I began tutoring during my second semester of college, as a student tutor at Stevens Institute of Technology, and continued throughout undergraduate completion. I was able to become a student tutor as a freshman due to the AP credit I received in Calculus I/II and Physics I. This allowed for 3.5 years of student tutoring as well as opened up many opportunities for off-campus tutoring jobs. Overall, I have had an amazing experience tutoring high school and college level math and science subjects!
My undergraduate degree is in Mathematics with completed pre-medical requirements, as my future plans involve medical school. However, I would love to always continue tutoring because it truly is a job that I value doing. I recognize how fortunate I was to have had excellent math and science teachers, since grammar school, and am very passionate about contributing the same experience to others. Having good instruction from a young age makes higher level math and science much less intimidating!
In fact, I have found that most students struggle with a lack of confidence due to the intimidating nature of math and science and, after helping them overcome their distrust in themselves, I find that that was their biggest obstacle after all. Furthermore, my method of tutoring is always to work toward providing a solid conceptual understanding of each subject I tutor!
Undergraduate Degree: Stevens Institute of Technology - Bachelors, Pure & Applied Mathematics
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What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is to build a strong conceptual understanding of the subject. If a student needs to start from the beginning of the material, then I will start by verbally communicating basic concepts, then provide general examples (in which their method of solving can be applied to a wide range of problems), and then work through specific problems (letting them attempt it first).
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
A first session would typically include my request for the student to disclose the following information: their comfortability with the subject so far, methods of their current instructor (i.e. teaching methods, frequency of quizzes/tests, teaching pace, etc.), examples of the questions being asked on quizzes/tests, etc. This will help me assess exactly what I need to be doing for each individual student. The first session will also include going over any questions they currently have regarding the material - this may lead to my instruction to back-track and cover very basic concepts, and making sure that these concepts are well understood before moving on.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Becoming an independent learner requires knowing what it is you need to be learning! With more advanced courses, in particular, it can be difficult to identify the questions you have. Sometimes, Google searching keywords will lead to the questions that students could not produce themselves. As a tutor, I can provide students with keyword suggestions so that they can eventually be able to independently use the internet as a resource. Also, I would always suggest reading the textbook! Especially for science subjects, reading the textbook is an important part of learning and can help students identify their questions!
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Sometimes students need a "push" from someone else to stay motivated. If a tutee of mine were having trouble staying motivated, I would stay on top of them! As their tutor, who wants to see them succeed, I would make sure we are meeting regularly and emphasize how important it is that they keep up their efforts! It is so easy to lose motivation, and I would relate to them as well as be their support. Usually, once students receive an improved grade that is a huge motivation in itself!
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
The best way to understand any concept is to think about it realistically. I truly realized this in my high school physics class. I had an amazing honors physics and AP physics teacher who always introduced a topic with a realistic example (i.e. two balls colliding in a game of pool, playing catch with a friend, throwing a ball out the window, etc.). This approach can be used for most math and science subjects!