I'm a recent graduate of the University of Washington (Seattle) with a B.S. in Biochemistry. I'm currently pursuing a career in medicine and am looking to enter medical school this coming year as a nontraditional student. Outside of my academic interests, I'm an aspiring musician and outdoorsman. My musical interests vary widely, but gravitate around indie rock, folk, and gypsy jazz. In terms of outdoors activities, I enjoy backpacking and am currently under tutelage of a friend in hunting. However, in general, I enjoy traveling to different cities and try not to limit myself to only outdoors destinations!
My philosophy on teaching is structure. When I match with a client, I will contact clients and try to get a feel for 1) what topics what client wants to cover, 2) the knowledge level of the client, and 3) what material is available. I also like to structure tutoring sessions into three blocks: in the first block, we identify problems and briefly outline the lesson plan (planned before the session); in the second block, we work through problems and I explain concepts (this is often the bulk of the session); in the third block, we review and outline everything we covered, as well set some objectives for future sessions.
My passion for teaching comes from my experiences as an undergraduate student. I struggled during my first year because I lacked structure. I studied a lot, but I didn't get anywhere because I wasn't studying right. I quote my music teacher, who said, "Practice doesn't make perfect. Practice makes permanent." Thus, I think one of the main things I'd like for students to get used to is structure on top of learning the concepts. My objective is to help students succeed on their own without my help.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Washington - Bachelors, Biochemistry
Music, traveling, sports
High School Biology
High School Chemistry
High School English
High School Physics
Middle School Science
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is to work from small to big. I tend to break things down the fine details (the fundamentals), such as word definitions when learning the sciences or some expected responses in learning a language. I find that many misunderstandings come from differences in understanding these fine details. Eventually, I try to synthesize these fine details into a bigger picture. Basically, you have all these fine details as dots (word definitions, e.g. the definition of "element," or "cell".) This process of synthesis involves connecting all these dots to make them all as I just mentioned - connected. This level of understanding is what I strive to promote and build among not just students I tutor, but among colleagues and friends alike.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Everybody is different. Thus, I try to get a feel for two things: 1) what the student already knows, and 2) how the student learns best. By learning what the student knows, I can determine and prioritize which topics need to be focused on. By learning how the student learns best, I can create a targeted plan to make sure the student gets the most out of what they pay for.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I believe consistency is the key here. If I've worked with a student and we've found a good way to tackle concepts and do well in class, I think repetition is key. Eventually, I hope the student will be able to study in the same way as he/she would study with me, and could independently do it on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Sometimes it's hard to understand why we learn certain things, like obscure elements such as palladium, or debated psychological approaches such as that of Freud. In these cases I do my best to try and bring out practical ("real-life") examples or try and hint at the bigger picture of what they're building their knowledge towards. Palladium is an important chemical catalyst, and is also mentioned in Iron Man as Tony Stark suffers from palladium poisoning. Although Freud's psychoanalytical approach is criticized, it has some lasting impacts on psychology today and thus has a deep-rooted historical position in the field. Many movies, books, and other types of literature will make subtle references to many Freudian concepts, even if many of them are not subscribed by writers.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The first thing I try to do when I work with a student is figure out how they learn best. I try to go along with how they learn best to get some momentum going. Later on, I think it's important to change learning styles slightly to make sure students have mastered concepts and not just memorized specific problem formats.