I am the first person in my family to be born in the United States. My entire family are immigrants and it was only recently that my last remaining family members came over from China. This meant that growing up I was the eldest of all the children in my family. Being an only child myself, I had a lot of responsibility to take care and help raise my cousins who are all younger. My interest and experience in tutoring comes from helping my cousins through school.
My oldest cousin after me is three younger which means she was about to learn everything that I just had. When I a senior in high school, my cousins ranged from elementary school to freshman in high school. Going off to college led me to reflect on all the years I spent helping my cousins through school. Ever since middle school I would help them with math, writing, reading, and even on science projects. Moreover, I taught them about school itself how to learn, how to make friends, where to go for lunch, and so on.
Watching them grow up made me understand what teaching and tutoring really means. Having the support from someone older who can also assist in academics builds confidence that students will carry throughout their academic careers. This is especially important at a young age. Even when I was at college my cousins would call from time to time about a problem they were having, school related or not. This is why my preference for being a tutor at Varsity Tutors is middle school and high school. I'd like to help students build their academic confidence while learning what they need to for school.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Stony Brook University - Bachelors, Business Management & Information Systems
Graduate Degree: Boston University - Masters, Computer Information Systems
Listening to music, watching TV shows and movies, playing video games, cracking jokes and having fun
Basic Computer Literacy
Elementary School Math
High School Business
PC Basic Computer Skills
Study Skills and Organization
Technology and Computer Science
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe in letting students engage in their own learning. This means not just lecturing students on the subject they are trying to learn but guiding them to learn it through their own thinking. I do this by making sessions more of a conversation, and teach students to think through and analyze the problem, not just solve it.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first lesson, I like to gauge the student's understanding of the subject or problems first. This way I'll know how much the student already knows and what his/her weak points are. This also lets me know how the student approaches and thinks about the problem, which then allows me to better teach and help them by applying my teaching philosophy.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Students become independent learners when they are able to understand what the problem means, even if they aren't able to solve it just yet. This way they are able to break down the problem and analyze it on their own based on their understanding. They can then go about using their own knowledge to learn.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
To make sure a student understands the material, I would use practice questions or create concept questions on the spot to make sure the student understands the concept and method on how to solve the problem. The student should be able to apply that concept and method to similar problems.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would help students stay motivated by given them a sense of control. They get a say over each session and how they learn. Another way to help students stay motivated is to track progress. When students see tangible results due to the work they put in, they want to continue to better their learning. This can be done outside of tutoring sessions and/or scheduling follow up sessions to prior lessons.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Often when students find a skill or concept difficult to grasp, it's because they do not understand why things are done a certain way or how it's applicable. It's hard to learn something when you're just given a formula to follow but don't actually understand each of the steps. I would break down the skill or concept into smaller parts and go over each one to give the student an overall understanding. Then, we bring it back together and apply it to the problem.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Students struggling with reading comprehension often have a difficult time summarizing the main point(s) of the passage they are reading. Everything else in the passage is meant to circle around the main point - whether to support it, argue against it, or provide an example. I would help the student by teaching him/her to break down the passage into its individual points and then summarize the main idea of the passage. I would assign reading to the student, and have him/her use this method to understand the passage and then answer questions that test how well the student has identified these points. This will test the student's comprehension of what the author is saying. With enough practice, this method will be applied subconsciously when reading.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
When starting to work with a student, I find it's important to understand the student's needs beyond just the course or material that's presented in the sessions. I'd like for the student to set a goal based on what they need help on. I also found that it's successful if I'm able to connect with the student in some way to make the tutoring sessions more personal and for the student to gain trust in me as a tutor.