Hi, my name is Dave
I just finished university with a BA in math so this stuff is fresh on my mind. Even though I am a young guy I have a lot of experience tutoring especially in math.
I was raised in New York so I know how crazy and stressful these regents can be and I know how to beat them.
I'm happy to be tutoring for Varsity and I'd be happy to tutor your kid if you'd like me to.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University at Buffalo - Bachelors, Mathematics
ACT Math: 35
ACT Reading: 35
ACT Science: 36
SAT Composite: 2230
SAT Math: 750
SAT Verbal: 740
SAT Writing: 740
SAT Subject Test in Chemistry: 800
SAT Subject Test in Mathematics Level 1: 740
SAT Subject Test in U.S. History: 770
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
The best way to learn is to pretend to teach. Ultimately it is the student who has to be the one to understand these topics, so it is best if they can explain these things to themselves. So a student and I will go through the material together, then the student will "teach it back to me" with my help.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
If I haven't been given the kind of material beforehand, in the first session I would ask to see old homework, tests and whatever else the student is having problems with. Then I would discuss with the student what they think the problem is. Where is the disconnect? And work from there.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
That is the beauty of the Feynman technique-- the learn by teaching method I explained earlier. It teaches students the right place to stop studying. A student could sit and read for hours and not realize that they didn't learn anything. Not only is the method more fun and lively, it sets a study goal that comes closest to the ideal: comprehension of the material. If you understand well enough to explain it, you understand it well enough for the test.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I am a jovial sort of fellow, and I like to bring a lot of energy into the things I do. For tutoring, that means lots of drawings and sketches. I love props like whiteboards. I have a nice-sized one I like to bring around. Anything to make the equations and the formulas pop out and feel alive. And I encourage the student do the same. Movement helps people pay attention. As soon as studying becomes too boring, it is hard to soldier on.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
It depends what skill or concept the student is struggling with. Many concepts, even in math, have numerous angles of attack. If the student is having a lot of difficulty following their given path to a particular idea, avoid that path. Take a different one and come back to the difficult explanation after they understand the concept, if needed.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Understanding what someone is saying is so much easier when someone is talking to you and you are expected to give sensible responses. Reading is much more passive, and because of this you think differently-- less critically-- when you do it. You get around this by starting a dialog. I will practice with the student responding to sentences, paragraphs and ideas in readings.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
At the beginning I let the student take the lead. If the student is performing poorly, they are probably coming into the session with a lot of emotion like anger, frustration or shame, and a feeling that they are stuck while their peers are moving on. By letting them take the lead, you show them that you are going to go at their pace and that you won’t just lecture at them.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Not every student is going to like these subjects. If the kid doesn't like math, there is no exciting the kid about math. Instead, you show them how to study without it being drudgery and to make taking tests feel like playing a game.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
If the student can teach a subject back to me, or themselves, they know they understand the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Questions! What could be better at showing you that you understand something well enough to do well on an exam than to answer the sort of questions that will be on the exam?
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
The first step is to ask them. Then you watch them. You ask them to tell you what they think they are struggling with, and then you give them relevant problems and ask them to narrate their thought process. But past that, this is a sort of an "it is obvious when you see it" sort of thing.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I like to think and make notes about the sorts of progress the student is making, and if a particular need emerges, I try to think of reading material or questions that I think could help with that need.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I go through paper like a madman. In addition, using something like a small whiteboard as often as possible, and depending on the subject, prepbooks.