Since 1987, what young minds have taught me in my thousands of sessions with them (both one-on-one and in the classroom) is that they appreciate things that are simple, fun, and practical. They respond to pictures, stories, game-like "what if?" experiments, and real-world examples. They prefer handiwork over paperwork. Most importantly, students love to personalize -- really understand -- what they are learning rather than merely to read books or to memorize things.
REMOVING THE WORRIES
Families are concerned with time and money. Thus, clients are welcome to cancel at no charge! Cost is always negotiable on a case-by-case basis. Students enjoy the lesson or it's free.
Students are afraid of making mistakes. Since we are learning, we're not scared of errors. In fact, during preparation is EXACTLY THE BEST setting for messing up -- we learn more! I like it when clients progress in confidence and know-how enough to notice and correct MY occasional goofs! Since I'm comfortable with my mistakes, students can be at ease with theirs.
Learning is much more about temperament and attitude than intelligence. Our sessions will maintain a calm focus -- always relaxed, flexible, humble, and respectful. While success cannot be guaranteed, half of my WyzAnt clients have rated our lessons most highly. What I can promise is that our sessions will be very different from "school" and quite simple.
WYZANT CLIENT MIX
For 2013, 16 clients (6F, 10M) have purchased 91 lessons. Only 5 lessons (6%) were "one-time" -- clearly, customers are requesting repeat business. Over 60% of the year's teaching time has been with four clients. The summer's SAT "retaker's" Math rank progressed 15 percentiles (on October 5th) -- way more gain than for most retakers (a few percentiles or less). A 2nd test-prep client nearly doubled his exam score (in early November) to qualify for mechanics school training. A scholarship athlete who aimed to pass a business calculus course has scored "C" or better -- 89% most recently -- on the Fall term's tests. Client #4 is working to get through high-school advanced algebra, with the two most recent exams scoring "B's."
Physics and chemistry sessions with 5 college women comprised 10% of client subjects. Advanced algebra and pre-cal made up about another 15%. Business calculus, diff. equations, discrete integration, multi-variable calculus, econ and accounting totaled 30%. Finally, the remaining 45% of tutoring was admissions-test "prepping" -- 2013's main activity.
WHAT I BRING
My interdisciplinary background in energy, electronics, human physiology, music, investments, and sports provides a treasure trove of "true-to-life" examples that can engage a diverse clientele. Hands-on engineering work includes 2000 hours of power-plant testing, plus 2000 hours in labs teaching electronics, water-air-heat flow, vibrations, and technical writing, as well as building a low-hemolysis, pulsatile blood pump for cardiopulmonary-bypass use.
HIGH-STAKES TEST PREP
Too much test time is wasted fooling with equations and calculators. Signs can be missed, fractions inverted, and wrong buttons pushed. Students will learn how to "re-frame" the test questions, avoiding the unproductive "reflex" of jumping "headlong" into equations. Key tools are a few principles and a couple of back-up "safety nets." Math clients will practice applying these tools on every test problem.
Two psychological traps hurt scores: overconfidence on "easy" questions, and changing answers to tough problems. The remedies? Double-checking easy answers (you have time), and keeping your first guesses UNLESS there's a REASON to change answers. (Note: "Feelings" are NOT reasons -- retain your initial response).
Since most exam "retakers" rise less than a few percentiles in rank, we aim for twice that gain: 10-plus percentile improvements.
HOW IT WORKS
Our tutoring lessons can serve one of three typical objectives.
Ideally, tutoring early in a course, as soon as it gets "murky," can clarify things so that the rest of the course will make sense. Or we can have test-prep sessions, much like "warm-ups" with a coach on the driving range or putting green before the golf match. As a last resort and with less chance of success, an end-of-course "sorting-out of matters" may be needed to recover the course and final grade. Kindly email, if handy, a course syllabus -- that will tell me what to prepare for our very first session and for your next exam. Students are welcome at no cost to Email specific, pressing questions for a next-day response.
Many school challenges have math as "the sticking point." Math processes are typically cast in the abstract language of symbol manipulation with formal rules to memorize. Although this academic approach works for some students, even these students who can recall and use this method have no idea what the equations MEAN. Instead, our session problem-solving will feature reason rather than formulas, comprehension before computation. The goal is to fulfill my URL designation "/oneliners" by expressing the clearest, easiest, and briefest solutions.
PRE-MED PHYSICS AND SPATIAL CONCEPTS
Introductory physics can be boiled down to about two dozen concepts. We will use word-pictures (eating, driving a car, spending money, TV shows & movies, sports) and sketch lots of diagrams to “see” the physics. We will see how the numbers work by “tweaking the knobs” of the formulas.
Trigonometry is all about "triangles simplified." Given two sides and an angle, or two angles and a side, we can specify (under a minute) the three remaining unknowns within +/- 5%. No table or calculator is needed! We will use two simple, overlooked approximations.
Geometry areas and volumes can be estimated with no formulas to remember! Using the area of a square, we can approximate any measure for cubes, pyramids, cylinders, cones, & orbs.
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