Does your child hate math? This is the refrain I hear most from new students. They hate math, they don’t want to do it, and they spend hours studying and get nowhere. Grades begin to slip and they're not exactly sure what their teachers are saying or even how to get on the right track.
Fortunately, most kids don’t really hate math, they hate being intimidated, feeling embarrassment, and not having a clear idea of what exactly they are doing and why it is important. It is quite natural to hate something that you think is pointless and makes you feel so terrible. This is a demotivating spiral that can be fixed over time as students learn why and how. They learn math is applicable and that there are strategies to learning and studying math. Students in this place feel empowered and accomplished.
Mastery of math leads to love of math.
I have a lot of the same credentials and attributes as other tutors- merit scholarship to Georgia Tech, over 7 years of experience, fabulous grades, patient, knowledgeable, and supportive. I am comfortable one on one and in groups. I often teach homeschool, and since I am a full time tutor, I teach pretty much all day. However, my goals and methods are a bit different from other tutors you may find.
My goal is that students learn how to go about the process of understanding math, how to find their own answers and how to study. I routinely have students each semester who do extremely well and “graduate” from my services. While I am sad to see them go, ultimately it is best for them to be independent and not need a tutor anymore.
The other thing I do well is identifying knowledge gaps. Students, especially really smart ones, can get astonishingly far in math even if they skip a few fundamentals because they can compensate with other skills. The problem is every new concept needs to build on previous knowledge. Eventually a problem or concept surfaces where that missing link creates a huge obstacle (this usually happens in pre-calculus or trigonometry, or if you are lucky your first calculus class). However, these sorts of problems are easily resolved if identified before your math grade is beyond repair. If the real reason you are failing Calculus is because you don't really get word problems or reciprocals I will find it.
I also teach students a system for studying math- not just running through problem after problem for hours. Students who use this method consistently for 6 months get better grades and spend less time studying.
I teach students (and to some extent parents) how to get the most out of resources they already have. Teachers are amazing and they usually care very much about the student’s academic progress. They want students to do well. Often that means they can move the student’s assigned seat, allow test taking in a less distracted environment, permit recovery tests, and allow motivated students to do an extra credit project.
I can tell you I am not the tutor for everyone, but I do have a significant success rate over time for the students who stick with me. Here are some of the highlights for the last year:
-I helped a homeschooling student get back on track for math after he tested two years behind- he is now two years ahead and scored very well on his ACT for college.
-I helped a student who had never received an A grade on a math test or achieved above a C for the class as a whole earn a B for the semester and get 2 test grades above a 95.
-I have tutored multiple students on their SATs- many receiving above a 100-point increase, one receiving a 206-point increase.
-I helped a nontraditional student excel in a survey of math class (his last class before graduation and only math class) by teaching him to put all the linear problems into the matrix format that he uses all the time at work.
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Ashley's subjects
Geometry
Geometry is such a fun math topic - it is intuitive, practical and physical. It is easy to see why the theories work if you break them down and use a lot of practical examples. Unfortunately, the reason students hate geometry is proofs. You have to memorize a lot of vocabulary and get used to math terminology like theta, subtend and pythagorean. I can help make the terminology less scary and show students systems for solving proofs.
Prealgebra
Prealgebra can be a very challenging subject for students. Often this is the first time variables are introduced and honestly seeing letters in math is quite threatening. Also, fractions are reintroduced and proportions build on that knowledge-subjects most students struggle with through high school. I am excellent at helping students understand the meaning of a variable and why they are useful. I can also break down difficult concepts such as proportions and help them understand why learning...
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Precalculus
Precalculus is the subject I teach the most frequently, and it is also the one that is most difficult to teach well. While it depends on the student, generally explaining trigonometric functions in terms of geometry or basic algebra helps significantly. Also, I currently have 3 precalculus students all of whom have increased their scores by an entire letter grade.
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