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James M.

Santa Cruz, CA

$50/hour

Middle & High School (College Prep) Math and Computer Science

100+ Hours
5.0 average from 63 ratings
Patient teacher and mentor......EXCELLENT!!!
— Brandon, Los Gatos, CA on 12/13/15

$50/Hour


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University of California, Berkeley
LS Computer Science

Education

University of California, Berkeley (LS Computer Science)

About James

My ability to tutor Middle and High School Math and Computer Science, and to prepare students for college work in these areas, comes from decades as a computer programmer, technical writer, and technical support representative, working for companies ranging from start-ups to such Fortune 500 firms as Apple Computer, as well as from three years spent recently in the classroom, and as an after-school tutor, for a private middle and high school, teaching the above and other subjects to students with learning differences. Working with special needs students has given me the patience and experience to adapt my approach to each individual student, and to understand what motivates a student to be the driver of his or her own education.

I have prepared students to pass ACT, SAT, and CAHSEE exams in mathematics, and have taught students to program computers using BASIC, Pascal, Java, Lua, and Python, just to name a few of the languages that I have learned and used in my own career. If you need help with pre-Algebra, basic and advanced Algebra, Geometry/Trigonometry, or pre-Calculus, I'm your tutor! One of my favorite memories is tutoring one student in Geometry. We would meet in a standard classroom most days, but one day a week we would go out to Denny's for Geometry Breakfast. This previously math-phobic student was so happy with the arrangement that he finished the full year's course two weeks early, and performed impressively on mathematics aptitude tests when he applied to join the Air Force, securing a coveted technical assignment after Basic Training. Let's discover together where Math or Computer Science holds fun for you. Then, I'll help you go as far as you want or need to go!
My ability to tutor Middle and High School Math and Computer Science, and to prepare students for college work in these areas, comes from decades as a computer programmer, technical writer, and technical support representative, working for companies ranging from start-ups to such Fortune 500 firms as Apple Computer, as well as from three years Read more

Policies
Cancellation
6 hours notice required

Default rate is for one individual per hour. Group hourly rates are by prior arrangement with James; please contact him for details.

Travel Radius
Travels within 20 miles of Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Background Check: Passed

"Patient teacher and mentor......EXCELLENT!!!"

- Brandon, Los Gatos, CA on 12/13/15

"Great tutor!"

- Margo, Los Gatos, CA on 11/17/15

"My daughter said it went great!"

- Nora, San Francisco, CA on 11/17/15
Math:
ACT Math,
Algebra 1,
Algebra 2,
Calculus, Geometry,
Logic, Prealgebra,
Statistics, Trigonometry
English:
English, Writing
Test Preparation:
ACT Math
Computer:
Computer Programming,
Computer Science, Java,
JavaScript, Pascal,
Python
Language:
Writing
History:
Government & Politics, Writing
Special Needs:
ADHD, Dyslexia, Phonics
Elementary Education:
ADHD, Phonics, Writing
Business:
Writing

Approved subjects are in bold.

Approved subjects

In most cases, tutors gain approval in a subject by passing a proficiency exam. For some subject areas, like music and art, tutors submit written requests to demonstrate their proficiency to potential students. If a tutor is interested but not yet approved in a subject, the subject will appear in non-bold font. Tutors need to be approved in a subject prior to beginning lessons.

ACT Math

I studied mathematics in college (UC Berkeley and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo) up to calculus and linear algebra, earning excellent grades in those courses. I was a software engineer for a couple of decades, even working for Apple for over ten years: programming computers makes anyone into a much better mathematician.

In the last several years, I have been a classroom teacher of middle- and high- school mathematics (3 years), as well as a private tutor (5 years); my subjects included pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, and trigonometry. I also coached several students for the ACT Math test.

One of my high school students was completely math-phobic, but I helped him to finish a geometry course two weeks before the year ended, and score highly enough on an Air Force placement test to earn a coveted assignment. Another adult student went on to be a teacher and recently thanked me for making sure she knew what she was talking about! She doesn't normally teach math, but that was what she needed to do on a recent substitute assignment: she told me that she felt extremely confident about helping her student, and that working with me helped her rise to the next level, in terms of understanding not just the mathematics, but the process of teaching mathematics. Hearing that kind of thing, or seeing the light of understanding in a student's eyes, makes the time and effort worthwhile for me.

Algebra 1

I studied mathematics in college (UC Berkeley and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo) up to calculus and linear algebra, earning excellent grades in those courses. I was a software engineer for a couple of decades, even working for Apple for over ten years: programming computers makes anyone into a much better mathematician. In the last several years, I have been a classroom teacher of middle- and high- school mathematics (3 years), as well as a private tutor (5 years); my subjects included pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, and trigonometry. One of my high school students was completely math-phobic, but I helped him to finish a geometry course two weeks before the year ended, and score highly enough on an Air Force placement test to earn a coveted assignment. Another adult student went on to be a teacher and recently thanked me for making sure she knew what she was talking about! She doesn't normally teach math, but that was what she needed to do on a recent substitute assignment: she told me that she felt extremely confident about helping her student, and that working with me helped her rise to the next level, in terms of understanding not just the mathematics, but the process of teaching mathematics. Hearing that kind of thing, or seeing the light of understanding in a student's eyes, makes the time and effort worthwhile for me.

