Hello! My name is Gavin and I am very excited to be your tutor! My goal is to promote academic achievement through tutoring and in the process help students develop critical thinking skills they can use in their own life.
I was born in Alexandria Virginia, where my aptitude for academia was first noticed and nurtured. My mother gave me multiplication tables to solve at a very young age, in fact I remember helping my teacher explain arithmetic in the second grade.
In the third grade I was placed in the "gifted" class with the more advanced students. In the fifth grade I took the SAT for the first time and began attending a summer program in Pennsylvania called CTY or Center for Talented Youth. I took science course such as biology of the senses and forensics, at the time I believed I wanted to be a forensic scientist. But, as we all know things change.
I took and passed Calculus my freshman year of high school and took the SAT again at 16 scoring a 1640. I retook it my Junior year and scored a 1780, which I took on with me to college.
My best subject has always been mathematics and I hope to share what I've learned over the years with the students here at Varsity. Together we will achieve academic excellence!
Georgia State University - Current Undergrad, Biological Science
What is your teaching philosophy?
To develop a student's learning skills in a way that encourages them to decipher challenges through critical thinking.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Get to know the student; ask questions about their hobbies and friends to get a better picture of what is important to them. Then try to understand what about the subject is most difficult for them.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Independent learning is imperative to academic achievement. Therefore, developing a student's hunger to learn is one of the duties of the teacher. The best way in my experience is to go at the student's pace. Most people want to learn but get discouraged when information comes at them too quickly, and once they get lost they give up. By slowing down, or in some cases speeding up, and keeping pace with the student we have a better chance of keeping the student engaged and developing that urge to discover information on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Some concepts can be especially difficult, and not everyone learns at the same pace or in the same way. The first thing I would do is attempt to break the concept down into smaller parts. If that isn't an option, or doesn't work, then we'll attempt the problem in a different way such as a graph or a number line.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
My favorite technique here is to introduce the topic as something they are interested in. For example, if the problem is 6x=12 and the student doesn't seem to care, I may ask "Well what types of things do you like?" Say they answer "Superheroes." Then I'll respond "Let's imagine Superman is 6 times stronger than Batman. Superman can pick up 12 people. So, let's find out how many people Batman can pick up!" This tactic usually helps maintain focus while breaking the ice a bit.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Practice questions after the session. I like to make similar problems to the ones we've discussed, just with different numbers. Regardless of the numbers, the concept is the same, so if they understand which steps to take to solve the problems, I am confident.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Allow them to come up with answers on their own. By giving them a chance to find the answer on their own, even if it takes some extra time, it usually leads to a much more confident student. I also want recaps at the end of the session. If a student can "teach" me what they've just learned, then their confidence will surely rise. Finally, goal setting. By setting goals and achieving them, students will feel better about themselves and the subject.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
The easiest way is simply asking what they are struggling with or need help with. Then once we begin, it is important to pay attention to how a student learns. Determining whether a student is an auditory or visual learner will help evaluate the needs.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
This is all about pacing. Some students catch concepts very quickly, while others need a bit more time and a few more examples. My job is to determine which they are and then cater to that. Everyone has the capacity to learn, and I adapt by keeping pace with the student's capacity.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I like modules such as the platform here at the tutoring company. I also like boards or large screens that I can show and break down concepts on.