I received my Bachelor's degree in Math and Education from Eastern Michigan University and my Master's degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. I have worked as a math teacher and high school principal, and throughout these years I have tutored students in small groups and one-on-one. I love working with students and helping them fall in love with math. I tutor all level levels of math from elementary to Calculus, including test prep. My guiding belief is that students will not learn unless they have the confidence to do well and are enjoying what they are learning. So, at the core of my teaching is that I need to build that confidence in my students and help them to understand that they CAN be successful, and then show them that they ARE successful, while having fun at the same time. Outside of teaching and tutoring I enjoy spending time with my wife and 4 children, playing video games, watching movies and serving at our church.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Eastern Michigan University - Bachelors, Mathematics, Education
Graduate Degree: Northern Arizona University - Masters, Educational Leadership
ACT Reading: 31
Tennis, Video Games, Movies
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I became a math teacher to change the way that students learn math. I had many poor math teachers growing up, and I have learned unique ways of presenting math so that students understand and remember how to solve difficult problems. I love teaching and the feeling when a student that "hates math" finally begins to enjoy math thrills me.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I typically like to ask a few questions about what they might be struggling with so that I can focus my efforts on what they need the most. I also usually like to ask some general math questions related to that topic to discover if I need to help them with any of the building blocks for that topic before we move forward.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By teaching them to how think, question and analyze the problems for themselves. My goal is that the student will no longer need my help and will learn to ask questions to themselves to guide them to the answer.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Positive encouragement and building their skills up slowly allows students to taste success through the struggle of understanding a difficult concept. I also like to challenge my students with problems that are "harder" than the ones they are working on, and often they don't even realize until they've solved it that they now know how to teach others more than what they were supposed to know in the first place. This tends to give a huge morale boost and confidence to students.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Usually if a student is having difficulty it is because they are missing a building block or some other piece of knowledge from before the unit/chapter. Going slow and building up their skills is the best way to address this. If that isn't the case - it may just require multiple ways of explaining how to do the problem. Math is amazing because there are many, many different ways to solve each problem, and they're all correct as long as you follow the "rules" of math and get the right answer. Showing students different paths to the solution will often give them the freedom to feel comfortable with what they are learning.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Going slow and asking guiding questions about what they are reading. Using context clues and tapping into their own personal experience will often help them understand something (without me telling them) that they didn't realize they could figure out on their own.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Getting to know them individually and discovering their own strengths and weaknesses often helps build a relationship that allows a teacher to help them more than you would imagine possible.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Make it fun and give them confidence boosts along the way. If they are experiencing success they will want to continue. If they are feeling confident, they will enjoy it more.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I like to check for understanding frequently by having a student explain to me what we are doing, how we are doing it, and then to teach me the problem. Additionally, as we go through a concept I like to give them problems to solve that increase in difficulty so that I can identify gaps and weaknesses to target for more help.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Positive motivation, building their skills up through problems of increasing difficulty and reassurance that they are smart and can do anything they put their mind to.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
By asking them what they need help with and focusing on that topic, but also by asking them some math questions related to that topic and discovering what gaps in skills need to be addressed.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
All tutoring is individual. I am comfortable teaching all different levels in math and can quickly identify what gaps and difficulties a student may have. Attacking those gaps and needs allows a student to not only be successful in their topic, but excel in math.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Only paper and pencil are necessary, but sample problems from the student or a textbook can be useful. Often just by the student telling me what topic they are working on, I can develop practice problems for them quickly and at their skill level for us to work through together.