I enjoy Math related subjects and have tutored and taught Math courses like Algebra to PreCalculus and Calculus in both High School and College levels. I have obtained my Masters degree in Mathematics plus 7 years later, my PhD, also in Mathematics. In the US, I have lived a year in Washington State (Seattle area) and close to a year in California (Los Angeles area). Outside the US, I grew up and resided in the Philippines (Manila area) until moving to Texas (Houston area) in 1994, which is the year after I obtained my doctorate in pure math. I speak English and Filipino fluently & can manage simple conversations in Spanish. My goal is to make a difference, one student or one class at a time by helping each person learn incrementally their math related material.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of the Philippines - Bachelors, Mathematics
Graduate Degree: University of the Philippines - Masters, Mathematics
Graduate Degree: University of the Philippines - PHD, Mathematics
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Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
"You can't teach what you don't know" is my motto, hence preparation and prior study on my own is essential for any class or course to be taught.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Go through their course syllabus or outline and look at samples of their homework or tests. I then listen to the student to find out what he/she needs or is hoping to achieve.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Motivation is key. I would suggest having a schedule each day and striving to stick to it when it pertains at least to the subject or course they wish to improve in.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Try relating his studies to aspects that affect his or her life positively. I also encourage the student to focus on the future: be it a high school diploma, a graduate degree or a new job.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Offer an example to clarify the concept or skill. Break down a problem to simpler parts that the student already knows or can more easily grasp and comprehend.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I read the material as well, if feasible, and I go over it with them. Suggesting that they put themselves in the scenes of the story, or even try getting a movie or related motion picture based on that reading.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I try to break the ice, so to speak, and find common ground, like getting to know what his hobbies and interests are, plus share something about my background and education. Then I zero in on what his current needs are or go through the outline and course objectives, as time allows.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I have many years of experience as a teacher or professor in mathematics plus non-academic roles in industry and the private sector whereby my skills were, to some extent, applied. I can share that knowledge and offer anecdotes and stories of how math and statistics play a big role in everyday life particularly in work, life, and investing/budgeting, etc.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I can make up my own math and stat problems just in case the reference materials are lacking. Thus, they can be tailor-made to illustrate certain topics in math and math-related subjects. Hence, practice tests given sporadically help zero in on any deficiencies in comprehension of said material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Patience on my part and on theirs. I would often remind them that Rome wasn't built in a day. Same with math or math related courses/disciplines. I try to encourage them when they struggle with a topic and try to maximize pointing out the minor steps in solving problems and equations in their subject matter.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
In math, their teachers provide assessments that I can go over with so as to gauge where to start. I can, of course, use their reference materials like textbooks and have the student try an assessment that covers the area currently being worked on. Or use my own catered test to see what concepts need explanation and/or extra work.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Each person is different and some have the full spectrum in regards to motivation for study and comprehension of Math topics/concepts. I strive to listen to each one and emphasize either visual methods or auditory techniques or both. If applicable, I use tactile math learning items as appropriate per age/grade.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I normally go by what the student brings from school or college. These are usually sufficient like textbooks, worksheets, websites, notes, etc. However, I do bring my own paper and pen (one black and at least one other color). I can also bring my laptop and/or smartphone/iPad if called for.