I am a former physics teacher at an elite private school in Virginia, and I have been tutoring on and off in the years since I left this job. I am now a Ph.D. student at Boston College, where I continue to teach classes and work with students one-on-one. I am a patient and encouraging teacher, and am used to helping students who are struggling in a subject that, besides being inherently difficult, does not come naturally to them. My work as a high school teacher in particular has given me a rare opportunity to develop a pedagogy suited for struggling math and physics students, for I taught an intensive ninth grade physics course (typically physics isn't taught until eleventh grade) that doubled as a study-skills course. Nearly all of the students struggled with the course, and it was my responsibility to help them adapt to a new level of academic rigor.
As a result of this experience, my teaching philosophy places great emphasis on active learning. I have found with great consistency that students do not learn primarily by hearing explanations. This is especially true in the hard sciences and in math, both of which are skill-intensive. As such, I make sure that all teaching occurs in the context of an activity of some kind. Typically this involves having students work on problems relevant to the material they are studying. I make sure that students do as much as possible on their own, and I take on for myself the role as a guide rather than simply an instructor. I use many examples and problems, starting with easy ones and working up to harder ones. As they progress I help them see how these particular examples and problems fit into the big ideas they are studying.
I have also found that study skills and organization play a large role in students' academic success, and that certain study techniques are particularly useful for math and physics. I like to check my students' notebooks and give them guidelines for note-taking and studying. Here too I stress active learning, and my goal is usually to get my students to study by challenging themselves with problems rather than simply reading over their text, notes, and previous work.
If you are in need of assistance for a student struggling in Physics or Math, I am the man for you. I tutor all levels of High School Physics and Math, including AP levels (both B and C for physics, and AB and BC for calculus). I live in Brighton, and I am willing to travel a few miles to meet students at their home or at any convenient location of their choosing. We can also meet at Boston College. My rate is $60/hr.
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