I love learning and I love sharing what I've learned.
I have 10+ years of experience teaching others as a college teaching assistant, tutor and educational software developer.
More and more information is made available to us every day and I believe solid understanding of core concepts and ability to identify and apply those core concepts in the never ending flow of information is of crucial importance.
I have tried a lot of things in life. I started with degree in physics and applied math in Russia and went on to pursue my Ph.D. economics here in US. I've spent long hours at film school just auditing classes because it was fun meanwhile learning about the effects of light and sound. I've worked as an analyst discovering hidden patterns in the data for 7+ years which allowed me to understand how much knowledge is available to us if we just have the right tools to sort through the information available to us. I've gone through rigorous training at massage school enriching my knowledge of anatomy, physiology and the link between body and mind. I've been a competitive ballroom dancer for 10+ years. I pilot planes, skydive, scuba dive, freedive and ride horses and motorcycles. I hike, rock climb and mountaineer. I meditate and practice Chinese internal martial arts.
Each of those things revealed to me a new facet of life. Each of those things made my life rich, fun and full of joy. Rigorous training in sciences taught me how to learn efficiently and allowed to easily grasp concepts in more applied areas. In turn applying scientific concepts in more fun applied projects in everyday life allows me to keep those concepts fresh in my memory. Every day this self supporting circle of knowledge grows.
I am truly happy and I am grateful to my teachers for sharing their wisdom and teaching me the joys of learning back in my younger days. By tutoring I am hoping to give back and allow new generation of students to find fun in their studies and the fun of understanding this universe on a deeper level.
In my sessions I strive for trust, clarity and precision. I try to establish rapport dissolving any barriers and opening space for exploration of new areas and subjects. I listen to the students to get an idea of their needs. I prioritize the concepts in order of their significance and break things down to smallest blocks insuring complete understanding of material by the student. I show the difference between fundamental concepts and secondary more applied notions and stress the importance of grasping the former. I tailor my sessions to students needs and adjust the pace getting immediate feedback from the student.
Time is the only non renewable resource we have in this life and I try to make sure hours students spend with me count. Just as students learn from me, I learn from my students--how to understand people better, how to be a better teacher, how to be a better person.
Let's learn from each other!
Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology - Bachelors, Physics and applied math
MIPT, NES, USC - PhD, Physics and applied math, economics, economics, mathematical finance
High School Business
High School Economics
What is your teaching philosophy?
Knowledge empowers us, but first steps are the hardest. Yet even those can be easy when fundamental principles are explained properly. I always strive to establish a dialogue with my student, break difficult concepts into smaller and simpler bits and provide real life application examples to tie abstract academic notions to everyday life, which also helps the student remember the material. Knowledgeable people create a happier world for everyone (including themselves ;)).
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In the first session I would learn about student's interests, goals and background. I would then proceed to a simple problem based on the material at hand to see student's understanding of the subject. Based on that I would tailor the session to student's level, expanding on the concepts the student understands while gently leading him/her into better understanding of the problematic concepts. At the end of the session I would do a few problems to check the overall progress and to have a plan for the next session.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
In order to encourage the student to learn I would provide examples of applicability and importance of the subject to real life. I would provide examples from my life, potential situations in the student's life, and give a few more general examples of how seeing the world with a knowledgeable eye can lead to a much fuller life experience.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Curiosity and keeping motivation going is crucial for learning not just the subject at hand but life in general. I would compliment the student on his achievements and progress made in prior sessions, remind him of where we started and what we learned so far, show how old concepts help understand new ones and how new concepts increase the usefulness of the concepts already studied. I would give a few examples from real life where the student probably had a better experience because of the academic knowledge he possesses.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
When dealing with difficulties I slow things down, identify the exact problem of misunderstanding and address that problem in the simplest terms possible, and then tie it together with the rest of the material to get back on track and continue.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would advise them to read more, read slower and make sure they understand every word/concept they are reading. If there's a word/concept they don't understand, I would stop and discuss it with them until everything is clear.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I think it's important to establish a rapport and teach at student's level. When there's trust and understanding, things tend to fall in place pretty easily. I feel like the number one thing that prevents effective learning and the enjoyment of it is the stress/pressure associated with it. Once you dissolve that, it becomes just another fun game.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Connecting things to real life is always the best way to get excited. Most people see studying as a chore just because they don't connect the abstract knowledge to their everyday life experience, and hence have to memorize the material rather than seeing examples of it everywhere, and thus getting constant reinforcement of the concepts in their mind.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
To see if student truly understands the material, I would ask the student to define concepts in his/her own words, introduce slight variations to problem at hand and see if they are capable of adjusting their approach, asking them to link two different concepts together.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I feel like best way to build student's confidence is by providing positive feedback on any achievement, no matter how large or small, and by allowing the student to do enough work on his own (rather than just lecturing) so that he knows firsthand (rather than thinks) that he got the material down.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
By gentle probing of a student's knowledge and general questions about how things are going in life, it usually quickly becomes pretty clear what the session(s) should focus on.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
A session is always a dialogue, so by listening to the student carefully it's easy to identify what can be just glanced over, what needs more time and attention and where you have to take a few steps back to revisit prior concepts, ensuring proper foundation before moving on.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
During the session I normally use the materials provided by the student (textbook, workbook, homework, exams, notes, etc.) as those are most relevant to his current needs. Sometimes I prepare problems/illustrations in advance if I see that student's material lacks some important information, but those cases are rare.