Algebra 2

I studied mathematics in college (UC Berkeley and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo) up to calculus and linear algebra, earning excellent grades in those courses. I was a software engineer for a couple of decades, even working for Apple for over ten years: programming computers makes anyone into a much better mathematician. In the last several years, I have been a classroom teacher of middle- and high- school mathematics (3 years), as well as a private tutor (5 years); my subjects included pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, and trigonometry. One of my high school students was completely math-phobic, but I helped him to finish a geometry course two weeks before the year ended, and score highly enough on an Air Force placement test to earn a coveted assignment. Another adult student went on to be a teacher and recently thanked me for making sure she knew what she was talking about! She doesn't normally teach math, but that was what she needed to do on a recent substitute assignment: she told me that she felt extremely confident about helping her student, and that working with me helped her rise to the next level, in terms of understanding not just the mathematics, but the process of teaching mathematics. Hearing that kind of thing, or seeing the light of understanding in a student's eyes, makes the time and effort worthwhile for me.

Computer Programming

I was a software engineer and technical writer on computer programming topics throughout the 1980s and 1990s. For three years in the mid-1980s, I was contributing editor for Pascal programming and wrote a monthly column on Apple Pascal for Softalk Magazine. I wrote an independent commercial software product, the Moonshadow Text Formatter, in Pascal in 1979 and contributed code in Pascal and 65816 machine language to System Software releases for Apple Computer between 1986 and 1991. I studied computer science for several years each at both UC Berkeley and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, including computer history, machine architecture, several programming languages, programming style, troubleshooting and debugging, and other relevant topics. I taught computer programming, a year each for Java and Python, from 2011-13, in the classroom at a private high school, Monterey Coast Preparatory, in Santa Cruz CA, and have an ongoing engagement as a tutor in Lua for the sons of a local family in town. I spent several years as a technical support representative, providing very technical assistance via telephone, email, and online chat, for both product end users and developers. I have, several times over the years, built my own home computer system, or assisted my son in doing so.

Geometry

I studied mathematics in college (UC Berkeley and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo) up to calculus and linear algebra, earning excellent grades in those courses. I was a software engineer for a couple of decades, even working for Apple for over ten years: programming computers makes anyone into a much better mathematician. In the last several years, I have been a classroom teacher of middle- and high- school mathematics (3 years), as well as a private tutor (5 years); my subjects included pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, and trigonometry. One of my high school students was completely math-phobic, but I helped him to finish a geometry course two weeks before the year ended, and score highly enough on an Air Force placement test to earn a coveted assignment. Another adult student went on to be a teacher and recently thanked me for making sure she knew what she was talking about! She doesn't normally teach math, but that was what she needed to do on a recent substitute assignment: she told me that she felt extremely confident about helping her student, and that working with me helped her rise to the next level, in terms of understanding not just the mathematics, but the process of teaching mathematics. Hearing that kind of thing, or seeing the light of understanding in a student's eyes, makes the time and effort worthwhile for me.

Java

I have been programming in Java since 2010, completing a community college course in Advanced Java and thereafter studying independently, while creating a course in Introductory Java for the private high school where I taught at the time: MCP Middle and High School, in Santa Cruz CA. Prior to this, I had been a software engineer working solo and with many companies, including 10 years for Apple, using a variety of languages including Pascal, BASIC, C, assembler language, Modula-2, and many more. I was also a technical writer for many years, including a three-year run as the contributing editor for a well-respected personal computer magazine, Softalk, responsible for a monthly column on issues and methods of programming. My approach in the high-school Java class was to mentor students in a "workshop" setting, as they tackled exercises from a popular textbook and more ambitious projects assigned by me. I would sometimes lecture on basic concepts or specific points of syntax, as necessary, but primarily functioned as an individual tutor for each student, in-person during class time, and online at other times. My students did well, word got around, and soon there was a clamor for more programming classes -- in response to that demand, I later went on to learn and teach Python. To summarize, not only do I know Java, but I understand programming and can teach it, in person, in print, and online.

Pascal

I wrote commercial software in Pascal during the late 1980s and early 1990s, notably the Moonshadow Text Formatter for the UCSD Pascal system (including Apple Pascal). I was product manager and contributing software engineer to the North Star Computers implementation of UCSD Pascal in 1978-9. For three years during the mid-1980s, I was Softalk Magazine's contributing editor for Pascal and wrote their monthly column on Pascal programming, "The Pascal Path." During the late 1980s, I was on Apple Computer's internal interdepartmental advisory committee for Pascal implementation, representing the Apple II product line, and I maintained the Macintosh Programmer's Workshop Pascal cross-compiler for the Apple IIGS. I began using Pascal as an imperative language, but embraced Object Oriented Programming through Object Pascal and Borland's Turbo Pascal. Since then, I have continued to program in Pascal for personal enjoyment, these days using the Free Pascal compiler in the Windows environment, and other development systems for other computers and devices.

