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Alex

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I graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in Political Science. After graduation I then completed a Pre-Health Specialized Studies Post Bacc Program at the University of Pennsylvania with plans to ultimately attend medical school. During my time at Notre Dame I spent 2 years tutoring students through College Mentors for Kids. Although I am confident working with all subjects, I am particularly comfortable tutoring in math, reading, physics, and standardized test prep.

Alex’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Notre Dame - Bachelors, Political Science and Government

Test Scores

GRE Verbal: 165

GRE Analytical Writing: 5

Hobbies

In my spare time I enjoy playing soccer, basketball, skiing and following Notre Dame football.

Tutoring Subjects

Algebra

History

AP Biology

AP U.S. Government & Politics

AP US History

AP World History

Biology

Elementary School Math

English

Finite Mathematics

Geography

Geometry

Graduate Test Prep

GRE Analytical Writing

High School Biology

High School English

High School Geography

High School Level American History

High School Physics

High School Political Science

High School World History

College Math

Math

Middle School Math

Physics

Political Science

Pre-Algebra

SAT Prep

Science

Social Sciences

Social studies

World History


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I think my teaching philosophy revolves around the fact that no one learns exactly the same way and that there is no one, singular, right way to teach. When helping someone to learn, I think the first thing to do is identify the part of the problem that they find the most difficult, and then try to approach it in as many different ways as possible. Once we find an approach that works, we can then use that newfound strength as a foundation to solve the rest of the problem.

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

In a typical first session, the first thing I would do is have the student explain to me what they are having trouble with and what their academic goals are. After this, I would then have them show me how they would normally approach the material and observe the strategies they currently use. Next I would then work with them to identify what they were struggling with the most, and then work with them to show different ways to think about and attack that part of the problem. Once we found an approach that works, we can then use that newfound strength as a foundation to solve the rest of the problem.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

One of the most important things I think you can do to help a student become an independent learner is to help give them the self-confidence needed to tackle problems that they have either never seen before or are still not comfortable with. In saying that, I mean first help them to master easier questions in an effort to develop a structure or framework to approach problems with. Doing this not only shows students that they can succeed with the material, but also provides them with a proven approach that they can then apply to other problems. Using this skill set, even if the material doesn't match up perfectly to what they have experienced in the past, the student now has the tools and confidence they need to tackle new problems as an independent learner.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

To help a student who was struggling with material stay motivated, the first thing I would do is make sure that they understand that whatever they are working on is difficult, and that it's ok if it's not coming easy. Next I'd go back to the last place in the material that the student felt comfortable, and then slowly start working our way forward towards more difficult problems. By doing so, the student would be able to see how much they can do right now, as well as follow along with their progress, proving to them that even if it's taking a little more time than they would want to master the material, it's still manageable when they work hard at it.

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

The first thing I would do is ask them what they thought the problem was or what they were having the hardest time grasping. If the answer wasn't readily apparent, then I would have them work through a problem or two as best they could and observe / have them explain their thought process to try and pinpoint where the issue might be. After that, I would focus on the particular part of the problem that was causing the most difficulty, and then once mastered, would return to work on the rest of the problem.

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

For students struggling with reading comprehension, the first thing I would do is have them read through the passage that we were working on and then provide me with a basic summary of the reading. Next I would have them go through the questions individually and explain to me what part of the passage they believed supported their answer. By doing so, we would be able to unpack the reading piece by piece, and show the student how to identify and hold onto the relevant pieces of the article while working past the other less important parts.

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

I think one of the most important things to focus on when starting to work with a student is keeping their confidence up and not overwhelming them with problems that they aren't ready for yet. I think it's critical to do a few relatively easy problems in the beginning so you can build up a little momentum before covering the really challenging material. This not only ensures that they have confidence when tackling more difficult problems, but also serves to give them a refresher on the material they're working on.

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

One way would be to change the approach or the context under which they had been working. If it's a math problem, try focusing on a different part of the equation first; if it's a reading passage, have them read the questions before the passage so they know what to look for; the specific difference isn't so important as the actual change in strategy or how you approach a problem is.

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

I would begin by working with the material that they already possess. (textbooks, homework, assignments, etc.) I would then introduce new resources, online websites, YouTube videos, and various resources I have used in the past to give them a wider range of information to draw from. Once we found what the student liked the best or was most comfortable with, I would then start to incorporate that more into our tutoring sessions as well as show them how to make the most of it when they are working by themselves at home.

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

As I said before, I think the best way to build a student's confidence it to, regardless of what they are working on, go back to the last point where they feel very comfortable with the material. Then, step by step slowly increase the difficulty of the problems, and ensure that any potholes or gaps in their understanding of the material are addressed before going forward. By doing this, it allows the student to not only review the past material that they are familiar with, but it ensures that they have the skills needed to tackle the problems they are currently working on, and gives them a series of recent successes that they can carry with them when they start working on the harder material.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

When evaluating a student's needs, the first thing I would do is ask the student what they would like to focus on the most. After that, I would ask them to work through some of the material and explain to me their thought process so I could better understand their strategy in approaching a question. After that, I would combined what I had observed with what they had said they wanted to work on to come up with an initial understanding of where they might be able to improve the most.

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

Given that many people prefer different styles of learning, instead of simply lecturing someone I was working with, I would encourage them to pick from a variety of resources such as online videos, problem sets, textbooks, and personal notes to work from. After that, we could use them in whatever way the student found most effective for themselves.

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

Typically, I prefer to use example problems or passages during a tutoring session. By doing so, it not only allows me to work step by step with the student, but in the process also creates a detailed review sheet or reference point that they can go back to after our secession. This allows them to recall the material and strategy we worked on and gives them a template to use when tackling new problems afterwards on their own.