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SALUTATION: Hi! This is Dr. Fran S., an experienced, professional, private tutor and a long time veteran of WyzAnt Tutoring. My passion is to help students, of all ages and abilities, learn, grow and succeed. Please read on to learn a bit more about me and my approach to tutoring. Then drop me a line. I would love to work with you.
EDUCATION AND WORK EXPERIENCE: I have a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Florida with a strong background in Math. I have operated my own tutoring business for one-on-one or small group tutoring for the past 15 years. Prior to starting my business, I spent 8 years working as a Senior Research Scientist for a National Company (NCASI) that did environmental research for the wood products industry. Before that, while in graduate school, I was again involved in teaching and tutoring. I taught general chemistry laboratory and discussion classes, as well as tutored NCAA athletes for the University of Florida athletics department.
THE FACTS: WHO, WHAT, AND WHERE: Currently I tutor grades 1-8 in Math and Science and tutor High School, College, and Adult students in Math, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, SAT, SAT II CHEM, ACT, FCAT, GRE, GED etc. I offer flexible scheduling, competitive rates, understandable, effective instruction, and a commitment to helping my students learn and meet their academic and/or personal goals. I have a great record of success, with most of my students improving by at least 1 or 2 letter grades and many students turning failing grades into C's, B's and even A's.
MY STYLE: I love teaching and helping students learn. My approach is friendly, encouraging and patient. I do not talk over the students head, but break things down into understandable terms and build up concepts step by step. I like to focus on problem solving as a means to learning. I first solve problems for you, then with you, and then coach you as you solve them yourself, until finally you can do them without my help.
Since every student is different and learns differently, I do not have a set "plan" that I use with all students. I observe all students, as they work, to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and I adapt my teaching methods to match the individual student's learning style.
SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS: I have experience and success working with students who have specific learning disabilities and/or ADD/ADHD. I enjoy the challenge and the reward of working with these special needs students. I have a good deal of experience working with younger students and coordinating with parents and teachers throughout the process so these very bright young men and women don't check out and slip through the cracks when they think no one is looking. I am aware that these students may take a month to learn what another student may learn in an afternoon, so I am very patient and encouraging. In addition to teaching the subject I also work hard to help these students repair their damaged self-image and develop a "positive learning mindset," this includes developing a can-do/will-try attitude, taking responsibility for participating in tutoring and in their classes, always giving their best effort, completing and turning in assignments on time.
YOUNGER STUDENTS: For my younger students, I am always available to speak to parents or teachers (at the parent's request). I also rely on parental input in determining how to best work with their child. I will stay in close contact with the parents about what we are doing in tutoring, what problems I see, what improvements I see and anything that the student may need to do between tutoring appointments to reinforce what we are learning.
DEDICATION: I have chosen tutoring as a career, not a side job to make a little extra money. I am serious about what I do and work as a professional. I take a genuine interest in my students and care about their overall success and well being. In addition to the time spent in the tutoring session, I spend whatever time it takes outside of the tutoring session to prepare properly. I am dedicated to my students' success and love to hear back from former students who have moved on and completed their programs or achieved their goals.
I have both life experience and tutoring experience with people who have ADD/ADHD. My education on working with these students draws heavily from my experiences growing up with a sister who has ADHD, my many opportunities tutoring students with ADD/ADHD and from the vast amount of literature I have studied on the subject of children, teens and adults with ADD/ADHD. I understand the struggle these students have and the fact that many have nearly given up due to constant negative feedback they have received in their educational endeavors thus far. I look at ADD/ADHD as a gift of energy and high intelligence that must be harnessed and trained to work in a world that isn’t at all geared toward accommodating these brilliant, creative minds.
For students with ADD/ADHD, I work extra hard to find ways to encourage them and reinforce all that they are doing that is good and right. I also understand that repetition is the key to learning material and am patient with them as I explain the same concepts over as many times as it takes for them to “get it.” I work to focus their attention on what we’re studying by teaching in a manner that makes them active participants in the learning process. For instance, if I need to teach a new skill to an ADD/ADHD student instead of just illustrating the method and writing down the instructions for them, I will have them write down and illustrate what I am telling them. I will frequently ask questions about what we are learning to redirect their attention and assess their level of understanding. I may also incorporate the use of colored pens to help draw their attention to important ideas and concepts, definitions or equations.
