When you look at my profile it might initially be overwhelming to find why someone with such experience would want to engage in this service. The answer is simple - Passion. I enjoy what I do in my profession and came to find out this would be a wonderful way to give back to the community I live in. On most occasions I prefer online engagements, while in some instances my time could free up for a one-on-one session that is made available by Varsity Tutors.
Teaching the fundamentals and basics in different subjects, particularly, algebra, geometry, and statistics to students in my profession, who are mostly young college graduates and adults in an applicative form is 90% of what I have been doing over the last 25 years. Most of us forget the basics as we are rarely challenged in these areas and as a result, unable to solve problems or meet new challenges in our professions and career.
So, the program offered by Varsity Tutors would enable me to provide a ground breaking foundation to the students of our high schools and colleges so that the subjects I cover for them would turn out to be their strengths rather than a weakness. Most of us turn out to be weak in a given subject not because of our lack of intelligence in it, instead the lack of an inspiration when we were exposed to it at the first time. That lack of inspiration doesn't drive us to explore the basics and we continue building or carrying the weak foundation for the rest of our adult lives. Then suddenly one day we come across a great teacher or tutor who inspired us at the right time in a right manner to help us overcome the weakness by merely inspiring and guiding us using some fun techniques.
The future of America lies with young students competing worldwide for higher studies as well as career opportunities to make our nation and its people excel and a role model for others around the world to emulate. In this process, as a person who immigrated to this nation, I also bring value by sharing techniques I learned as a student in my high school days that are not easy to obtain from textbooks or other sources of learning.
With the experience from industry that I gain every day, I hope to bring that inspiration that students of this millennium need to succeed in their careers ahead. I look forward to interacting with the sincere clients of Varsity Tutors and make a significant difference to their quest for education, going forward.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Southern Mississippi - Bachelors, Chemical Engineering
Graduate Degree: University of Southern Mississippi - PHD, Polymer Science
Road Travel, Field Hockey, Ping Pong, Volunteering Activity, Community Engagement.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I transitioned from a telling type of teaching philosophy to one that is Socratic. Asking the right questions to draw students into a thinking mode and own the solution they found to their questions. This helps them learn and sustain the thought process of how to solve a problem, for a lifetime.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Understanding the student's needs, scope of study, and any restrictions they may have had to date is key prior to engaging in offering any support. Once I get an understanding of their needs, I can then work with them to start them slow to gain an additional understanding of their pace of learning. After all, it is a baton relay race type situation. They have to be able to run fast enough or I slow down to be able to transfer knowledge efficiently and effectively, while having fun. Gradually our paces become aligned, and we win together in this awkward but fun three-legged race.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Understanding their baseline of strengths and growth areas, giving them the confidence in areas where they are comfortable, to help them retain their self-esteem is probably the first step. Then I would begin challenging them in areas where they need to grow and realize their latent potential, and at the same time link it to the scope and objective of their curriculum at school to help them realize immediate academic value. At some point, moving away from showing them what to do to asking them what would they do knowing what they know is when they tend to become independent learners, by transferring the methodology of learning strategies.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
First find areas where they are comfortable, test them preliminarily to boost their self-esteem and let them know they are experts in some areas. As a next step, asking them to highlight areas where they consider themselves having a gap and how important it is to their academic goals and objectives in that particular course. Once they establish this growth to accomplish, testing them in areas that require them to stretch but not snap is key, and as they conquer each step of growth, their confidence is likely to increase by significant levels.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Request the student to bring in their materials or share the nature of scope of curriculum that I can even download from the net (share content with the online communication tools), and set clear goals and objectives. Stay within the scope of the student's needs. Find how the tutoring efforts are paying off if they wish to share their results from a recent test at school or a homework assignment that I may assign. Find areas where they excel and those needing growth. Then work with them with a continuous improvement basis to demonstrate how they can achieve their goals and objectives. Ask them as to what worked well for them and what can be improved, be it content, pace, technique, or tool. Seek feedback enough to make changes toward the next opportunity to engage with them.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Paper, pencils, resources from the net that I may print out for a one-on-one session. When tutoring online, I might use resources available on the net and share the URL with them, or even share names of text books where I may have gathered relevant information. I will also make sure I have access to their curriculum in case I have to align with the way their teachers at school are expecting a specific methodology that would help them score points toward their grade. Any other tool as an everyday example or event in life that they may have heard or seen and can relate to the concept I am using to tutor them. Some basic and acceptable (yet sensitive) form of humor (in visuals or text) that makes learning easy and fun. Doing all of it within the rules as well as how we engage with people by being polite, firm, flexible, and time oriented.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation stays for a short time, and one has to often seek the well to stay motivated. For each student, a different level and type of motivation could work effectively. If they are athletes, I could use examples of a game, sport, or national event that they would like to associate, yet find that it is directly related to how they learn and leverage the same without losing time in that activity. I could show examples from history on how a certain athlete faced difficulties in life and then turned around to succeed once he was inspired. Students would also often reveal what motivates them by sharing their hobbies or special interests, and that can also be a cue for me to know what motivates them.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
From a preliminary evaluation that the student can execute themselves (which I would conduct), I would be able to understand where they are and what growth they need to get to their objective. Once I have this, I help them by linking the growth gaps to their academic objectives. Once they achieve success in their preliminary areas, I will stretch their ability to move on to a difficult area. If at any point in time I find that they are having difficulty, I will pause and find if there is a better way to illustrate the concept, use a visual, refer to a recent sports or political event (if they wish to discuss the specific area) or an event in the past, and help them think through as to what was done to solve the problem. This problem, when chosen correctly in their subject of interest, is likely to prompt their thought process and help them overcome the difficulty in learning the same skill or concept. I would be open to trying different ways to learn, and for the same student, based on the concept, I may have to choose different ways to make it simple enough to learn.