When I started college, I was fortunate enough to have a dedicated calculus professor that understood that many of his students could really be great at math; they just needed some work on fundamentals. With every calculus lecture there was a review of the underlying algebra, geometry and trigonometry fundamentals necessary to do the calculus. In addition, this professor was always available to his students after class and through extended office hours. This dedicated professor made all the difference for my classmates and me. I went on to achieve a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering with High Honor from Northeastern University, a Master of Science in Engineering from Columbia University, and a Master of Business Administration from New York University. I had a very successful career as an engineering and software entrepreneur.
Several years ago, I started tutoring math and physics on a volunteer basis. In my tutoring, I applied the methods used by my old professor to help students through difficulties with math and science courses. In my experience, difficulties most students had with higher-level math were due to difficulties with the basics of algebra and trigonometry. Once these difficulties are addressed, the light comes on, confidence builds, and the student is very successful. As I work through math problems with students, I always look for issues with the fundamentals and make sure the student has a solid foundation for what he or she is doing. In my own way, I try to apply the same dedication to my tutoring that my professor applied to his teaching.
I also embrace technology. While it is absolutely necessary to be able to do math and science without relying on technology, I have found that modern graphing calculators and Internet learning resources are excellent tools. When students take advantage of the technology that’s available, they can experiment with math and science concepts and get instant feedback. They rapidly get a “feel” for the concepts they are trying to master.
back to top