I've taught mathematics at the middle school level since 1972. I retired in 2007 after 37 years of teaching, took a year off, and decided that a life of retirement wasn't for me. Fortunately I was rehired as a math interventionist and I've been working at that job ever since, and loving it. I'm active in my local Lutheran church and serve as its financial secretary. My church also hosts a free homework help center on Wednesday nights for my town and the surrounding communities. I've taught in summer school and in after school programs too. I do love teaching... that's why I can't seem to leave it.
I spend a lot of my spare time with my grandson, Joshua, who is 7 years old and a total delight. He never fails to make me smile. He attends elementary school just up the road from where I live so I get to watch him after school until his mom or dad get home. It's tough keeping up with him.
I like to read... a lot... and I like to walk whenever I can. Fortunately school is a mere 15 minutes away by foot so I walk to and from work every day. I do a bit of volunteer work as well with the Wilson Wish Foundation, an organization based at my school which provides assistance to our neediest students in whatever way is necessary... food, clothing, eyeglasses, school supplies, and referrals to appropriate agencies that can help where WWF cannot.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Connecticut - Bachelors, Mathematics Education
Graduate Degree: Wesleyan University - Masters, Mathematics
Graduate Degree: State of Connecticut - Certificate, Mathematics Teacher Education
reading, walking, playing with grandson
10th Grade Math
11th Grade Math
12th Grade Math
1st Grade Math
2nd Grade Math
3rd Grade Math
4th Grade Math
5th Grade Math
6th Grade Math
7th Grade Math
8th Grade Math
9th Grade Math
ACCUPLACER College-Level Math
ACCUPLACER Elementary Algebra
CLEP College Algebra
CLEP College Mathematics
DAT Quantitative Reasoning
SAT Subject Tests Prep
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
The things you resist doing are the very things you should do more frequently. Nobody gets better at what they don't do.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Get to know a little about the student, specifically what they think their problem is with math. Talk about what the student enjoys doing outside of school, places they've been, and subjects they enjoy and do well in. Get them comfortable with me as a person.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Ask the student to think about known resources available to address an issue--examples in textbook, online resources, and help from classmates for instance.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Structure the learning so that a student's work increases in difficulty gradually. There should be a progression from easier problems to more difficult ones over time, with the more difficult problems using skills mastered through the easier ones.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I need to ask the student about where in my explanation the difficulty occurred. Clearly I have to rethink my explanation and reword it so as to be understood. This may involve breaking down the instruction into bits that are not so overwhelming for the student to think about.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Help the student connect what s/he already knows while s/he reads. Show how to make connections by sharing your own connections as you read aloud. Ask questions that will make the student look in the text for answers. Create a mental image to bring the text alive by reading aloud to the student and sharing your own images. Make inferences by combining what you already know with information from the story. Develop strategies to help the student when s/he doesn't understand something.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I like to begin by asking the student what they think the issue is, and by asking what sorts of difficulties they have had with mathematics in the past. Understanding the student's perceptions of the problem often helps in developing a strategy to address it.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Nothing succeeds like success. I would present the least challenging problems first and slightly increase the difficulty, building on skills the students have already successfully used.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I have the student explain the method of solution in their own words, define technical terms in ordinary language, and demonstrate understanding by explaining step-by-step what they did to solve a problem.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Start simple and build to greater complexity. As I mentioned earlier, nothing succeeds like success. Student confidence increases when they are successful and can maintain success. Lessons can be structured to pose simple problems that increase in complexity over time.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
In a tutoring environment I assess a student's needs informally by observing and questioning students as they work their way through a mathematics problem. I note commonplace errors, errors in reversal of digits, errors in signs, errors in basic math facts, and then suggest extra practice accordingly. A firm foundation in the basics is necessary for consistent success with more complex mathematical skills.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I vary the complexity of the problems I present to my students according to the errors I see them make as we work together until I'm able to zero in on the area of misunderstanding.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
The usual materials: pencil, paper, graph paper, textbooks, internet resources, and calculators. Previous tests and homework are also valuable.