I am a current undergraduate in the mining engineering field at Missouri Univ. of Science and Technology. I love school but when I'm not studying, there's a good chance I'll be by a lake trying to catch a monster bass. I am also a huge Blues and Cardinals fan and will be till the day I die. Algebra and Trigonometry are one of my most favorite subjects to learn and to teach especially since it's a language that everyone can share. I live in a Fraternity with a bunch of friends that always ask me to tutor them before an exam, and remarkably they receive a much better grade after I helped tutor them. The key, I believe, to understanding math is to gain some confidence in your skills of Algebra, Trigonometry and etc. I like to build up one's confidence in math so they are able to remember the process correctly and do better on exams, as well as be able to teach others. They way I help boost their confidence is by engaging them heavily in example problems until they feel like they can solve the hardest problem of that subject. I am confident that you or your children will be able to solve any problem with certainty after just one session.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe math is an incredibly easy subject to learn and to teach. If taught in a simple and direct manner, one could understand a subject in minutes. I have had plenty of math teachers throughout my life, and a few of them left a giant impact on me with their methods, which has helped me concoct my own method. I tend to engage my students heavily in their studies so they can understand what they are learning and why they are learning it. My goal at the end of each session is to have my students not only memorize the subject, but to be able to teach it to others, since that shows true understanding of the matter.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session, I would like to get to know my student. I believe that knowing how their mind works, I am better able to understand how they think, and therefore teach them in a unique style that would help them in any way possible. For example, I would like to know if they see the 'big picture,' or the 'small details. ' After I see how they think, I would like to give them a few practice problems of the subject to understand their mistakes and how to correct that.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I can help a student become a better learner by teaching them the subject matter, showing them examples, and then have them work out problems by themselves. During the lesson, I will ask them comprehensive lessons to make sure they are attentive and understanding what I am saying.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
When I'm in class, the best way for me to get motivated is to ask questions. It helps me understand the subject, as well as help other students who had the same questions. In the case of a tutor session, I would randomly ask them questions and give them problems to work on before continuing the lesson. This helps their mind stay focused and ready to learn.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Difficult subjects are difficult for a reason- they usually have a long process that is too hard to remember. To counteract that, I like to take each step of the process slowly until my students remember it. At the end of the subject, I would combine each step to solve the whole equation. I will ask my students to walk me through the process step-by-step so they can understand what I am doing.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
It may sound strange, but I use a different set of words to describe what I am trying to teach. Since every mind is different, everyone understands things in different fashions. I would try to speak to them in a way that they can understand fully what I am trying to say.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Helping a student get excited can be simple. Since math is a language we use to understand the world, I will teach them how one simple equation can affect something that they see every day. For example, I could teach them the trigonometry of how the sun/moon rise and fall.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would constantly engage the student by asking them questions to see if they do not understand. Since some people may be too shy to say they do not understand, I will ask them to 'teach' me what I just discussed. This will determine whether I have to explain it again or move on.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Building a student's confidence is nothing more than having them solve (correctly) difficult problems. At the end of each lesson, I will give them 2 effort-worthy problems so they can show off everything they learned.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I would evaluate a student's needs just by assessing their understanding of the subject matter. I will go over the subject entirely if necessary or just help them with small details that they cannot understand.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I adapt my tutoring mainly by my choice of language that I use to teach them. I'll also try to help them by teaching slower or faster.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I mainly use a textbook, pen and paper. Learning math can be easy and it doesn't need any expensive tools to understand. As long as I have a solid foundation to work with them, I can help them achieve anything they like.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
When I have trouble with reading comprehension, I usually read through the text slowly and dynamically. By dynamically, I mean that I highlight any important information and try to understand difficult words by context clues. I will teach that to my students in hopes that they can utilize this ability to their benefit.