While most of my students with ADD/ADHD hate it, I insist on following a step by step approach to problem solving in math and science, even though they may be able to look at the problem and solve it in their heads by some other means. I do this because even though they have high intelligence, they often miss some of the basics of math and science that they will need later on when math and science get harder and they can’t do the problems in their heads anymore. At that point it is almost too late to take them back to the basics and build up their skills to the point where they can master the harder math and science problems.
Over all my approach to working with ADD/ADHD students is encouraging, engaging, structured (disciplined) and understanding. I am patient with their attempts to get out of doing the work, their complaints about this and that, and their sometimes stubborn refusals to do what I ask them to do. I don’t mind working around these behaviors to get to the point of real learning. I do enlist the parents to help enforce discipline and gain compliance from the students. I also use the reward system at times to help gain compliance and to encourage the students that hard work pays off. In addition to teaching them the specific subject matter, I try to interject lessons on study skills, organization, test taking skills, note taking skills and other areas that I feel the student might be weak in.
Though sometimes a challenge, I enjoy the reward of seeing these students learn and watching their grades improve over time. It is always my pleasure to work with ADD/ADHD students, fight through the obstacles, and help them succeed in their studies.
Math is a foundational language. From the simplest application of counting your money, making correct change, or counting objects, to the complexities of economics, business accounting, astronomy and quantum physics, math can be used to describe the world, our actions, and the universe. Underlying almost any discipline is a mathematical foundation which is used to characterize, quantify, predict and depict the world, the cosmos and even the behaviors of humans and animals.
In today's increasingly technological world the old cry "I'll never use this stuff" isn't true anymore for most people. Apart from the apparent value of math in our everyday life, learning math is critical for its value in training the mind to think rationally and logically, and to develop important neural pathways critical to problem solving abilities in all areas of life. Math trains a mind how to think and apply that thinking to problems.
Algebra is a gateway mathematical discipline. Algebra is essential for the student who will go on to take higher level math topics such as precalculus, calculus, differential equations, etc. All of these higher math subjects require a firm grasp of algebra. For those who won't take these higher math topics, algebra is still important for everyday practical matters such as how much will I make if I sell x objects at $2 each? What is my profit if each object cost me $0.15 to make? Or how much per ounce is the 12 oz size versus the 32 oz size?
Understanding how important Algebra is, I help students learn how to think through and solve problems by breaking the problems down into small manageable steps that when applied will lead to a final solution. I also help students grasp abstract and confusing topics by giving concrete and tangible analogies. I use colors and pictures and clear understandable language to show the student how to do each math skill. I work with the student on writing down and showing their steps in an organized manner to help them not to get lost or confused in the problem and to help them avoid careless mistakes. At the end of each session I send each student home with a set of notes from the session that I encourage the students to keep in a binder so they can remember what I told them later when they are working at home. I encourage students to work problems as a means of learning. Math is not a spectator subject. No matter how well the student "understands" when I show them how to do a problem, they haven't really learned until they can do multiple similar problems on their own.
Finally I am very patient and encouraging through this process. Sometimes the biggest barrier to learning is the low confidence and high fear that many students have when it comes to math. I work to let students have small successes leading up to bigger successes to help them over come the confidence/fear barrier to success. I assure students that they will not be criticized, chastised or laughed at for making mistakes. I create a safe atmosphere for learning. I know there are some that just don't have an innate aptitude for mathematical thinking. However, if taught patiently these students can learn math and do well in their math classes. I also work with students who have ADHD, ADD, or learning disabilities. These students may have to put in more effort, but if they are willing to work with me they too can be successful at algebra.
Chemistry is one of the fundamental, foundational, physical sciences. Chemical elements are the building blocks for everything that exists in our world and throughout the universe. No wonder the subject of chemistry is complex and often difficult to understand.
I help students master this difficult subject by breaking down difficult concepts into understandable, everyday English. Using examples, analogies, visual images and 3D models, I patiently and clearly lead students step by step to an understanding of the concepts and the ability to do calculations and solve problems correctly.
Chemistry is a subject that requires special study skills for mastery. Simply going to class and reading the text book will not be sufficient to succeed in this class. I teach students how to most effectively study Chemistry and prepare for exams and quizzes. The study skills learned here will see them through future science classes as well as in their study of Chemistry.
