Hello reader. My name is Wesley, and I greatly enjoy teaching. I have long been of the opinion that one of the more wonderful things in life is to see the glimmer of understanding dawn in the eyes of a client. I take great joy every time I see a client begin to comprehend subject matter with proficiency, and I believe every client has the fundamental right to feeling confident about his or her abilities as the learning process occurs. I encourage my clients, and indicate to them through time how they have improved. I feel strongly that a knowledgeable and capable client can still perform poorly on exams if the confidence is not there; positive reinforcement of increasing control over subject matter increases the likelihood of better performance. And at the end of the day, my goal is to see my clients not only understand the subject matter, but also perform well in the class.
When it comes to teaching, I have a great deal of experience, particularly upon the subjects of chemistry, biology and biochemistry. My experience has been acquired first-hand, from many years working as a Teaching Assistant and Assistant Instructor at UC Davis, and from my own private tutoring work. The general knowledge required as background for my degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology have included significant and lengthy applications of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, and physics. My aptitude for learning and voracious appetite for knowledge have driven my continual renewal of these subjects, particularly with regards to practical applications both in my professional and personal lives. At an early age, I began utilizing computers as an effective tools to enhance my performance in education and the workplace. I've also delved into computer usage in my personal life for entertainment and communication.
I have always had a strong affinity for biology, chemistry and biochemistry -- obtaining high marks in the two former topics in high school. Even as a teenager, my peers were quick to seek my assistance in learning the material. My first tutoring experiences began at the age of 15 in my sophomore year of high school, where I was hired to tutor several classmates in chemistry. I graduated top of my class from high school and then completed a Bachelor's of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UC Santa Cruz, where again I was hired by classmates to tutor them in chemistry, biology, biochemistry, calculus and physics.
From UC Santa Cruz, I moved northward to pursue a PhD at UC Davis in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. At UC Davis, I have worked quite frequently as a Teaching Assistant for general biology courses, general chemistry courses, and the upper division biochemistry courses. From my interaction with students in this capacity, I have been overwhelmed with requests for extra office hours and review sessions. In previous years, students have attributed their survival or excellent performance in numerous cases directly to my office hours and review sessions. I have had many former students become clients later on. I have also been hired by clients to assist in studying for the MCAT, the Biochemistry Subject-specific GRE, and the California Subject Exam for Teachers in Biology. Having taken numerous required standardized tests, studied for these tests, and later helped clients prepare for such standardized tests: I have become familiar not only with the subject matter (as explained above and in later portions of this series of paragraphs), but also with strategies for success.
My primary approach to teaching has always been to to assist the student in truly learning the subject matter, rather than purely memorizing the material. As undoubtedly many of you already likely know from experience: memorization generally results in (at best) short-term retention of information and does not usually result in high performance on exams. If the student is able to learn the actual material, student attains the ability to apply information in many varying circumstances. Actual learning means actual comprehension (actual understanding). This requires the student to build a mental framework by which the subject matter can be approached, deciphered, deconstructed, and finally correctly applied to arrive at the correct answer (per each homework or exam question). This arises from the recognition of the actual question and the understanding of how to approach it.
Though at first my tendency to ask the student questions in response to a question can frustrate a student and can be mis-perceived as merely confounding the situation -- the questions I ask are specifically-tailored to guide the student's thought process toward the understanding of how to solve a problem or answer a question. I have found that this approach combined with effective analogies can significantly improve a student's understanding of material. In gaining this understanding, the student does not merely learn how to leap behind hoops, but gains the agility of mind to grasp the question and construct a response appropriate to the scenario. In other words, I believe that I do not teach so much as guide a client toward mastery of a subject. Another way of stating this is: I teach the client to teach him or herself the material. It is possible to gain not only comprehension of the subject I am tutoring a client in, but also for a client to learn more general methods by which to learn.
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