I enjoy tutoring because, when my students succeed, I get to be a link in their larger success chain. My favorite notes are from students who write to tell me that they just got their law degree, or PhD, or made it into the Naval Academy. (Go Navy!)
I personally graduated cum laude with a double bachelors in Sociology and Historical Studies from the University of Texas at Dallas. I specialize in shepherding students through the SAT and ACT tests. As much as I enjoy math, I especially enjoy tutoring reading and writing because getting very good with that skillset has the most carryover value to the real world for most students.
If I had to describe my teaching philosophy it would be, "Take your goals seriously. Invest in yourself. Lace in. Win through." In my spare time I enjoy reading and writing, and working out. I probably read about 30 books a year and I've written six books including several tutoring books-- since 2015.
Undergraduate Degree: The University of Texas at Dallas - Bachelors, Sociology; Historical Studies
ACT Composite: 34
ACT English: 36
ACT Math: 32
ACT Reading: 35
ACT Science: 33
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1560
SAT Math: 800
SAT Verbal: 800
SAT Writing: 710
reading, writing, exercise
What is your teaching philosophy?
If I had to describe my teaching philosophy, it would be, "Take your goals seriously. Invest in yourself. Lace in. Win through." In fact, I even wrote a book about it.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I typically ask about the student's goals. Since I tutor standardized tests like the SAT and ACT, it helps to know if they've taken it before, and if they have a target school or score that they're trying to get to. After that, I do a sort of assessment to see where they're at.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Becoming an independent learner is a very important skill, and so I like to teach my students "how to study" as we progress through the lessons. I also recommend books and other resources on this subject.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I help students stay motivated by assessing their goals in our first session and then keeping them focused on weekly targets. It very much helps to have a "big picture" goal that you can track from week to week.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Assuming it's relevant to his or her score level, I go over it in detail with him or her. There is the answer to that specific question, and there is the theorem being tested. It helps to know both, and failing that, there are tips and tricks to get through many questions.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension is one of the easiest scores to raise, and usually the easiest section to get a perfect on. The reading comprehension skillset also has the most carryover value to real life for most students. I've built custom worksheets and workbooks to show students how to crack the code.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Getting excited about a subject that you don't care for can be tricky. Most people don't care to go to the gym, but most people love the feeling after a great workout. I like to set weekly targets for my students, and structure in accountability for when things go sideways.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Most confidence issues come from not being familiar with the material. I use so many released tests as prep with my students that they are typically very comfortable when they sit down on game day.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I typically assess my student's needs on or before the first session. Moving from the top 40% to the top 20% is very different than moving from the top 20% to the top 10%, or the top 5% to the top 1%. It's also very important to know why the student is making the sacrifice. Funding? Ivy League options? It makes a difference.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
The advantage of one-on-one tutoring is that I can adapt to each student. A student athlete trying to score a certain number to get funded is very different than a private-school academician trying to get ahead in the pre-med track. I have years of experience with a great many students.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I like to use custom workbooks and flashcards. I typically also assign released tests during the week.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
One important strategy for a successful set of tutoring sessions is to get to know the student's goals and motivations. If we can revisit these "big picture" goals and then break down the work into daily and weekly targets, the plan comes together.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
It's typically not very difficult to know if the student understands the material in a one-on-one setting. There are set questions that the student needs to master, and I've seen hundreds of students engage them.