I have a Ph.D. in Chemistry and over 15 years of tutoring experience at the high school and college level. I truly enjoy helping students succeed in their study of Chemistry. I know many students don't like the subject and are quite stressed by the class, so I try to maintain a friendly, relaxing, positive, encouraging atmosphere. While the student may never think of Chemistry as fun, I do hope to assure that their experience with Chemistry is not unpleasant.
So please allow me to join with you on your journey through Chemistry and I'll show you the way through.
In addition to general chemistry, I tutor Organic Chemistry. I have a Ph.D. in Chemistry and have taken Organic 1 and 2, Advanced Organic Chemistry, and Graduate level Advanced Organic Chemistry. I have 12 years experience tutoring Organic Chemistry 1 and 2 and have been able to help many students make it through the maze of Organic functional groups, their compounds, reaction types, mechanisms, synthesis etc. In addition I use models to help students understand and visualize the geometric structure of organic compounds as well as distinguish among conformers, stereoisomers, enantiomers, etc.
In Organic Chemistry 2, I help students understand how to read and interpret instrumental outputs, such as NMR, IR, and GC, which provide information that helps identify unknown organic molecules. Organic 2 also steps up the pace of learning reaction types and focuses heavily on multistep syntheses of compounds.
The key to learning Organic Chemistry is to learn in an organized systematic manner focusing on the logical progression of reactions based on the principles of Coulombic attractions, thermodynamics and kinetics to predict the outcomes of reactions. While memorization is required, learning by this systematic approach minimizes the amount of material that must be committed to memory. Using this principle and helping with the organization of large amounts of material, I am able to help students succeed in their Organic Chemistry Courses.
I took piano lesson from the age of 10 until I was 18, a total of 8 years with a private instructor. During those years I became proficient at the piano, in reading piano music, and in basic and intermediate music theory. I played the frequently, mostly for personal enjoyment, and kept up my skills. I ended my private lessons in the summer of 1979 when I graduated high school. Also, in the 7th grade I joined the school concert and marching band and learned to play the trumpet. I continued in the band until I graduated and also joined our "Jazz" band which was of the Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington "Big Band" era style. In band I learned much more theory and also learned more about chords and harmonies and counting and timing especially playing syncopated style music. I was a very good trumpet player and usually sat 1st or 2nd chair.
After graduation, As an undergraduate in college I took a one semester course in music theory and also a one semester piano course, which was basically graded private lessons with a piano music professor, with a "recital" of your accomplishments before a 3 judge panel of music professors who critiqued your performance. I got a B in that course. As for the trumpet, in my first two years of college, I played trumpet in the Pep Band that played at sports events and was also the lead trumpet in a dance band that the school had.
Throughout graduate school I checked out a piano room at the university so that I could go and play the piano now and then and keep in practice somewhat.
Fast forward about 6 years: it is now around 1991 and I have finally finished graduate school and for the first time I put my piano playing skills to public use by playing in our churches contemporary worship band. Here I developed the ability to put the chord theory I had leaned into action as I was called upon to play from chord sheets not written music and to improvise solos and most of what was needed from the piano plus I had the fun of adding in keyboard effects and really creating music for the first time. I didn't learn this all at once, but grew into it over a few years and ended up playing with the band for 5 or 6 years before for health reasons I had to bow out.
So of my musical qualifications as a teacher or tutor:
I believe my background qualifies me as an introductory or beginner music teacher. What prompted me to try to add piano to my subject list was a tutor request for just that. A mother wanted a beginner teacher for her child. I would fit the bill for parents who have kids they want to just learn the basics and see if they want to invest in long term expensive Expert instruction. I can also fit for students that have little or no knowledge of music or music theory and are taking a beginning college class or high school class.
With my skills, experience, education, and knowledge, there is a legitimate teaching role for me for the beginning musician or for a more seasoned musician who just wants some one to transpose and copy down music for him/her. I can't imagine all the scenarios. I saw none until I saw that post today. I would not offer myself as an Expert Piano teacher who could train your child to be a virtuoso, but I'd like the opportunity to seize the opportunities that are appropriate for me.
Great Tutor! — Fran was my Chemistry tutor for a few months. She was great! She was very good at explaining things in detail and in multiple ways. She was also very patient with me and continued to explain things until I felt comfortable with the material and had a good understanding. I would definitely recommend her to anyone who is seeking a kind, patient, and overall wonderful tutor. ...
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