I love teaching and tutoring and have helped at all levels. Some of my students have gone from a D to an A. Others have told me my course was the best course they ever took.
I have publications in mathematics education and pure mathematics. A popular publication is "Telephones and Algebra" in the Mathematics Teacher. It shows how to use algebra to get the best rate for a cell phone. I solved this problem when I got my first cell phone.
I have a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in mathematics. My teachers showed me the beauty of the subject, and I show it to my students. It should be taught with humor and compassion.
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities - Bachelors, math
University of Missouri-Kansas City - PhD, math
Elementary School Math
IB Further Mathematics
IB Mathematical Studies
SAT Subject Tests Prep
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Learn about the student's interests and needs, assess what the student knows with a few brief questions, and then help with current homework.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
A relationships is important--I show that I care. If a student cannot answer a question, I give a related question that they can answer, and then we go on to the more difficult question. "Nothing succeeds like success." I help the student succeed. Also, I show how the mathematics might relate to a subject the student likes. For example, if the student is thinking of a career in health, I mention how drugs decay exponentially.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I go over the material orally. If the student is needing lots of help reading, I recommend a reading program.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
We work in a quiet setting, encouraging trust. I use multisensory approaches, such as: see and make beautiful graphs, move around to understand angles and motion, and handle cubes to understand volume.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I help the student succeed in small ways so they are encouraged to succeed in large ways.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I ask questions. If the student cannot answer them, we go over the material again.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Confidence is impossible without success. So, I ask students questions I think they can answer, and we progress from the simple to the complex.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I ask questions, such as adding fractions or solving a quadratic equation. Also, I look at previous tests and homework from their class.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
The advantage of tutoring over a classroom is that you can meet the student's needs. If the student is taking algebra, but does not know fractions, I teach fractions. Some people learn best by eye, others by ear. So, I use both and other senses as well. For example, to teach angles, I ask the student to rotate an arm.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Calculator, paper, pencil, and colored pens. Blocks to show volume. Dice and coins to demonstrate probability.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Success, success, and success. If the students can experience success and feel confident, they can fly.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Go over the material again in a different way. Sometimes, the material can wait for another day.
What is your teaching philosophy?
One impediment in mathematics is the evil misconception that a few people are mathematically gifted, and most are hereditary failures. I believe that most people have the intelligence to master whatever they want to learn. If they fail, it is often not because of lack of ability, but because of lack of background, motivation, and perseverance. The teacher/tutor can inspire these by building a relationship and with skillful teaching. Often students say to me, "I have no ability in mathematics." I say, "Don't talk about it, and don't think about it. Wherever you are, we'll get to where you want to go."