I am a computer scientist by trade, a statistician and mathematician by education and a voracious reader with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of many disciplines of human learning. And no, I do not know anything about sports, but will be able to help you with sports statistics.
I teach in order to give you a deep understanding of the subject. I don't remember all the formulae of Trigonometry or Physics, but with deep understanding and highly honed skills, I can get to them in a jiffy. This is what I want the student to achieve. I teach how to translate English to Math and how to use this translation to solve problems.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I strive to teach deep understanding. There are too many facts out there, and the number is growing exponentially. Nobody can know it all, so instead we try to see what the basic facts are and achieve understanding. I do not remember all the formulae of trigonometry or physics, but with basic knowledge and deep understanding, I construct them in a jiffy. This is what I strive to teach.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Given enough time, I'd like to estimate the student's baseline as well as her/his strengths and weaknesses. We build knowledge and confidence from there. It is very common that a student needs to prepare for an imminent test. In this case, we will spend the time there and get to the baseline later.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Through deep understanding. Almost all of our knowledge is interconnected. Lewis Carroll said that Math and Poetry have the same root. Deep understanding of Math will give the student the basis and the confidence to study on his own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Boredom is the greatest enemy of motivation. We have to keep it interesting and fun.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Attack the subject from different angles. Bring examples from different disciplines; go one step back.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Whet their interest by making the subject more fun.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Make it fun. Use riddles; use tricks.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I always let the student do the work. All I provide is guidance.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Do the work, do it right, and know that you are doing it right.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Usually it requires adjusting the pace.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Pencil and paper, and a calculator, but only infrequently.