A photo of Graham, a tutor from Western Governors University

Graham

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I'm a student at Western Governors University getting a B.S. in Science Education with ambitions to pursue a doctoral degree in Theoretical or Astrophysics. While in Community College, I made the Dean's List and was inducted into the honor's society. Some of my favorite subjects to tutor are Middle School Math, Algebra 1, and Science. In my free time, I like to think about the "Next Big Thing" and how we can shape the world for the better. I am a big fan of anime and BBC series. I'm always reading: whether it's the news or a book, I'm always reading.

When it comes to teaching, I have always believed that each individual is far more capable than they give themselves credit for. A student's abilities are far greater than they realize. As an educator, I seek to expose students to that remarkable ability to reason and problem solve. For me, I see no greater victory than seeing a student grapple with a topic, wrestle with it so much, and then finally achieve mastery. I also encourage all of my students to never be afraid of failure, I remind them that all the great thinkers, those who left their mark on history they also were phenomenal at failure. Einstein, struggled for years to understand his own Theory of Relativity; Elon Musk, with the recent explosion at Space X, is being reminded that he too can and will fail some of the times. The key is "what do I do with those failures?" Do you sit and sulk? Or do you say "Alright, this is a set back, but I'm glad I had the learning experience to be prepared for the next time.

I am constantly trying to enforce the notion that everything in life is an opportunity if you give it the option. In education, I believe there is no substitute for hard work, you will have students who are gifted with no sense of effort, and those students who struggle but they put in hours trying to master it. That's a mindset I want to bestow upon each of my students regardless of whether they're meeting for enrichment or because they are struggling. I don't believe in giving answers, I am a person who will help you get there but I want to see you solve it. I also don't believe in teaching "What to think" but "How to think" -- that's what Math and Science should do -- help you to think critically and problem solve.

I believe learning is a personal journey, one that we all are better for, and I hope that I can lead the way for others just like others paved the way for me.

Graham’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Western Governors University - Current Undergrad, Science Education

Hobbies

STEM! Anytime I am thinking, I'm thinking about the next big thing to make humanity better

Tutoring Subjects

Earth Science

Elementary School Math

High School Biology

High School Chemistry

Math

Middle School Math

Middle School Science

Pre-Algebra

Science


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

You have to tell kids why what they're learning matters, otherwise it's completely wasted on them. It's not enough to learn something to pass a test; you have to fully engross them in the implications of what they're learning.

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

I like to be personable and friendly in introductory meetings, and get a gauge of their skills and areas of trouble. I figure out how they learn best and what strategies didn't work in the past.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Giving them enthusiasm to grasp concepts on their own is key here. We can't get a generation of passionate learners unless we show them how to be passionate.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Always attack material from new angles; that's key to any aspect of motivation.

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

Learn about what ways the student learns best, and those can inform you best on how to approach difficult concepts.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

You have to understand their backgrounds to be of any help to them.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

Show them all they can do with it when they continue to develop their skills in it. Teach them that what they learn really matters, and it's not just to see how well they take tests.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I have always been fond of the method in which students teach what they learned to you. Have them guide you, step by step.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Encouragement, let them know that you know they are capable of anything, because you've seen it.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I take a few meetings to really get a vibe for their skill sets.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

We are nothing if we aren't flexible and daring in our approaches to even the most mundane of material. It's essential to have fluidity in all manner of subjects.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

This ultimately depends on the content being covered. Whiteboards are an invaluable resource, and so are film clips and games. They can all really help get a point down.

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

Have them apply the words to real-life scenarios, and have them construct sentences centered around their daily experiences.