I was first exposed to tutoring during my sophomore year in college as a student studying secondary education (mathematics specific). I have been tutoring students, on and off, for around 4 years in subjects ranging from introductory algebra to differential equations to mathematics for the GRE. I have worked in a variety of tutoring platforms and have always had a great report with my students (and their parents in the cases of high school students).
My university background is in teaching high school mathematics and I have formal teaching experience at the university level as a Teaching Assistant in the Iowa State University Mathematics department during my time as a graduate student.
I believe that all students have the capability of understanding mathematics on a deep and conceptual level but that there often exists a problem with how mathematics is traditionally taught in the United States. I strive to explain topics in an understandable way to my students, and to help them make connections between the mathematics that they're working on and the language that we use to describe the mathematics. My personal philosophy is that when students are guided through, and taught, how to think about a problem in mathematics, they become more capable of handling intense problem solving on an increasingly independent basis. It's my hope that with every student, in every tutoring session, the student leaves with a deeper understanding of what is going on with a problem that they are working on.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Iowa State University - Bachelors, Mathematics
Graduate Degree: Iowa State University - Masters, Applied Mathematics
ACT Composite: 30
Data Science, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Mathematics, Heremenutics
ACCUPLACER Arithmetic Prep
ACCUPLACER College-Level Math Prep
ACCUPLACER Elementary Algebra Prep
Basic Computer Literacy
Elementary School Math
GRE Subject Test in Mathematics
GRE Subject Tests
ISEE-Lower Level Mathematics Achievement
Technology and Computer Science
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
When students struggle with reading comprehension in the context of a mathematics problem, I do what I can to simplify the question by doing 2 things. First, I'll do what I can to use simpler English words to explain the problem, and secondly, I'll try to help the student identify key parts of the problem so that they have a chance of answering a question, even without fully understanding the wording.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
During first sessions, I like to get to know my students in the context in which I am tutoring them. I like to find out if they enjoy the subject if they know what they need help with, and what their past experiences with mathematics are like. I also try to ask about personal hobbies because relating mathematics to something personal often makes the problem more enjoyable for the student.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I try to teach students what are good questions to ask about specific mathematics problems. As they grow in understanding the questions and why to ask them, they become more able to ask the right questions to themselves in an independent context. Basically, I think that with good, guided practice, a student learns how to excel at math - just like any other hobby. Perfect practice makes perfect, whereas bad practice reinforces bad habits.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I try to relate mathematics problems to personal interests and help students see the applications of the math that they're working on. That way, instead of seeing a pointless algebra problem, students see that these concepts have real-life meaning that affects them daily.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
At first, I will try to explain a concept a different way, or simplify the current example to emphasize specific parts of a concept. Often times, if a skill is hard to learn, it's because there are underlying misunderstandings that make conceptualizing the bigger-picture concept impossible.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The best strategy I have utilized is to ask students to walk me through their thought process verbally as they begin to solve a problem. This lets me in on their thoughts and helps me catch misunderstandings they have as they are having them.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I try re-wording / simplifying math problems to help students see what's important and what isn't in the context of a problem. I also consistently ask if a student is understanding my explanation, and if I feel like they are falling behind, I'll ask them to explain what I've just been helping them learn. This helps them solidify the knowledge and conceptualize it on their own.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
As we walk through a mathematics problem, I build up a student's confidence by calling on what they've done right and focus on encouraging proper thinking strategies. When a student does something incorrect, I try to find something within the incorrect thought that is close to being right, and engaging the student on that idea - expressing that they were close and on the right track.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
When students struggle with reading comprehension in the context of a mathematics problem, I do what I can to simplify the question by doing 2 things. First, I'll do what I can to use simpler English words to explain the problem, and secondly I'll try to help the student identify key parts of the problem so that they have a chance of answering a question, even without fully understanding the wording.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
To get students excited or engaged with mathematics, I try to relate the subject they're studying to real-world problems. This is especially easy in Calculus because I have real-world examples and experience in applying calculus principles to scientific problems.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I ask students to verbally explain their problem solving techniques to me as they are solving mathematics problems. This helps me identify the areas they are struggling in, whether it's subject comprehension, reading comprehension, taking too long to answer a question (in the context of standardized tests), etc. Verbalizing mathematics is instrumental in conceptualizing topics, and is also a great tool for me, as an educator, to see what the student is struggling with.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Depending on the student's needs, I try to make my tutoring sessions as conversational as possible so that instead of the session feeling like a lecture, it feels more like a discussion. In this way, the student will (hopefully) feel comfortable enough to discuss their subject needs with me so that the sessions can be personalized to them each and every time.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Typically I use the materials that the student is working with in their class. This way I can cater our tutoring session to the specific needs of their class.