Science is basically the coolest thing ever. It's everything! It's how the whole universe works! It's totally neato! Math is the language of science. Lots of people who are otherwise really into science don't pursue it further than high school or their gen-eds in college because they don't think they're mathy enough for it --- but anyone can be mathy enough! It just takes lots of practice. I assume that's why you're here. That's certainly why I'm here.
I graduated from College of Charleston with a bachelors in astrophysics and biology. I taught high school physics for a year, did a few years of astronomy TAing, did a few years of astronomy research. I worked on directly imaging planets around high-mass stars. It was very fun! I'm planning on starting in on my PhD within the year. Astrobiology is my jam. Ask me about it! Or I guess you can Google it.
Hobbies: Reading (lots of Octavia Butler right now), watching fun cartoons (I am completely in love with Steven Universe), drawing, being upset about The Hobbit trilogy.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: College of Charleston - Bachelors, Astrophysics, Physics, Biology
GRE Quantitative: 155
GRE Verbal: 166
GRE Analytical Writing: 5.5
11th Grade Writing
12th Grade Writing
Basic Computer Literacy
College Level American Literature
High School Biology
High School English
High School Level American Literature
High School Physics
High School Writing
Technology and Coding
What is your teaching philosophy?
I try to meet people where they are; figure out the root of what they don't know and build out from there.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
It depends on why they're having a hard time. Once we figure that out, that helps me decide whether I need to try a completely different way of explaining, or whether it's just a question of more practice.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
With my subjects it's pretty easy; I can give students unique problems and ask them to show all their work or to explain what they're doing while they're doing it, or to make a prediction if we're doing something sciencey. There are lots of options.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
It depends on what we're doing. I like to have visualizations as much as possible. For physics, there are tons of neat animations and simulations online that we can check out; there are also great animations for some mathematical concepts that we can use. I'm also a big fan of demos. If I can make science actually happen, I will.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Say hi! And then figure out the student's situation: what they're having trouble with, what they've got a good handle on, etc. Then, we can plan our attack.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Math and science really lend themselves to that, since there's so much problem-solving and puzzling things out. So, when we start in on a new thing or a particularly difficult thing, I may provide a lot of assistance, but I'll gradually back off and let the student figure things out on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
It depends on what's motivating them to seek out tutoring in the first place. If they really enjoy science but the math is giving them a hard time, I'd try to connect the math to things about physics they enjoy. If their motivation is more about keeping up their GPA but they're not particularly interested in math or science, I wouldn't bombard them with stuff that didn't interest them, but I'd be as encouraging and helpful as possible.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
With word problems, there are often signal words and phrases that you can look out for to find what kind of problem you're solving and what kinds of tactics to use. So I'd work on helping the student seek out those words.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
It depends on the student and their interests. If the material is interesting to them, then it's worth struggling through. So, each victory is important because it's helping the student learn material that they're really interested in. If the student doesn't like what they're learning at all, and on top of that, it's hard for them, then ... that sucks, friend. For real! It sucks super hard! But then when you finally get the answer to a problem, it's like you've slain a dragon!
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
The more you learn and practice, the more confident you become. I don't have to build the student's confidence; the student will do that for themselves. You're a champion! A self-confidence-building champion!
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Probably ask them how they're doing. Students know their needs. Sometimes you end up so out of your depth that you're not sure where to begin, and in those cases a few practice problems together can help us figure out the areas you need to focus on.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Try new things and see how well they work; ask the student what kinds of things they'd like to try.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
When we first start out, we need to figure out what you need. So, we work together on that first and start developing our plan of study, and things can progress from there. There's no cut-and-dry method of starting out with a new student because everyone's got different reasons for coming to tutoring, so everyone's starting out in a different place.