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Alex

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I am a junior at the University of Maryland-College Park and am majoring in Biological Engineering. I will most likely end up adding a minor in Spanish, and perhaps another in business management or dance.
I tutored all throughout high school, primarily focusing on mathematics, up til calculus I. In college now I tutor primarily in Spanish. The subjects in which I can offer exceptional tutoring services are physics, either Mechanics or Electricity and Magnetism, all Math courses up til Calc I, any SAT or ACT prep, and in any high school or undergraduate Spanish class. I received 5's on the AP tests for Physics I and Calc AB/BC, received the highest grade in the class on the Physics 2 (E&M) final exam in college, and a 2300 on the SAT's (800 Math, 770 Reading, 730 Writing). I have self-taught Spanish to the point of fluency. I recently became part of a Spanish-immersion program on campus, and have spent 2 months in Nicaragua working and living in the language. As far as Spanish tutors go, you're not going to find a better one.
There are fewer things more satisfying to me than when I am struggling with a problem or a concept, and I reach that 'eureka' moment. That moment when the mental fog around a concept clears, and I really, truly get it is incredible. However, one of those things that are even more satisfying and rewarding for me is when I can lead someone else to reach that same understanding of something.

Alex’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Maryland - Current Undergrad, Biological Engineering

Test Scores

SAT Composite: 2300

SAT Math: 800

SAT Verbal: 770

SAT Writing: 730

AP Calculus AB: 5

AP Calculus BC: 5

AP Statistics: 5

AP Physics B: 5

AP English Literature: 5

AP English Language: 5

AP US History: 4

AP World History: 4

SAT Mathematics Level 2: 790

AP Human Geography: 4

AP Psychology: 5

AP Macroeconomics: 4

AP Microeconomics: 4

AP Environmental Science: 4

AP Comparative Government and Politics: 4

SAT Subject Test in Physics: 760

Hobbies

I try to experience and learn as many new things and skills as possible. Parkour and Freerunning, martial arts, dancing, guitar and singing, and new languages are just some of the things that I try to occupy myself with. I love tackling anything that requires me to push myself, physically or mentally.


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

The core principle in my teaching philosophy is flexibility. As someone with a very atypical learning style myself, I can appreciate how different approaches and different pedagogies can make all the difference when it comes to teaching. I believe in being able to communicate the same concept ten different ways, so that each student will find a way that makes sense for them.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

I will spend a few minutes getting to know them and what kind of person they are, what they like to do, etc. This helps to A) establish a rapport, and B) gives me ammo for future real world analogies if I need to illustrate a point. Next I might give them a sort of conceptual pretest, and see which topics they understand, and which ones we will need to devote more time to.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

The secret to self-learning is to be passionate about it. I have self-taught a variety of different things, some with great success, others barely getting off the ground. You need to want to learn something because you like that thing. You need to find it fascinating or useful. If you feel obligated to learn something, you will need someone to drag you along every step of the way. It's exhausting, it's unpleasant, and it's inefficient. But when you are passionate about what you're learning, it becomes effortless. My three keys to developing a student’s passion and interest for even a mundane subject are enthusiasm, practicality, and informality. Enthusiasm is critical because students take their cues from the teacher. If a teacher is bored and uninterested, the student will be bored and uninterested. If the teacher is excited (within reason), the student will become more excited. Practicality is very helpful because most students never really see the use of what they are learning in the real world. Showing them how what they are learning can actually apply to their immediate circumstances is a very effective way of piquing their interest. Informality (again, with reason) is a surprisingly important way to develop a more comfortable relationship with a student. Speaking to them as a peer and a friend, using examples and analogies that they can actually relate to, speaking their *language*, these kinds of things help the student feel less like they're back in a classroom.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Little goals are essential to long term progress. Human beings crave positive feedback, and every time we achieve a goal we've set for ourselves, even if it's a small and insignificant one, dopamine is released in our brains. We literally become addicted to making progress. I try to set many small, achievable goals for students, so that they can get as much positive feedback as possible.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

I would first change the way I am explaining it. Use a different analogy, write my own problems to try and illustrate, maybe come up with a process for how to use the skill. I would change up the strategy. If that is continuously unsuccessful, and the student is getting frustrated, I would take a short break and talk with them about something unrelated to get their mind off of it. Insanity (according to Einstein at least) is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. If a student isn't understanding, it means I'm not doing something wrong. If I'm doing something wrong, I need to change something--that's the bottom line.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

Reading comprehension, especially in standardized testing, tends to be pretty formulaic. They give a certain passage, and they look for you to identify certain facets of that passage. Many students have problems with this because they look at the text as a text, and not as an information bank. I help students to change the way they see what they are reading, so that instead of seeing it just as a cohesive narrative, they see the informational skeleton behind it and can dissect it as necessary. Exercises such as highlighting important things, and going through questions in reverse are very useful exercises.