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Anyone can provide a student with instruction.
To lead someone down a predefined path does not require any great skill.
But to educate someone, to point out connections between seemingly disparate data and elucidate complex concepts, to explain the 'why' of things and inspire novel ideas, to spark and fan the flames of enlightenment and self-determination, to assist a person in learning how to think for themselves, to teach, this takes someone exceptional: someone who is in love with learning, someone dedicated not only to the attainment of knowledge, but to the understanding that underlies wisdom, someone with a desire to contribute to the betterment of a society by encouraging the betterment of its individuals.
H. L. Mencken was wrong. Teachers are not those who cannot 'do', they are those who could do for themselves, yet choose to apply their ability to something greater than their own self-interest.
I have witnessed the truth of this assertion over the course of my own education.
Fortunately, I have found myself under the tutelage of some truly exceptional educators: teachers who imbued their lessons and lectures with such a sense of personal joy and wonder it was infectious. Their contributions to my personal development and growth are disproportionately greater than their initial effort and intent would suggest. Indeed, the marks these individuals have made upon the man I have become are indelible; I wear them with pride and humility in equal measure.
Unfortunately, I have also suffered some particularly horrid instructors: 'teachers' who, whether through inadequacy or complacency, managed to make learning dull, even dreary, instilling within the young minds left in their charge a notion that education was little more than a competitive chore – serving as nothing other than an unfortunate, albeit necessary step on the path to financial success. It is to these individuals, I imagine, that Mencken referred. And it is of these individuals that I stand in defiance.
My approach is simple:
First and foremost, since I regard each student individually, I avoid presumption.
Through discussion and evaluation, I seek to identify the source of the student's difficulty with the subject matter, and develop a course of action to help them overcome this difficulty.
At times this can be quite simple, such as providing an elucidating explanation based upon 'real world' examples, and making connections that help the student attain a deeper understanding of the material. At other times it may prove more complex, such as sifting through layers of connotation and personal symbolism in order to get to the crux of the argument in the student's thesis statement.
Ultimately, I try to emulate the qualities of the great teachers I have had, in order to subvert the effects of exposure to lesser instructors. I do not mean to suggest I am particularly exceptional, but I do hope, someday, to be.
To empower myself toward this goal, I have concentrated my own education on the study of the mind. While earning a B.S. in Psychology, I focused my studies on Cognitive, Developmental, and Educational Psychology. I am currently in prospectus of Graduate studies.
I am also a published author, with articles in the scientific journals Nature: Climate Change and Global Environmental Change.
I began tutoring pro bono in my sophomore year of high-school, and continued throughout college. I have only recently considered doing so in a professional capacity.
I have provided consultation and editing assistance for numerous college admissions essays and term papers, as well as one Doctoral Thesis. Though the credit is due to the work of the individual students, it does please me to be able to confirm that each essay resulted in acceptance, each paper received high marks, and the Doctoral Student was awarded her PhD.
To date I have also tutored friends and classmates in the following:
Creative, Technical, and Analytic Writing
Logic and Critical Thinking
Oral Presentation and Public Speaking
Precalculus (or Algebra 2 w/ Trigonometry)
and Western Civilization
As well as multiple sub-disciplines of Psychology including, but not limited to:
Biological (Neurophysiological) Psychology
and the History of Psychology.
In addition to tutoring in the above, I am willing and able to offer elucidation and general explanation of, or simple conversation upon, a variety of subjects including Anthropology, Astronomy, Computer Science, Economic Theory, Geo-Political Events and Their Repercussions (Contemporary and Historical), Music (Theory, Practice, and Appreciation), the Process of Socio-Political Change Throughout Human History, Technological Developments and Their Effects Upon Human Cognition and Consciousness (Contemporary and Historical), Video Games As Artistic Endeavor and Social Commentary, and Why the Sandwich May Be the Single Greatest Culinary Invention of All Time, as well as many others.
Ambrose Bierce wrote that "of good writing (which, essentially, is clear thinking made visible) precision is the point of capital concern." I could not agree more, and strive to live up to the values implicit within this statement.
I hope you have found this memorandum informative, and that it serves to demonstrate my bona fides.
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