Born and raised in the beautiful city of Pasadena, Brandon is a first generation college graduate with a passion for math and science specifically astronomy. From a young age he has been inspired by mentors, teachers, Caltech, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the nearby Griffith Observatory to continuously study the stars. Eventually he wishes to pursue a PhD in Astrophysics, hoping to advance the knowledge for all humanity. During his undergraduate career he spent most of his afternoons tutoring and assisting teachers at an Elementary school in Malibu focusing primarily on math and science.
Another passion of his is volunteering for the YMCA. He has been a summer camp counselor/director for the past 7 years, and just recently became an advisor with the youth government program aimed to develop public speaking/debate skills of high school students. Through his volunteer work he has gained a great appreciation for leading the lives of youth in any capacity he can. In his free time he is a devoted hometown fan of the UCLA Bruins, Dodgers, and Lakers.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Pepperdine University - Bachelors, Physics
Astronomy, Going to the beach and learning how to surf, and volunteering at the YMCA
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I challenge my students as much as possible until they are able to reach a break through. By using this approach, I have found that students begin to build self-confidence and independence, as well as have an optimistic outlook on their studies. I believe that each individual student is different and requires a personalized level of rigor. To support each student, I foster high levels of compassion and understanding in my teaching.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Give them practice problems for homework, or assign them simple tasks that they are capable of completing with little to no help. This would allow them to gain confidence that they can actually do the work.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Assign them practice problems for homework, with varying difficulty, or ask them to explain the work to me as if I were the student.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By encouraging them that I too was once in their shoes, and needed a few tutors to get me through the struggles of elementary, middle, and high school math classes. I now love to help students in any way possible, and I have tons of experience in one on one tutoring and teaching.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Try and teach them in a new way, or refer to other tutors and teachers to figure out what worked for them in a similar situation. I would be patient and understand that not every problem can be solved instantly. Practice (as cheesy as it sounds) makes perfect. Going over similar concepts and understanding them in different ways can really help drive home the difficult concept.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Carefully break down the text and figure out the purpose of the passage. Many questions on exams such as the SAT and ACT tend to focus on reading comprehension, so I would stress the importance of practicing this skill frequently.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Getting to know them, and understanding what they hope to accomplish out of our tutoring sessions. By setting expectations, we are both able to work together to determine what is necessary to complete that goal. I also notice what their strengths and weaknesses are, and try to focus on them during each session.