Tutoring can be a lot of fun for both students and teachers. I enjoy challenging my students, and it is a thrill to see their insights as they solve problems and learn new things.
I began teaching swimming lessons when I was 17 years old, and after several years became the manager of the swimming lessons program in Fort Worth, TX. This led me to develop a long-term interest in how people learn, and how learning systems can be efficiently designed to help them succeed at every step along the way.
Since then I have gained experience in tutoring a large variety of subjects, including programing, physics, calculus, the SAT, the MCAT, etc.
I am good at explaining and breaking things down in multiple ways -- words, diagrams, analogies -- to make concepts clear. There are very few things I cannot explain or articulate.
Currently my favorite subjects to tutor include computer programming, mathematics, statistics, and physics.
Undergraduate Degree: Southern Adventist University - Bachelor in Arts, Physics (with minors in Mathematics, Chemistry, and Biology)
Graduate Degree: University of Texas at Houston Medical School - Doctor of Medicine, Medicine
MCAT Verbal Reasoning: 11
MCAT Physical Sciences: 10
MCAT Biological Sciences: 14
working out, running, reading
Anatomy & Physiology
AP Computer Science
AP Computer Science A
Computer Game Design
High School Biology
High School Business
High School Chemistry
High School Physics
IB Computer Science
IB Computer Science HL
IB Computer Science SL
Mathematical Foundations for Computer Science
MCAT Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
Technology and Coding
What is your teaching philosophy?
Helping students to teach themselves and find their own insights.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would ask if they have any upcoming tests or homework assignments. If so, I'd ask them to show me how they would approach them. It's very important to build from where a student is at.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
(1) By asking them questions that challenge them to figure out things just beyond what they already know. (2) By giving them practice with using textbooks and the Internet as learning resources. (3) More generally: being an independent learner is mainly based on confidence, drive, and experience. If I can give my students a rewarding experience in teaching themselves as explained above, they are more likely to have the confidence to try to do so when they are learning entirely on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation varies with particular subjects based on: their innate appetite and aptitude, how much value people around them place on it, how relevant they feel it is, how effective they feel they are, etc. Where I as a tutor can help is in connecting a subject to the real world, thereby making it feel more relevant and by helping them be effective by structuring a smooth staircase for learning whereby they are challenged at a level that is just right for them.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Ask them about things they know that relate to it and build from there.; draw diagrams, make analogies, to make them comfortable with the topics; and come back to the topic on several successive days so that they can process it on several occasions.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Ask them to process what they are reading in various ways (to talk me through what they're reading, to jot down a few notes on what they're reading). Practice helps, so I would encourage them to read for pleasure -- especially if they can do so using materials that are slightly challenging to them.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Starting from where they are at. Asking about their learning style. If they're very unmotivated, starting by working on what they are most interested in. If they're very motivated, we might start on what they're less interested in and get it out of the way. I'm very sensitive to how people feel about what they're doing, and I make sure to ask and try to make what we do into a bit of a game that they learn to enjoy.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Taking the pressure off of them by working on the subject frequently but for very short periods of time. Helping them experience some small successes in the subject. Seeing the subject's relevance by connecting it to the real world. Helping them see the light at the end of the tunnel-- that they only have to do a relatively small number of homework problems and those will not take too much time.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Asking them to explain it to me. Giving them a similar problem that slightly stretches their comprehension and seeing how they process it. Giving them word problems or ones that involve interpreting a diagram.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Helping them have small successes. Lowering expectations: helping them see that this subject is hard for many people, and that they shouldn't try to learn it all in a day or an hour -- that rather, they should come back to it frequently for short periods of time.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Asking them, asking their parents, watching their reactions and body language to see when they're tired or unmotivated, looking at past assignments for specific deficiencies, etc.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I have been told that I am an extremely flexible thinker. Thus, I have several different ways of thinking through most concepts that are like different paths up a mountain. I try to find a way of thinking about the problem that will solve it and will also be appropriate for their learning style, their strengths, and weaknesses, what they already know, and what they don't yet know. I often go back to earlier material and build from what they know toward things that they do not know.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Homework, textbooks, and hand-drawn diagrams. If need be, online problem sets and Google.