Hello! My name's Josh, and I am currently an undergraduate student pursuing an honors degree in mathematics at the University of Rochester. I strongly believe that one thing that sets me apart from other tutors is my experience in theoretical mathematics classes. So if a student asks me why a certain thing is true in math (such as why the product of two negatives yields a positive, why differentiability implies continuity, etc.), I will be able to give a good, concrete reason. Having experience in other areas such as cryptography, programming, and statistics, I can also give plenty of good explanations as to why learning mathematics can be fun and important for other things. Aside from Varsity Tutors, I have also received a Teaching Assistant's position for my Honors Calculus class, and I have lots of experience with children aged 6 to 15 working as a counselor at ESF Summer Camps. One of my favorite parts of the summer camp job was explaining games and activities to children and peers, and if I could do the same thing at Varsity Tutors, I would greatly enjoy it.
Undergraduate Degree: University of Rochester - Current Undergrad, Mathematics
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1430
SAT Math: 730
Programming, drumming, paino, juggling
What is your teaching philosophy?
My aim is to serve the student in advancing his or her education and future in whatever ways I can.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would introduce myself, tell them I'm a math major, empathize with them about what they're struggling with, and make sure they are not intimidated by my presence so I could help them and they would not be afraid to ask questions.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I would give them the resources they would need to be able to ask good questions and get interested in the topic at hand.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would tell them about my experiences with mathematics and explain all the cool ways in which math relates to the world around them, and how they can use it to their advantage in other areas.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would identify the key points they are struggling with and go as slowly as they needed and provide them with plenty of exercises relating to that area.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would help them identify key points in the question and teach them to form the solution around the given information.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I try to explain things slowly and clearly and make connections between previous things they had learned.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
When I give people all of the examples in which math can relate to other subjects, I usually see them start to wonder other things and ask more questions. That's how I know they're engaged.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would give them exercises based on the new material and make sure the student is answering them correctly. If they're struggling more in those areas, I will focus on those more.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Positive encouragement cannot be given enough. Whenever a student gets a difficult problem right, I'll praise them. If problems start getting more difficult, I'll start giving them easier ones and balance out the levels of difficulty.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
First, I ask them specifically what they are struggling with. Then, if it seems like a student is showing signs of having even further areas of difficulty, I will see that the student will need extra instruction in those places too.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I will make sure that I am receiving constant feedback. If the student needs a break, I will let them rest and ask them questions not pertaining to the subject so that the student can regain focus later. In terms of actual material, I will make sure that the student is getting all the questions I'm asking correct before moving on.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I typically use a calculator, a pencil, and a laptop in case the student wants other types of explanations, such as viewing a 3-dimensional graph of a function.