I love science because I love the thought process that goes into it. I currently work as a biology professor, and my favorite part of my job is helping students make connections with the class material. I believe that learning to think critically about the world has applications far beyond the classroom, and watching students learn to evaluate claims and think deeply about a topic is very rewarding.
My goals are to help anyone who wants to learn, and to help students love science as much as I do. I emphasize mostly concept and problem based learning, rather than route memorization. Memorization is often a necessary first step to learning a topic, but mastering a concept allows students to work through problems they haven't seen before.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe there is not a single way to learn. Good teaching requires good listening and creativity to find the best approach for each student.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Get to know what the student's goals are, and where they are in achieving them. From there we would form a plan for achieving their goals.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Learning how to think critically and creatively, and learning to identify their areas that need attention.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Visiting goals and reviewing progress is usually pretty motivating.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Try a different approach - explain things in a different way, use different examples, or try to identify what the fundamental misconception is.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Working through the terminology gradually.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Asking them questions about the subject they are struggling with to identify where their problem lies.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Trying to apply the subject to something they are interested in.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I like to have students explain things to me, or give them a new practice question, or apply the concept in a new way.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
By helping them master the material.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Listening and interacting with them.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Collecting feedback on what is working and what isn't by having students work through problems.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Usually just a pen and paper, and perhaps a textbook for the figures.