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My Big Secret A lot of people give me flattering feedback which I greatly appreciate, but it also humbles me to recognize that I am not special. I am certainly no genius! Let me share my secret. The reason I connect with students and get fast results is because I know exactly how they feel. I know their frustrations, and doubts, and weak points. I really do! How? Because I used to struggle too. It seems insane to say that I struggled in school, but it is true. Math (back in Scotland) was a nightmare - especially math. I was lousy at math all the way through! What? Yes. And now you want to tutor my child!?!? Yep! My secret is this ..... When I graduated from school my overall grades were good enough to get into university - all except math. I made the first (of many stupid decisions in my life). I signed up for Mechanical Engineering. Wasn't that crazy? That first year in college was horrible. I groaned and... read more

Why one-on-one tutoring? I remember well how I used to struggle - with math especially. I was fortunate that I could turn that around. But, that's a story for another day. I used to be terrified of asking questions and of being asked a question in class. I used to sit in the back row and hide, so that the teacher (monster in my mind) would not ask me a question and I would have to make a public display of my ignorance. Looking back, my body language must have been screaming. There we have the first signs. Sitting at the back, body language, and trying to hide. When I was caught - and had to answer a question (I NEVER put my hand up to offer an answer), I would blush and timidly offer my best guess and swear I was probably wrong. Next signs - trembling voice and blushing. What's happening here is the heart is pounding and fear is mounting! The last and  most obvious sign that a person needs help is - bad grades! Hey! But, there is hope! I turned it around... read more

I vividly remember my dad writing back home to his mum. He would ask my mum, "Well, how do I start?" Mum would patiently reply, "Try a Dear Mum,". "OK. 'Done that. Now what do I write?" True story. :-) When time comes to write an essay, many of us freeze up. Blank paper stares back at us and we stare back - brain dead. How about a couple of easy techniques to find dozens of good ideas within minutes? Here we go: Bubble Technique: # Find a word - just one word related to the topic. # Place that word in the center of that blank sheet. Draw a quick bubble round it. # Draw several legs out of it. Like a spider's legs. # Put a bubble on each "foot" # What other words are related (in any way) to that central word? # Now, should have at least a half dozen new words / ideas. # Next level – draw more legs from those feet and see a couple of dozen new feet. # Guess what? More words/ideas will appear to fill... read more

Can you imagine climbing a ladder where the bottom rungs were missing? There is only one way. You lay the ladder on the ground and walk it from end to end. Is that climbing? Is that progress? Silly question, right. Well, learning is a ladder and all the rungs have to be in place so that the student can climb. If a rung or two is missing...that marks the end of any chance of lasting progress. If all the rungs are in place, then the student can climb, and climb, and climb! That - is progress. So, my initial concern with any student is to examine closely how they approach problems and try to solve them. "Are there gaps?" Is that approach efficient?" "Where is the issue?" You would be amazed how effective this approach is. Almost all classes result in identifying and repairing broken / missing rungs. Result? Success. :-) Get out your tools and do some fixing.

Ever heard of "passive" and "active" learning? Passive learning is what too may students do, and tutors allow, without realizing what they are doing. Passive Learning is when teacher tells and student sits there and (hopefully) listens. Then, we expect the student to regurgitate the stuff on the next test or exam. Does it work? No. Why not? Because real learning has to be active learning. Active means that the student is engaged in the process and a number of activities play their part. We have five faculties (some say, six). See, Hear, Speak, Taste, Smell, Touch. From birth, we learn by constant repetition, from tireless mums who repeat until baby either gets it – or gets it. It takes time, but it happens. Repetition is the key here. Now, if we are presented new information via one faculty. Teacher tells and student (hopefully) listens – then, in terms, there is a one-in-five chance the info will be retained. If two faculties come... read more

At some time or another, we all suffer setbacks. But, when the problem is with your back, it is hard to stand up, isn't it. This 2012, I had the delightful experience of meeting a young lady whose dad was a brain surgeon. He had heart problems and was obliged to give up his career. You can't have a heart attack in the middle of surgery, can you? My student suffered from a serious back ailment and dropped out of high school for two whole years. When we started, she was seriously behind in EVERY area. Math was a disaster. Now for a solution. She stepped up to the plate. I gave her all the basic concepts that were shaky, to fly (literally fly) through two years of math. She did it within months. With effort, determination, practice, and multiple "SOS" sessions. Nothing in life is free. Here is the result. Copy/pasted with express permission, as the text implies. "Mr. N., I want to thank you very much for the time you have spent helping... read more

Math Tutor in Gainesville GA went from Wiped Out to Wizard! How? Let me tell you I know how you feel about math. Most folks hate math and I was no exception. I struggled like crazy in high school - all the way through and believed what my teachers were telling me. Even the principal said I'd never make it to university! WAIT - it gets better! Even so, my dad was an engineer and somehow I got accepted into a good college. BUT - without good math, I was wiped out in the first year! NOW - the miracle! My best buddy's dad sat me down and told me that if I wanted to get good at math, then the best way was to teach it. I blurted out, "Are you crazy!" He insisted and by some miracle a technical college allowed me to teach their unsuspecting kids at night. I was 19 and they were a couple of years behind me. I studied like mad every afternoon because I had to explain this stuff that night - and not make a fool of myself. IT WORKED! After one year... read more

R U Smarter than a 4th Grader? I hope so, but let's think about that. For sure, you're older than a 4th grader and most likely a LOT younger than me. :-) If you think you're smart, then odds are that you are. If you think you're not so hot upstairs, then maybe you are a little behind the curve. Maybe.... maybe not. If you believe you can, then you can – at least try. If you believe you can't, then you certainly won't even try. It's all about what you believe, isn't it? 'Know that old adage about, “You can't teach an old dog new tricks”? I'm here to tell you that is nonsense. How old was Henry Ford? Was he brilliant? No – he was wise. He tried something new. This author was born before TV, before calculators, before the internet, before Google, before the mouse, before webinars. This old dog learned new tricks. That means you can too! If you believe... Your future starts now – today - is the first day of the rest of your life. So... read more

I graduated with a First-Class Honors degree in Mechanical Engineering. But: I wasn't always first in the class! I know how it feels to struggle with math. LET ME SHOW YOU HOW I TURNED MATH AROUND - I DID IT = YOU CAN TOO. During my Junior, Middle, and High school years I struggled like crazy!! I KNOW how it feels to be lost in a math maze!! How could that be? I went to an expensive school, but the teachers told me I couldn't do it – so many times - that I believed what they were saying. Even the school principal said I'd never make it to university. Even so, my dad was an engineer and somehow I passed the entrance exam. Whew!! BUT – my math (at that time) wasn't good enough – I got booted out. - NOW IT GETS BETTER! - My best friend's dad, advised me to try teaching math at night school. It sounded insane, but I got a teaching job (Lord knows how) and during one year I taught math to younger kids. In that year, I had to study like... read more

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