Learning is a journey, and one that really has no end. Sounds a little cliche, but it's true! I specialize in math, which is a subject that both challenges and excites. Math applies to everything and it's only stipulation is basic and irrefutable logic. Learning math occurs through a combination of instruction and participation. Instruction gives you direction and allows you to make the most out of your time spent studying, but ultimately it is participation in examples and critical thinking that will allow you to really master something. I love mathematical subject matter and I love helping people learn, so really this should be a great experience for everybody!
Undergraduate Degree: University of Wisconsin-Platteville - Bachelors, Mathematics
GRE Quantitative: 162
GRE Verbal: 161
Sports (particularly running), anything active, hiking, outdoorsy stuff, reading, and solving problems (go figure)!
What is your teaching philosophy?
Learning is a balancing act between instruction and participation. This balance is different for each individual student. Instruction is needed to help students gain direction and understand concepts. Participation in meaningful examples and critical thinking, though, is what really lets students remember, understand, and apply their new knowledge. With each student, we need to find the best balance between instruction and participation that allows them to gain the most. This is a constantly updating process.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Discussing their goals, their understanding of the subject matter, their strengths and weaknesses, and the way they find helps them learn the best. Then we can hop right in and start to work towards those goals. During this time, we can find out what's working and what isn't, and update the tutor session as we go along. Towards the end, we can see what kind of progress we made and come up with a game plan for future sessions.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Give them a basic understanding of the material, give methods of independent learning that have worked for me, give methods of independent learning that have worked for others, think critically together about what the best way for the student to work independently would be, and present some motivation on why the subject matter is important.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Give them a detailed game plan on how they could achieve their goals, present reasons why the subject matter is important, outline their strengths and weaknesses so they are confident in where they stand and what they should do, and listen to them and see what they have to say!
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Have the student try to explain what they do and don't get, start from the beginning of their weak concept and strengthen it step by step, and try different methods and sources for learning the concept.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Go through the reading and have them explain what it means and why. Then we can see where they're at, and I can point out any differences in how I interpreted the reading and why I came to those conclusions. This way we can see each others' line of thinking.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Tutoring based on their needs. Ultimately the sessions are about the student, and I am simply giving direction and insight. A clear understanding of goals and their level of understanding is necessary to develop a good tutoring relationship.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Ask why they find it boring, give reasons why I like it, have a conversation about why it's important or useful, and give interesting or meaningful examples.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Have them explain back to me the concept, see how they work through examples, and get their insight on how they feel about their understanding.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Show them what they're good at. Have them explain their concerns and come up with a well defined game plan on how to address those concerns. This makes it clear what is needed to do in order to succeed, and we can adjust this plan as time goes on.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
See what the student thinks about their understanding, and also independently evaluate where the student is at. Once we understand what can be improved upon, then we can come up with a clear plan on how to improve.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
It's a constant process of updating my tutoring strategy based on how the student is improving, what the student thinks of our time spent together so far, and their future concerns and goals.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Their textbook and notes, my textbook and notes, and clear examples of explanations that we can find online.