I graduated from the University of Utah in psychology and Russian, and I received an MBA from Southern Methodist University. I began tutoring psychology, statistics and Russian in college. After graduating, I spent a year teaching English in Russia, followed by 5 years as a consultant developing custom teaching solutions for college professors. As a volunteer, I have taught refugees ESL in the US, and I currently tutor at-risk youth with Whiz Kids. My favorite subject to tutor is statistics. Many fear it, but I love to help break it down into understandable pieces for students until they obtain their desired level of competency. I also tutor Russian, general business, and psychology. I can work most nights, days, and weekends. I tutor up to 20 hours per week year round. Outside of teaching, I love to spend time in the mountains, travel internationally, and play guitar. I also am writing a political thriller.
Undergraduate Degree: University of Utah - Bachelors, Psychology
Graduate Degree: Southern Methodist University - Masters, General Business
Writing, Reading, Guitar, Outdoor Activities, Health and Fitness
CLEP American Government
CLEP History of the United States II: 1865 to the Present
CLEP Principles of Management
CLEP Social Sciences and History
College World History
High School Business
IB Business & Management
IB Global Politics
What is your teaching philosophy?
I am passionate about all of the subjects I teach, and I love helping students gain proficiency in them. Students usually know more about a subject than they realize. My goal is to build a student's confidence by eliciting these dormant areas of knowledge, and leveraging it to help a student master a subject.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I take an active interest in a student's goals, challenges, and academic background. I want to discover these elements in the first lesson so we can create a plan that will ensure the student's success.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
My process is a 3 step method: 1) Decide with students what they need to learn to achieve their goal; 2) Develop a study plan that emphasizes the elements necessary to accomplish the goal; 3) Regularly measure a student's progress through feedback, review of past material, and friendly quizzes.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I find that encouragement and accountability are critical to keep a student motivated. I also like to remind students why they are studying a subject and how it is a necessary piece to achieving the goals mutually agreed upon at the beginning of our sessions.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I'm a believer in breaking down a complex subject into as many individual elements as necessary to understand it. I find most students can learn difficult concepts using this method. I do this through elicitation, explaining the concept through analogies, giving examples of case studies, and illustrating theoretical principles.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
With most subjects, comprehension can be vastly improved by teaching a student to make a note of the purpose of each paragraph, be it an author's opinion, the importance of scientific discovery, or a technical description, and then decide how the paragraph fits into the article, chapter, or section as a whole. Depending on the subject matter, I often tell students to not get sidetracked by the details in the initial reading, although highlighting key words may be appropriate.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I make it clear that there are no silly questions, it's often beneficial to ask the same question several times, everyone has a different learning style, and that the textbook isn't always right. This builds trust between me and my students and forms a basis for developing an individualized learning plan. Einstein, Edison, Newton, Churchill, and Goddard were thought to be intellectually deficient by the "experts" of their time. I want to be a teacher that never misses individual and unusual talent.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I like to show how a subject is relevant to a student's academic success, career, or personal interests. The subjects I teach can be applied to a plethora of applications, other academic subjects, and career fields. I like to learn about the student's personal interests in the first session so I can make my lessons pertinent and targeted to their interests.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I encourage students to stop me at any time to ask questions or clarify a concept. At the end of a session, I ask students to put what they've learned into their own words. I ask follow up questions, repeat areas that need re-emphasis, and make notes of areas for improvement to cover in future sessions.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
In the first lessons, I discover what a student knows and identify areas for improvement. I make notes of a student's progress and periodically show them what they have learned. Since my lessons are highly interactive, students realize that their efforts contributed greatly to their own progress which builds their confidence.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
During the first session, I talk to students in depth about what their goals, background, and challenges are in the subject. Sometimes I give diagnostic tests to identify areas to emphasize. If students have previously graded tests or papers, those can be incorporated into a study plan. Needs can change, and new ones can arise during the tutoring process, so this is an area I revisit periodically.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Every student has a different learning style, schedule, and priority list. It is essential to establish a relationship of trust and honesty, so we are clear on what the learning goals are and how we are going to attain them. Communication is key; if students prefer a particular teaching style, I encourage them to tell me. I am flexible with my methods and schedule as long as we are making progress.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I have a collection of written, audio, and visual material I use during lessons. Some is open source, some I own, and some I have created myself.