I am a passionate mathematician with over ten years teaching experience with courses ranging from developmental mathematics to differential equations. I have taught undergraduate courses such as statistics, calculus, multivariate calculus, business calculus, linear algebra and differential equations. I have taught courses in college algebra, pre-calculus, survey of mathematics, mathematical modeling and high school algebra courses. My expertise lie in applied mathematics, specifically numerical analysis and my primary field of interest is stochastic differential equations.
Some personal hobbies of mine are spending time with my children, weight training, playing the guitar and creative writing. I also enjoy writing programs for the TI-83/84 family of calculators and creating instructional videos for my YouTube page.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Appalachian State University - Bachelors, Mathematics
Graduate Degree: Appalachian State University - Masters, Mathematics
Playing guitar, weight training, creative writing
Elementary School Math
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
In the beginning I would do more of the guiding through process with problems and helping to understand the language. As the tutoring continues, I would be asking them to guide me through problems, essentially teaching me how they approach problems.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session I would introduce myself and ask the student to do the same. Afterwards, I would have the student tell me a little bit about the class, specifically the topic, the atmosphere and how well they are getting along in the course. After a couple minutes of gaining familiarity with the student and the course topics, I would describe my style and approach to help the student understand why I conduct a session in the manner I do.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would remind them of immediate and long-term goals as well as try to supply reasons as to why having this understanding is important to their career choice. I would praise their successes and encourage them to continue trying when things are not going so well.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would first have the student describe to me their understanding of the material to see if we can pinpoint exactly where difficulty or misunderstandings begin. If they really were stuck on a topic, I would take them back a couple steps and try to demonstrate the transition to the new topic from topics with which they are more familiar and confident.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Strategies I have found successful are patience, listening, letting the student explore their own methods rather than trying to teach them the way I learned the topic, and establishing relevance to what they are studying. It doesn't have to be something they are specifically interested in, but the fact that such topics are used outside of academics is often enough to convince them it does hold a certain degree of importance.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would attempt to connect the concept with one they are interested in either by an actual demonstration or some other interesting facet that uses the tools developed in the class.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Usually I would open with a couple questions to the student. If they were doing well, I would generally assign practice problems ranging from vocabulary, basic skills to applications building their foundation along the way. A practice test or other assessment is something I would do if the student requests it or if I feel the student could benefit from such a technique.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Confidence comes from success primarily, so the more success I can provide for them, the more confident they will be. This can be accomplished in an assortment of ways. Practice problems, and quizzes are one way, but having a discussion about how to apply a procedure is another. I use any and all tools available to me to try to build a student's confidence.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I first listen to what the student's goals are and note them. I then use an assessment (conversation, practice problems, etc.) to get a starting point to help see what the foundation is for the student. I then focus my efforts on filling in any holes in their foundation first to make sure this is solid. Finally I build on this foundation.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I try to understand how a student best learns mathematics. After I implement one technique I ask the student if that works for them. Based on their answer, we proceed with that technique or adjust to a new technique until a suitable one is found. Interaction is key to discovering student's needs.
What is your teaching philosophy?
Teaching is as much an art as a science. Effective teaching involves many variables. First, the guidelines stated by the institution and the department, second, the instructor.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Usually a white board or paper and pencil. For online tutoring I usually have PowerPoint slideshows or notes prepared and available to the student so they may view the materials as we proceed. These materials usually include several examples worked out in detail, vocabulary so the fluency with the language may also be attained and graphics or animations as required.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I converse with them. I ask questions, like: 1) "What do you think is happening in the passage you just read?", 2) "Were there behaviors that were repeated in the story by the same character?", 3) "What can you tell me about Character X?", 4) "What does this part of the story suggest?", and other questions similar to these. Then I go through these answers and point out anything that may be lacking in their response. After we adjust their responses I try to guide them through a connection phase so they can weave these ideas together to have a complete idea with the passage.