Hello fellow students!
My name is Peter, and I currently live in Park Slope. I've just moved into the neighborhood with a friend from college after spending a year living in London. Before that I graduated college (Princeton) where I studied History. I'm excited to be back on the East Coast and to get a chance to continue working with students!
While I'm comfortable work with students of all ages, my most recent teaching experience was serving as a volunteer teacher's assistant for sixth, seventh, and eight graders in English, Math, and Science. Before this experience, however, I have worked as a coach, mentor, and tutor with students age 9-18 on and off for the past ten years.
I enjoy learning with students of all skill levels, and hope to be able to help you soon!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Princeton University - Bachelors, History
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1470
SAT Math: 730
SAT Writing: 700
Tennis, Running, Reading the New Yorker, Museum-going
College Application Essays
Elementary School Reading
High School English
High School Level American History
High School Level American Literature
High School Political Science
High School Writing
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Science
Middle School Writing
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is simple: find a way to make it work. I believe that if a student is struggling to learn certain material, it is likely because the material is not being communicated in a way that the student is able to receive and internalize. As a result, presenting content in a fresh, new, or creative way can yield surprising results!
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session with a student, I would introduce myself, talk a bit about what I am interested in and what I was interested in when I was the student's age. I would also ask the student about themselves! It is vital to have an understanding of who you are working and learning within a session! I'd also ask a student what goals they have for the session, so they leave our time together feeling like they've accomplished what they need, or are at least well on their way to doing so.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I teach students to become independent learners by teaching them effective learning strategies. Using this approach, I am able to teach students not only content, but also equip them with the tools necessary to learn new material in other subjects. This method is especially useful when tutoring students in languages, math, and writing.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would help a student stay motivated in a session by taking breaks from the material. This would allow the student to re-engage with the material regularly, which may help them learn how to motivate themselves when they are alone and struggling to work. I also would regularly point out the positive elements of a student's work, to ensure that they don't lose confidence in themselves or their ability to learn.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student is having difficulty learning material, I would try and approach the content from a new or different perspective. This might mean taking a break from the work, finding a new place to tutor, or more likely, communicating the material in a new way. A great way to do this might involve finding new or different problems to use or questions to ask that cover the desired material, but don't look or sound like the content that the student is struggling to learn.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
When a student struggles with reading comprehension, I would suggest reading each passage out loud to ensure that the student reads the entire passage. I would then ask the student to summarize each paragraph of the prompt, and then to explain to me what the passage is trying to communicate. If required, I would ask a student to break down the passage for me by outlining the claims it makes, and the evidence it uses to support these statements.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
When I start to work with a student, I try hard to establish a relationship that is not primarily based on the specific subject matter or material, but is instead a helping relationship, one focused on developing a student's ability to learn any kind of content through teaching learning methods and providing confidence. I find it extremely useful for the student to explain to me what he or she is looking to get out of the experience, the things that he or she enjoys, and that he or she struggles with. This prepares me as a tutor to know what subjects we should cover during a session.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
If a student was struggling to get excited with a subject, I would first establish a relationship with the student that does not primarily hinge on the content we are reviewing. By doing this, it gives the tutor a bit more flexibility in how to approach the material. Additionally, I'd have the student teach me the material, and come up with his or her own examples of how to prove the theory/subject being studied. By personalizing the way that you engage with a tricky subject, it becomes more relatable and potentially more exciting!
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
To help a student understand new material, I would try and present it in a way that incorporates modern or local examples. In this way, the student might understand the type of relationship that exists within the content, therefore priming him/her to better understand this relationship in a new context.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I build a student's confidence in a subject by reminding them of the progress they made. I think it can be very difficult as a student to understand how much or how quickly you are learning something, and many resort to measuring themselves against the progress of their peers. In a one-on-one relationship, like the one provided in a tutoring session, I have found that students are more able to avoid this temptation, allowing them to see clear, measurable success!
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I evaluate a student's needs by asking him or her a few introductory questions, or giving some practice problems before we start engaging full on with the material. This allows me to see (a) how much the student knows; (b) what styles of teaching the student responds to; and (c) how transparent the student is with the tutor.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I am able to adapt my tutoring to the needs of my student by listening to them and observing how he or she responds to the way the material is presented. Focusing on body language is critical when tutoring; it can reveal not only a student's interest level but also methods that a student prefers to use. For example, if a student is putting his head in his hand, and spending a lot of time looking at the floor, it may be time to take a break!
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
During a session, I always start with the materials that a student is familiar using. This allows me to accurately gauge the student's competence and ability, and also helps me better frame what additional materials I might use in the future. Using in-class materials also helps to achieve my twofold goal as a tutor: increasing a student's performance in school, and teaching them proper learning strategies. I also always use index cards in my sessions, as they allow me to leave little plans or notes or assignments for a student after our session is over.