Prealgebra

I studied mathematics in college (UC Berkeley and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo) up to calculus and linear algebra, earning excellent grades in those courses. I was a software engineer for a couple of decades, even working for Apple for over ten years: programming computers makes anyone into a much better mathematician. In the last several years, I have been a classroom teacher of middle- and high- school mathematics (3 years), as well as a private tutor (5 years); my subjects included pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, and trigonometry. One of my high school students was completely math-phobic, but I helped him to finish a geometry course two weeks before the year ended, and score highly enough on an Air Force placement test to earn a coveted assignment. Another adult student went on to be a teacher and recently thanked me for making sure she knew what she was talking about! She doesn't normally teach math, but that was what she needed to do on a recent substitute assignment: she told me that she felt extremely confident about helping her student, and that working with me helped her rise to the next level, in terms of understanding not just the mathematics, but the process of teaching mathematics. Hearing that kind of thing, or seeing the light of understanding in a student's eyes, makes the time and effort worthwhile for me.

Python

I have been programming in Python since 2012. I completed the full course at Codecademy and thereafter studied independently, while creating a course for the private high school where I taught at the time: MCP Middle and High School, in Santa Cruz CA. There, I taught a semester of introductory Python in the classroom in Spring, 2013. (I should add that, prior to this, I had been a software engineer working solo and with many companies, including 10 years for Apple, using a variety of languages including Pascal, BASIC, C, assembler language, Modula-2, and many more. Also, I had been the contributing editor for a well-respected personal computer magazine, Softalk, responsible for a monthly column on issues and methods of programming for a run of three years.) My approach in the Python class was to mentor students in a "workshop" setting, as they tackled Codecademy lessons and more ambitious projects assigned by me. I would sometimes lecture on basic concepts or specific points of syntax, as necessary, but primarily functioned as an individual tutor for each student, in-person during class time, and online at other times. To help build class camaraderie and inject a bit of fun, we would also watch classic skits from Monty Python from time to time. My students did well, word got around, and soon there was a bit of a waiting list for a future semester. To summarize, not only do I know Python, but I understand programming and can teach it, in person, in print, and online, especially to students of middle- and high-school age.

Trigonometry

I studied mathematics in college (UC Berkeley and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo) up to calculus and linear algebra, earning excellent grades in those courses. I was a software engineer for a couple of decades, even working for Apple for over ten years: programming computers makes anyone into a much better mathematician.

In the last several years, I have been a classroom teacher of middle- and high- school mathematics (3 years), as well as a private tutor (5 years); my subjects included pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, and trigonometry.

One of my high school students was completely math-phobic, but I helped him to finish a geometry course two weeks before the year ended, and score highly enough on an Air Force placement test to earn a coveted assignment. Another adult student went on to be a teacher and recently thanked me for making sure she knew what she was talking about! She doesn't normally teach math, but that was what she needed to do on a recent substitute assignment: she told me that she felt extremely confident about helping her student, and that working with me helped her rise to the next level, in terms of understanding not just the mathematics, but the process of teaching mathematics. Hearing that kind of thing, or seeing the light of understanding in a student's eyes, makes the time and effort worthwhile for me.

Writing

I have been paid for my writing since the late 1970s, whether as freelance contributor to popular magazines, or as in-house technical writer for companies in the personal computer and health care fields.

Although my work usually involves technical explanation of some kind, many of my essays on current events and culture have also been published via local press and broadcast outlets. A favorite hobby of mine is to craft letters-to-the-editor that are short and effective enough to be printed, with no need for "touch-up" by the publishing editor: Over the years, I have filled a fat Manila folder with the resulting press-clippings.

Starting around 2010, I taught a variety of subjects in the classroom at a local private middle-and-high school that catered to students' learning differences. Several of those subjects (for example, Civics) required students to write one or more essays each week, so I spent much of my time working with students to improve their writing skills. I found that I enjoyed this, and the students seemed to appreciate the help in expressing themselves effectively. So, after leaving the school, I have continued as a personal tutor in the subjects I taught in the classroom, including Writing.

University of California, Berkeley
LS Computer Science

Education

University of California, Berkeley (LS Computer Science)

Patient teacher and mentor......EXCELLENT!!!

James is truly "One of a kind", excellent in everyway, will use him next semister as well, THANK YOU JAMES!!!

— Brandon, Los Gatos, CA on 12/13/15

Hourly rate

Standard Hourly Rate: $50.00

Cancellation: 6 hours notice required

Default rate is for one individual per hour. Group hourly rates are by prior arrangement with James; please contact him for details.

Travel policy

James will travel within 20 miles of Santa Cruz, CA 95060.