I am a college professor with a wide academic background. I have the most experience teaching economics and a wide variety of math subjects. I also teach SAT and ACT, including Math, English, Reading, and Writing. I teach GRE and GMAT. I have applied these subjects in many venues and I love sharing the skills I have picked up from education and experience. I have a PhD in Education from the University of Colorado. During my doctorate studies, our IDEAL team focused on learning, and what teaching styles help students to learn at an optimum rate.
I am a born again Christian who believes that people should be treated as I want to be treated. I enjoy helping people achieve their highest potential. I look forward to tutoring with Varsity Tutors.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: United States Air Force Academy - Bachelors, Economics
Graduate Degree: University of Colorado Denver - PHD, Education
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1500
SAT Verbal: 750
SAT Writing: 730
GRE Quantitative: 780
GRE Verbal: 710
GRE Analytical Writing: 6
GMAT Quantative : 49
sports, guitar, math, economics, movies
GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment
GMAT Integrated Reasoning
GRE Subject Test in Mathematics
GRE Subject Tests
High School Business
High School Economics
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe in reaching students at their zone of proximal development. In other words, it is important to teach at a level that is tailored to each student, not too difficult -- so that they cannot grasp the material, and not too easy -- so that they are bored and not learning new material. A typical pattern I might use is: I show you a process; we work on the process together; you show me the process. As much as possible, I believe in being a "guide on the side" rather than a "sage on the stage.” It is important to ask students questions so that they can show what they know and they can tell you what they would like to learn next ... or at least show the level at which they understand the material.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would find out where they are in a given subject and what they would like to learn or need to learn in order to achieve their goals. To do that, I would begin to ask questions at their level to place them in their zone of proximal development. Also, as they talk/work through some of the material, I can see their work style.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I ask them questions which require them to seek the material from the text. I let them know in advance what topics we will be covering in our upcoming session so that they can explore these topics before we get together. I help them discover a genuine interest in the subject so that they are motivated to seek information for the sake of learning, rather than for the sake of a passing grade.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By renewing their interest in a subject and reminding them why they wanted to begin the course of study ... Also, "nothing succeeds like success,” so I give them opportunity to succeed, which boosts their confidence and motivation.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would present the material from another perspective, especially one that they are most familiar with. By building on what they know already, instructors can help students can take another step in the learning process. Most subjects can be approached from visual, auditory, tactile, and other sensory means so that it matches the learning style of the student.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading and reading comprehension are skills that only comes with practice. However, there are ways to study material that optimizes comprehension. For example, they might first read the first paragraph and the last paragraph to get an idea of what the reading material is about and what conclusions are reached by the author. I would also help them to ask themselves questions about the material as they are reading so that they are interacting actively rather than passively with the reading topics.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
It is important that we establish a friendly relationship so that the student feels at ease with the learning process. I ask the student about their background and their learning goals. I let them know what my approach to teaching is and make sure that we are on a common ground. We need to agree on what we will study, how long, and on our learning objectives. As we begin the course of study, I notice the student's preferred learning style. Because it is important for the student to start with a pattern of success, I start by asking questions that they are likely to answer correctly. Then I move on at their ZPD level of learning.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
By knowing the student's interests, I can position the learning in terms that they are familiar with. For example, if someone is interested in sports, I would be likely to choose a math problem that fit that interest. For example, if a ball is thrown with an initial velocity of 40 meters per second ... etc. If they have chosen this subject to be tutored in, I would help them remember the reason why they began this course of study. In any case, we can talk about the benefits of learning this subject. Also, I can begin with something that perks their interest. For example, if the subject was science, there are many science activities that can whet their appetites by giving them a "wow" experience as they observe a surprising way that nature operates.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Testing is the first technique that comes to mind. This is a tried and true way to determine what parts of the material that they do or do not understand. For example, there are practice tests for ACT or SAT that show the instructor and student what parts of the material they have grasped. However, if the learning process is interactive, with the student talking and performing as much as the instructor is, the instructor is likely to know much about the student's level of understanding even before a "formal" test is given.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I start out with questions that they can answer so that they realize that they already have some level of expertise in a subject. Then by carefully following the “I show you ... we do it together .... you show me” method, the student has the confidence that they have successfully demonstrated their skill in an area. Of course, when they do well on a test over material that they have covered, that also builds their confidence.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
You evaluate a student's needs by first letting them tell you what they expect to get out of the tutoring sessions ... how they will know that they have achieved what they hoped to achieve. Then by testing them at an appropriate level of the material, I can tell what skills they have and what skills they need to develop. The test may be written, or it may be a performance of some kind ... for example if the subject is playing a musical instrument or being able to operate a calculator. In some cases it may be appropriate to use psychometric techniques to see how they have performed against a norm or even a national standard.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I make sure that I am aware of their learning style, for example if they are more of an auditory or a visual learner. In a recent tutoring session with an economics student, I asked them to make a list of the topics that they would most like to cover before an upcoming exam. When they did so, I made a study guide based on the topics that they identified.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I make sure that they have visual stimulus materials that we can both view during the tutoring session. Sometimes it may be appropriate to use physical objects they can view. For example, when I teach conic sections, a cone serves as an object lesson. It is something that they can view from all sides and even hold in their hands. Or if I am teaching advanced Algebra, I make sure that we both have a TI-83, TI_84, or TI-86 calculator so that we can have a "hands-on" experience during our lesson.