Michael’s current tutoring subjects are listed at the left. You
can read more about
Michael’s qualifications in specific subjects below.
The hardest part of most math problems is figuring out where to begin. I like to help students recognize their beginning point. After that, it's just a matter of following the steps.
I specialized in early American history during college. I took two survey courses in the American history sequence (covering colonial to modern history). I took in-depth courses on the following time periods: colonial (2 courses), revolutionary (2 courses), Civil War, late 1800s, and the history of American technology.
Though I didn't officially minor in biology, I have several college credits in the subject area. My coursework included the introductory sequence (with labs), ecology, animal physiology, a two-semester human physiology sequence (with labs), and the related areas of general chemistry, organic chemistry, statistics, and physics. I also have basic familiarity with genetics and microbiology. I teach college-level physical geography that includes about eight lectures on the biosphere. While the focus is predominantly ecological, we do explore basic genetics, evolutionary theory, cellular structure/function, and biochemistry as a part of the course content.
I have a master's degree in education with an emphasis on student affairs and college administration. I have worked in student affairs positions at three different post-secondary institutions (University of Pittsburgh, Drexel, Widener) and have over seven total years experience working directly with college students. My master's program required one course that explored subjects like college admissions process, why students select certain schools, background characteristics that imply college success, and the college decision process for minority students. I believe in asking a student to clearly think about what they want in a school while simultaneously consider the realistic expense of many colleges. I paid for my own education so I have a good understanding of what types of scholarships and grants are available and how to navigate the federal financial aid process.
During the course of my major in American history, I took several courses on the related area of western Europe. I had a survey course in western civilization (covering Europe from 1715 through the early 1950s), ancient Rome, ancient Greece, and a history of British-American relations. I also took a course in Soviet Russia.
I have a master's degree in geography with a specialization in economic and urban geography. I'm currently a doctoral student at the University of Maryland. My area of specialization is the mixture of human geography (places, capitals, economics, transportation, etc.) with physical geography (climate, agriculture, ecosystems, forestry, etc.).
I teach a college-level course on physical geography, a fancy way to say earth science. Topics include rocks, earthquakes, volcanoes, weathering and erosion, soil formation, and plate tectonics. I find the hardest part to learning geology is memorizing the many vocabulary words that are often brand-new to students. I like to use pictures to illustrate how things differ and to reinforce learning of concepts. Through time, and multiple images, students start to recognize the geological features and become familiar with the vocabulary. The science part follows naturally.
I believe the best way to learn grammar is through practice. Few schools teach sentence diagramming these days so I start by showing my students how to break the sentence down into its pieces. It's a lot easier to recognize the subject/predicate when you see them on a diagram.
I have several college credits in Spanish, including courses in grammar, composition, history/culture, and conversation. All of these classes were taught in Spanish only. I have taught intermediate Spanish with the Upward Bound program. I have tutored Spanish at the middle school, high school, and college level. My approach to grammar emphasizes the relationship between English and Spanish so that students learn the new information in a way that is familiar to them already. For younger students, I believe using the vocabulary in a correct manner, recognizing patterns and improving comprehension, is more important than drilling grammar. For older students with a stronger grasp on English, I emphasize grammar and use the vocabulary drills to reinforce grammar concepts. Reading, writing, and oral practice is important at all levels.
I have completed two master's degrees with a thesis option. I wrote my first thesis (in education, 54 pages) using APA style. I have also edited a book for APA conformity. I wrote my second thesis (in geography, 106 pages) using Chicago Manual. I have lots of experience navigating the intricacies of style guides and have an adept eye for catching details.
In addition to my knowledge of citations, reference styles, and general paper guidelines, I have an excellent command of grammar and punctuation rules. My spelling is superb. I know how to write a variety of sentence structures (especially ones that avoid using the passive voice) and can easily help you to improve your writing through careful word choice and sentence variety.