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I have been teaching physics, chemistry, and math of various levels for 10 years. I also have been tutoring since my own college years for nearly 20 years.
I like helping my students find the ways to learn and become independent learners and thinkers. I like finding out what drives a student to study and succeed in learning.
With this said, I strongly believe that everybody should have a sound understanding of how our physical world works. And this is PHYSICS!
Certainly, mathematics, the language of physics, is to be mastered to appreciate the power of knowledge of physical laws. This lets anyone learn and appreciate things as tiny as atoms and as huge as the whole universe.
With test preps, I emphasize the importance of understanding. Still, I show how to quickly find the correct answer in circumstances when knowledge of the topics is not very strong and there is an issue of time.
I also go over some psychological aspects of preparing for a test, taking a test, and post-test. A lot depends on how a student is emotionally prepared to handle the stress of taking a test.
In Physics and Chemistry (to some extent in Astronomy) I use conceptual approach, analogies, and all kinds of silly situations, which help reveal student's misconceptions and help understand the correct concepts.
In math, I encourage students to apply math to real world examples and use techniques that simplify and shorten solutions of the problems.
Finally, teaching and learning is a two-way street. If I do all in power and go out of my way to help a student, and the student does not apply himself/herself (after a given introductory period) then I have to call it quits. I am willing to concentrate my efforts on students who are willing to learn and achieve good results rather then becoming a family consultant.
P.S. I try not be involved in "emergency" tutoring as it is usually waste of both time and money. Only in special circumstances when a student knows the basic material and needs a little help to review I may agree to assist during one or two sessions before the exam.
P.P.S. I would like to look at my work with my students as a project, which I want to plan, build, and see the results of. In this respect long-term steady work is more beneficial to me and my students as we all get the best and consistent results from learning.
In Chemistry the main idea that students have to understand is how atoms exchange electrons and why. This leads to understanding of how chemical bonds are formed. This way students will learn to appreciate properties of matter. e.g. why water is transparent and why a mirror reflects light; why things have color and taste; why glass is brittle and metals are malleable.
Second major part comes from understanding of periodic law and ability to predict general physical and chemical properties of elemental chemicals and compounds.
And finally, math used in Chemistry includes simple proportions, simple math operations, and solving for unknowns in linear equations.
As it would be difficult to tutor without chemical demos certain animations and videos can be used. I do some safe demos to help visualize and experience chemical reactions whenever it is possible. There is a whole range of chemical reactions that can be demonstrated in-house with household chemical if there is such a necessity.
I use a lot of models and analogies that help explain some abstract concepts and help visualize tiniest atoms and molecules and their interactions.
Finally, I encourage students to work on additional assignments to enhance their experience and strengthen their problem-solving skills; learn to assess their own work; correct mistakes; understand rather than memorize.
1. Introductory Physics generally aimed at middle schoolers or even elementary to help them develop correct and robust conceptual understanding of physical science.
2. Regents physics: for high school, some 8-th grade students; same level works for mandatory science credit for non-science majors.
3. Advanced Placement B and C levels. Usually people know what these stand for.
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