I am fortunate to have been born with quite diverse talents. A published writer who has worked as a computer scientist at a cutting-edge R&D facility in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as an instructor of Physics at UW-Madison and, most recently, an instructor of Creative Writing at Brown University, I have found in tutoring the perfect outlet for both my diverse interests and my passion to help young people.
In working with each student, I maintain an interactive and personalized approach. I like to gently guide the student towards finding solutions to problems on their own, through aptly placed questions and prompts. This also allows me to be better aware of the particular strengths and places for improvement in each student's learning pattern, and use these findings to fine-tune subsequent sessions.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Peking University Beijing China - Bachelors, Physics & Computer Science
Graduate Degree: University of Wisconsin-Madison - Masters, Physics & Computer Science
Painting, Print-making, Hiking, Reading, Ecology, Badminton, Ice-skating
AP Chinese Language and Culture
AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
AP Physics C: Mechanics
Elementary School Math
High School Physics
Mandarin Chinese 1
Mandarin Chinese 3
Mandarin Chinese 4
SAT Subject Test in Chinese with Listening
SAT Subject Tests Prep
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
In working with each student, I maintain an interactive and personalized approach. I like to gently guide the student towards finding solutions to problems on their own, through aptly placed questions and prompts. This also allows me to be better aware of the particular strengths and places for improvement in each student's learning pattern, and use these findings to fine-tune subsequent sessions. I hold my tutoring at the highest standard possible. For regular student, I offer a free consultation session before we start, where I talk to you and your child about what you would like to achieve, and figure out an individualized plan for your child. Then periodically I offer free quick check-in sessions with parents so we stay working together as a team.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I usually like to ask my student to tell me their goals in the subject, what they like to achieve through tutoring, as well as how they feel in general about the subject, and if there are certain aspects of the subject they find particularly challenging/interesting for them. Then we work on problems/material review together, where I can provide the level of guidance that's right for the student.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I try to guide my students through the material by asking them questions as we solve problems together. I also try to teach the general learning methods that are different for each subject, so that the student can apply them in their study outside our sessions together.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
One approach I utilize is breaking down the challenging problem into several easier problems, and showing them how each easier problem is related to what they already know or what we already covered. This way it makes learning a less daunting task.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension problems usually come from: 1) difficult diction/concepts; 2) sentence structure/syntax; 3) logic/reasoning. I first help the student identify which area needs more work, and then focus on that area to tackle the challenge. Sometimes, all it takes is simple paraphrasing.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
First, I ask general questions such as how the student feels about the subject and which parts are more difficult for them. Then when we work together. Rather than talking all the time, I listen, and observe, and try to understand the challenge from the student's perspective.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
This depends on the age/subject. For middle-school and some high school students, I sometimes introduce math-games in teaching math, and my students love them. Otherwise, I try to make the problem more easily digestible by paraphrasing, drawing parallels, and basically asking & listening rather than talking all the time myself.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I have a conversational style of tutoring, so usually at the end of the class I have a pretty good understanding where the student is at. I also utilize the chapter-end concept questions, if available, in the textbook the student uses.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Start with discussions on basic concepts and equations, to make sure they understand both, rather mechanically memorizing them. So start with simpler questions, and move on to more difficult ones step by step.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
First of all: ask. I always check in with my students about their comfort level with the material and what they feel like they need the most work on. I also observe my student's errors and difficulties to find patterns that point to specific areas/skills of need.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
We'll just focus on what works for the student and what they need the most improvement on. For example, once I find a student is good in math but weak in concepts, I lead the student into a quick discussions of concepts. Some students prefer a more lecture style session; I adjust according to their needs.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
The majority of materials will be what the student uses and feels comfortable with. Then there is always more advanced material, either online/in bookstores, which I sometimes recommend to my more ambitious students.