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I recently graduated from Hamilton College-a small liberal arts school in central NY-with a Hispanic Studies major and a minor in mathematics.
The question I am most frequently asked is "why math?". It's true that the majority of the American population does not understand math, they choose to close their mind to it before giving it a chance. But the truth is that math is in everything-you can't avoid it. Look at the lottery-your chances of winning can be explained by probability theory. Every time you go to the grocery store you use math, whether you choose to see it or not. Simple things like the way you solve a rubik's cube, or even the migrating patterns of birds, can be explained by math. So to say you don't like math is to say you don't like anything-because math is in everything!
Originally I was a computer science minor as well, which always left people asking me-why computer science? The answer: math is really difficult-computers make my life a lot easier! I wanted to further understand how they work, so I took some introductory comp sci classes and loved them. A few summers ago I combined the two and did computer research at Hamilton-conducting experiments to see how much a user trusts their computer, and then using statistics to analyze the data from the experiments.
And lastly, why Spanish, you ask. A lot of computer scientists and mathematicians are not very passionate about their subject or their work, or think they are too enlightened to talk to you about it. This is one of my pet peeves. Spanish is completely different-everyone who majors in Hispanic Studies is very passionate about all things Hispanic-the culture, the language, the dancing, the food, etc. I find that I share this passion, and it's refreshing to be around people that do more than just crunch numbers all day! I also spent a semester in Madrid, Spain in an immersion program which did nothing but increase my knowledge of, and love for, the Spanish people and language.
To round things out, I love music. I've taken piano and trumpet lessons since the 4th grade (for those of you counting that's 13 years). I find that music takes me to a place where nothing else can bring me. It clears my head, relieves stress, and is just all around good for the soul.
I fully believe in the essence of a liberal arts education-that to be well rounded, intelligent citizens we need a core basis in both the arts and the sciences, and that's something I strive for each day!
I think algebra is the part of math that most befuddles people. You get equations like x+y=5,or y+z=8, and your brain just goes in to panic mode. "Those aren't all numbers!" Is what your mind is thinking, and you become immediately discouraged. But if you think of these problems as puzzles rather than headaches, and learn the technique (which is quite similar for all basic equations), then your brain calms down, and your heart stops racing. I've worked with a number of students in algebra 1 at a variety of ages (from middle school to GED students) and love this subject. I have tutored students in this subject who have IEP's as well as students who wanted to ace every exam and really master the material, all with great success.
In addition to having scored a 100 on the NYS regents exam in this subject, during the 2012-2013 school year I worked as a home school math teacher/tutor for a student who used the Saxon curriculum, so this material is extremely fresh in my mind. I am intimately familiar with the NYS regents curriculum in this subject, and have had great success preparing students for that exam. Furthermore, I am currently also tutoring algebra 2 students in private schools such as Horace Mann, Riverdale Country, and Fieldston Ethical school, so I am aware of the challenge that the private school curriculum poses.
Geometry is one of those subjects that people either love or hate. Most of the time when you mention geometry, people sigh and say "I hate proofs." To combat this, I bring logic puzzles and Sudoku problems to kids to show them the applications of the proofs they are learning. I do a lot of hands on activities, with measuring tapes and colored pencils, to show students the real world applications. Last year I coached 6 geometry students to success on the NYS regents exam, with the worst score being an 83. Additionally, I am currently working as a home-school geometry teacher/tutor so I am also familiar with the private school expectations.
From the age of 9 until the age of 17, I took piano lessons with a teacher who really focused on the fundamentals of music theory as well as general piano instruction. Through these lessons I learned a great deal about music theory, and my knowledge was further expanded during my time at Hamilton College. In college I continued to take private instrumental lessons, and also took many classes on music theory. I equate music theory to the study of English literature, because many people who love reading simply hate grammar and syntax, which is basically what music theory is for music. Once you understand the underlying concepts, it becomes truly fascinating how complex music actually is.
Although it's been a while since I've taken prealgebra, algebra is the part of math I love the most-I love solving equations. The aha moment after figuring out the puzzle is pretty awesome once you get the knack of it!
Over the past three years I have worked with various students from grade 5 to grade 8 on prealgebra material and greatly enjoyed it. A lot of these students came to me completely lost and frustrated by the material but after working with me for even a few weeks gained confidence in themselves and their abilities. By the end of the school year these students always make remarkable improvements, and I still work with most of them.
Over the past two years I have worked with around 30 high school students, helping them to prepare for Regents examinations. My experience has mostly been helping students prepare for Math and Spanish exams, but I also have some experience with global history, US History, and English.
In 2013 I coached students to success on algebra 1, geometry, and integrated algebra 2/trigonometry regents, with the lowest student's score being an 81.
As I went to a public high school in New York State, I also took the regents, with my scores being: 100 on Math A, 100 on Math B, 97 on Global History, 99 in US History, 98 in Spanish, 96 in English, 92 in Earth Science, 94 in Biology, 83 in Chemistry, and 85 in Physics. While these exams have changed a little since I took them, I remain up-to-date on curriculum changes, and expect success from all of my students!
Throughout the years I have tutored various students in SAT math. Most of these students come to me having scored around a 500 on the math section on their first try, although a few were a little lower, and a few a little higher. After working with me each student increased their score by at least 100 points, but usually more. One student I worked with scored a 740 on the math section after two months of working with me. By focusing on strategies to tackle the hard problems, and eliminate crazy answer choices I help students achieve success on the math portion of the SAT.
My junior year of college I had the opportunity to study abroad in Madrid, Spain, in an immersion program where my Spanish improved drastically. This program also further instilled in me a love for the Spanish people and their culture. I absolutely love Spanish, but as a student who has studied other languages (namely Arabic) which do not come easily, I completely understand the frustration that comes with learning a foreign language.
My senior year of high school I took AP Statistics and became absolutely intrigued by the idea that math could be manipulated in such strange ways. People just plug numbers in to equations and report them as if they were "statistics." The problem with this is that they lack the analysis part of the equation.
In college I further studied statistics, taking both beginner and advanced statistics/probability, and completed a summer research project where my job was to do the statistics on our research (which resulted in 2 publications).
Over the past two years I have worked with numerous students of varying ages helping them understand the intricacies and analyses of stats, and love doing so!
In high school my trig teacher was a French major in college, who actually hated math and made my learning experience absolutely miserable. So I definitely understand the frustration that goes with this subject. That being said, I managed to teach myself the large majority of the material, and ace the Math B Regents! I would love to improve any student's experience with that course, because it is quite interesting once you get it!
Wonderful tutor — Rachel is a wonderful tutor who has greatly helped my son succeed in his Spanish class. I especially like her calm demeanor and her easy going style. I find her to be engaging, well prepared, and flexible with her time. I'm very grateful for having Rachel as my son's tutor. Thanks Rachel! ...
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