding of the basic terminology so that he or she can clearly define the issue and ask the right questions to get an answer.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I always start small and try to tie the material back to real world situations that are relevant to the student, building confidence through small victories.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student is having difficulty with a concept, I like to work backwards and determine where the root of the problem is. What is the most complex material that the student fully comprehends? From there we can begin to dig into the subject and build confidence.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I like to have a discussion to gauge the student's level of comprehension and ask about any trouble spots. From there, we can begin to work some basic problems and talk about how to navigate sticking points.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I've found that the highest level of comprehension comes with being able to discuss and explain mathematical concepts. After conquering practice problems of varying complexity, I like to have a conversation with students where we flip the script a little bit and have them walk me through the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I do this through encouragement, a positive tone of voice, and working my way up through problems of increasing difficulty.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I think it's always about finding common ground. I like to learn about the student's interests and passions outside of the classroom. From there we can find a way to relate the materials to a relevant and exciting topic.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I like to ask students to explain to me in their own words what is troubling them and what they feel most confident in. From there we can create some sample problems to more specifically diagnose trouble areas.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I like to look for signs of progress and encouragement. If I see that a student is looking defeated I ask some questions and try to figure out what other methods can be used so we can get things headed in a positive direction. Maybe that's going back to basics or maybe that's altering the way we discuss and rehearse the material.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I like to utilize the student's school materials and mix in some of my own practice problems. I think it is important to get the student as familiar with their textbook and their teacher's methods as possible before challenging them with my own problems, which may use different terminology and formats that require them to break out of their comfort zone.