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Debbie S.

Somerville, MA

$115/hour

Experienced, friendly and knowledgeable

In-person lessons
50+ Hours
5.0 average from 8 ratings
Calm, smart and excellent tutor!
— Sharon, Cambridge, MA on 1/8/17

$115/Hour


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Brown University
Math
University of Washington
Master's

Education

Brown University (Math)

University of Washington (Master's)

About Debbie

I am an experienced teacher and personal tutor with a wide range of practical experiences to bring to the table. I take the time to figure out how each student approaches learning and how I can help them do their best. Working one on one is the best way to learn about the student's strengths and their particular needs, which is why I love to tutor. I enjoy developing a relationship with the student, and then watching as they have those beautiful a-ha moments, and noticing as their skills develop over time.

From Calculus to Arithmetic, from Algebra to Statistics, I know the curriculum, and I know how to explain it clearly. My background is in pure math, with an undergrad degree from Brown and an Masters of Science from the University of Washington. I've worked for over ten years at independent schools, at Horace Mann in New York City, Gann Academy and Acera here in Massachusetts. While the majority of my teaching has been at the high school level, I have plenty of experience with all ages, from 2nd graders learning addition to middle schoolers puzzling through percents to college students learning how to integrate.

I always make sure my students understand the big ideas, so they end up doing well on their tests and they are ready to learn the next unit too. Sometimes it is just a matter of explaining the topic clearly, and the student is ready to go from there on their own. Some students need help with organization, or finding new ways to practice their skills. Often there is a need to work on problem solving and building confidence. Most students are looking for a combination of all these and more. Whatever your difficulties are, there are always ways to overcome them.
I am an experienced teacher and personal tutor with a wide range of practical experiences to bring to the table. I take the time to figure out how each student approaches learning and how I can help them do their best. Working one on one is the best way to learn about the student's strengths and their particular needs, which is why I love to Read more

Policies
Cancellation
24 hours notice required
Travel Radius
Travels within 4 miles of Somerville, MA 02144
In-person lessons

"Calm, smart and excellent tutor!"

- Sharon, Cambridge, MA on 1/8/17

"Knowledgable, prepared, thoughtful!"

- Annabel, Boston, MA on 8/12/16

"Knowledgable and patient tutor"

- Katie, Marblehead, MA on 8/8/16
Math:
Algebra 1,
Algebra 2,
Calculus,
Discrete Math,
Elementary Math, Finite Math,
Geometry, Linear Algebra,
Logic, Prealgebra, Precalculus, Probability, SAT Math, Statistics,
Trigonometry
Science:
Astronomy
English:
SAT Reading
Test Preparation:
GRE, LSAT,
SAT Math, SAT Reading, SSAT
Elementary Education:
Elementary Math
Business:
GRE

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.

Algebra 1

In Algebra I, students are expected to use variables in increasingly sophisticated ways. Instead of simply solving for an unknown, students use variables to describe patterns and examine relationships between multiple quantities. Many students hit their first big math challenge, when memorization and careful repetition no longer guarantee understanding and success.

When I work with students to tackle Algebra I, I help them find a new way to approach the material. I try to root out misconceptions before building up understanding. When the variables get overwhelming, it's often a good idea to use numbers, draw diagrams, or sketch graphs. There are many formulas and techniques to deal with, with so many letters it can feel like alphabet soup. But it's much easier when you understand the meaning behind each variable, and have a concrete representation in your mind of what is going on.

I taught traditional Algebra I in an independent school, a more flexible class in a public school, and I have training in Common Core topics and techniques.

Algebra 2

I have worked as a high school math teacher for over ten years, teaching in private schools. Algebra II is one of my favorite classes, and I've taught it many times over - both the regular and honors levels, and for a wide range of learners. There is a lot of skill-building in Algebra II, with the introduction of more sophisticated techniques for solving equations and simplifying expressions. There is also a big emphasis on graphing. But if you see each skill as another thing to memorize, it's going to be a long and arduous class. The real aim is to build your conceptual understanding of functions and transformations, and looking for the similarities between different types of equations. When you do that, the class becomes much more manageable.

I frequently take professional development courses that tell me how the field of math ed is changing, and what the current best practices are. I'm familiar with the Common Core too. (I even took a three week workshop from one of the authors of the Common Core.) I am new to Wyzant, but I am not new to tutoring or teaching. Feel free to contact me with any questions or to explore whether or not we might be a fit.

