I have had a handful of students and the first question I ask them is, "What is Math?" I honestly don't expect an educated or well worded or accurate answer, but it normally gauges how valuable or important math is to the student. I generally pass on the students who do not want to learn math and just want a passing grade, but those who are willing to put in the effort and want to learn math I do my best to assist. I am not a teacher, I am a tutor, so I assist and that is what I will and...
I have had a handful of students and the first question I ask them is, "What is Math?" I honestly don't expect an educated or well worded or accurate answer, but it normally gauges how valuable or important math is to the student. I generally pass on the students who do not want to learn math and just want a passing grade, but those who are willing to put in the effort and want to learn math I do my best to assist. I am not a teacher, I am a tutor, so I assist and that is what I will and or should do. I have never had a student fail a course, but I have never taken on a student who was unwilling to do the work.
My approach is pretty straight forward. After the initial question, I start by looking over the text and notes to look at the course instructor's approach and methods taught, as well as, to critique the note taking. After, I normally ask questions straight from the instructions of the assignments and text to gauge the student's comprehension and then test basic definitions and arithmetic. After that pre-tutoring process, the student usually takes over with the questions.
My first experience tutoring started in high school with the sciences and basic math. While in college, I tutored more and the subject matter was primarily Math. Trig up to linear algebra with some dimensional analysis. The degree I was working on required a minor in Math, so I completed more Math courses than most majors require. Because of the mathematical educational path I took, algebra was well ingrained into me. I can honestly say I scratched the surface of what math is.
The courses I have completed, but the list is not limited to, were college algebra, trig, precalc, calc 1 and 2, multidimensional calc, linear algebra-calc based and noncalc based, discrete math, numerical analysis, 2 courses in statistics, and mathematical modeling.
My last student was near my age and she wanted to improve her life and the lives of her children through education. Her last math course was taken in high school and was over a decade in the past so algebra seemed an insurmountable obstacle in her path to her certificate. It was a tough road of learning for both of us, but we got through it. The course was algebra, which was needed to take a course in chemistry. Both courses were a requirement for her education program. Starting off she did not have the vocabulary and because the coursework was online her professor did not require a textbook. I told her she needed a reference guide to learn the terminology. I had her make flashcards and after our first two sessions she could understand and explain the instructions to her assignments and tests. The road had tears of frustration still, but with patience and understanding and a game I created she more than passed her course.