I currently teach college mathematics at a private university. I am a favorite of both my high achieving students and my students who are having trouble. I try to make math interesting (it actually is) and I truly care about my students. Helping students who do not grasp the material quickly and getting them to understand is the most rewarding thing I do. I believe that all students can master mathematics and usually find that there is either some underlying but simple problem that needs to be overcome and the student will succeed. Often, a failure to fully understand some basic arithmetic or a lack of sufficent repetitions of the assigned material material is the cause of a problem. Both can be overcome with some extra work and understanding.
Higher level mathematics is simply elegant extensions of the fundamental principals we learned in lower level mathematics. Some of the symbols may look difficult, but beyond that and as in learning a language, familiarity through repetition and immersion makes it second nature.
Undergraduate Degree: United States Naval Academy - Bachelors, Naval Architecture
Graduate Degree: University of Virginia-Main Campus - Masters, Business Administration and Management
SAT Math: 700
GRE Quantitative: 770
Golf, sailing and reading
What is your teaching philosophy?
All students can learn mathematics. Often there is an underlying issue that is the problem which once identified can be easily overcome. Learning math is like learning a language; immersion, repetition and familiarity are the key.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would have the student demonstrate their proficiency in a current assignment, quiz or exam. Using that exercise I would assess the student’s strengths and weaknesses and proceed from there.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Throughout my teaching process I will have the student demonstrate their own skills in problem solving. During each such example, I encourage the student by pointing out their own innate ability to solve problems and thereby encourage them to continue this process independently.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
From childhood into our adult lives we all like to do well and to feel proud of our achievements and abilities. Often in mathematics a student will underestimate his or her own ability. I encourage them to recognize their own skills and to have confidence in their own intelligence. I like to reinforce this by continually pointing out achievement. After all, we usually gravitate to do what we do well.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I drill down and focus on the root cause. Often a student understands the new and more difficult concept that is being introduced, but is unable to perform the required problem-solving task due to some underlying deficiency. I find the real problem and focus my efforts on it.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I have them read, then explain what they read. We then discuss this and then drill down into each and every word. We then repeat the process until understanding is achieved.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I have them do work for me, which serves as an assessment tool upon which I can start to build.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
First, after assessing their skills, I'd offer them encouragement about their abilities. Then I would share with them fun and exciting things about the subject. Finally, I would go about improving and then rewarding their advances in the subject matter.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I ensure that the student continually participates in and demonstrates both new and old concepts. In that way I am constantly reevaluating progress and understanding, and slow down or speed up the teaching process accordingly.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I reward achievement and praise understanding, no matter how great or small. I try to constantly let the student know that he/she is progressing, and I strive to make sure they understand their accomplishments.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
By constantly having them participate in the problem solving and assessing their progress minute by minute through the tutoring session.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
As I constantly monitor and evaluate progress and understanding, I slow down, speed up or go back to a previous lesson so that the lesson is tailor-made for the individual student and is refitted continuously.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I usually focus on the homework, quiz, exam and text material that the student is pursuing. As needed, I may create problem sets or review material on the spot to clarify a concept or create a better understanding.