A photo of Johanna, a tutor from Alma College

Johanna

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I've always enjoyed school, but there were those times when I was totally lost. I know the feeling of frustration when everyone else seems to get it, or when the whole class is struggling and there's no classmate who can help. In college and in grad school, I've developed superior study skills and the ability break down difficult topics into simpler pieces. When there is a big exam coming up, I've learned how to organize my studying so that I make sure to cover everything but spend the most time on the hardest parts.

I've been able to use these skills to help classmates in my masters and PhD classes in economics at American University, where my PhD is in progress. I also have experience as a math tutor in high school and have facilitated numerous training workshops in my professional work history.

I'm able to work with individuals and small groups. My areas of expertise are mathematics and economics, especially algebra, calculus, microeconomic theory and macroeconomic theory. These subjects are all related and I find it really interesting that they can help with understanding human behavior on a small and grand scale.

When I'm not working on economics coursework, I love hanging out with my dog and doing outdoorsy things with friends like camping, hiking, and going to the beach. I also love cooking and I've found that if I just learn and understand how things work I will never have to memorize a recipe. Same thing with math and econ.

Johanna’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Alma College - Bachelors, Sociology and Anthropology

Graduate Degree: American University - PHD, Economics

Test Scores

GRE Verbal: 167

Hobbies

Cooking, camping, hiking, dance, dogs, French, the beach, and the list goes on!

Tutoring Subjects


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

Learning how things work is far superior to memorization. I like to use examples whenever possible, not relying on abstract definitions. If a student can explain the mechanics of a math concept to me as they work out a problem on their own, then I know they have learned it.

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

Unless we're meeting to prep for an urgent exam, I'd like to take a few minutes at the beginning of a first session to get to know a student's academic experience so far. I want to know what they have liked and not liked about current and previous classes and what they think helps them learn more easily. Then I would move on to questions about the material we're going to work on that day and going forward. That will help us hone in on any sticking points and determine where to start.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

The keys to independent learning, in my opinion, are: being able to stay calm and be methodical; knowing where to find outside resources that will help with understanding. Through working on problems together, I can help students gain these skills by demonstration and practice.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Motivation requires purpose. If you know why you're learning something, you will be more motivated to keep working at it. I can help draw connections amongst math, econ concepts, and real life so that students can see how they might be able to use fundamental skills in an exciting job someday.

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

Reading comprehension is a skill that can definitely improve with practice. It's most difficult for topics that are unfamiliar. My strategy for practicing reading comprehension is to take a passage piece by piece, possibly even breaking it down into single sentences, and focusing on small but important words like "if," "but," "and," "or," and so on. For some students, it may help to use visuals to organize the information.