Calculus

Calculus is one of my favorite subjects to teach. I've taught calc classes in both high school and college. In high school, I've taught both levels of the AP, and about 85% of my students have gotten 4's and 5's on the AP exam.

Discrete Math

Discrete math can consist of a huge range of topics - number theory, matrices, graph theory, combinatorics, probability, induction, algorithmic thinking, set theory.

I have a master's degree in math from a top research university - the University of Washington. My field was algebraic topology, and I studied there for three years. I have a deep understanding of just about all of the topics in a high school or college discrete math course simply from being in such a program.

However, I think it's more important that I've pulled these topics into my classes over the years. I've taught combinatorics and probability to precalc students. I taught graph theory as a fun unit to my Algebra II honors class for several years, both on its own and as a connection to the matrices that we studied. I've taught induction to middle school students (proving divisibility rules) and high school students (proving algebraic formulas). I have had classes where a fundamental grounding in set theory was really the way to go for that group of kids. One of my favorite things about teaching math is being able to pull in examples and topics from the "real" math that I studied.

Finite Math

Finite math can consist of a huge range of topics - number theory, matrices, graph theory, combinatorics, probability, induction, algorithmic thinking, set theory.

I have a master's degree in math from a top research university - the University of Washington. I have a deep understanding of just about all of the topics in a high school or college discrete math course simply from being in such a program.

More importantly, I've pulled these topics into my classes over the years. I've taught combinatorics and probability to precalc students. I taught graph theory as a fun unit to my Algebra II honors class for several years, both on its own and as a connection to the matrices that we studied. I've taught induction to middle school students (proving divisibility rules) and high school students (proving algebraic formulas). I have had classes where a fundamental grounding in set theory was really the way to go for that group of kids. One of my favorite things about teaching math is being able to pull in examples and topics from the "real" math that I studied.

Linear Algebra

I have experience teaching linear algebra in both high school and college. I was a linear algebra instructor at the University of Washington during my grad school years. I taught the class to an advanced group of high school students post-calculus. And I've brought many linear algebra topics into both Precalc and Honors Algebra II classes where they complement the curriculum.

Linear Algebra can be a motley collection of topics. A typical class starts by solving systems of equations using matrix row operations, a mechanical type of subject. But then there is a sudden shift to theoretical work, definitions, proofs, and geometry, as vector spaces and transformations come on the scene. This is frequently where students find they need help. I can break down the concepts and help students manage the level of abstract reasoning.

LSAT

The LSAT is a test of logical reasoning, close reading, and attention to detail. The analytical reasoning section tests your knowledge of formal logic - whether that is implicit in the way you think or explicit from taking a class. The logical reasoning section is made up of puzzles that you are attack by finding a good way record the clues and follow through the logical conclusions. The reading comprehension section is similar to what you know from the SAT or ACT, but with more complex passages and more attention to detail.

Many years ago, before I became a teacher, I considered entering the field of law. I took the LSAT and got in the 98th percentile, even though I never applied to law school. I credit my years of math classes, all the work of reading and writing lengthy proofs and teasing apart small details, with my success on the test. After many years of teaching those skills in the math classroom, I am ready to help others polish up those same logical reasoning, detail-watching skills to perform well on the LSAT.

Statistics

Statistics can be a fascinating area of study. Unfortunately, it is often taught as if it were a collection of formulas to memorize, full of arcane details that are hard to remember. I see statistics as a way to understand the world around us. Focusing on the situations helps make the formulas clearer, and those same small differences don't seem as arcane when you understand the results in context.

For many students, the hardest part of a statistics class is learning to read and interpret the problems. Many need help thinking visually, understanding the subtle differences between graphical representations that look deceptively simple. The AP Statistics class, in particular, also has an explicit format you need to follow when writing up your answers.

I have taught AP Statistics for the past three years, and significantly raised the AP scores at my school. I love how statistics gives me a way to build more problem-solving and sense-making into my classes.

Trigonometry

The beautiful thing about trig is how a few powerful ideas come up in so many contexts. You find trig across the high school curriculum, from right triangles in Geometry to graphs and unit circles in Algebra II, to identities, laws of sines and cosines, and polar coordinates in precalc. I have taught all these courses multiple times, both at the regular level and the honors level. I can break down the material into simple pieces, or find challenging problems to prepare you for a super hard test.

At its heart, trig is a way to understand circular motion, through angles and triangles. It's important to know what to memorize (such as special right triangles and the shape of the sine wave), and what to understand (such as the significance of the unit circle). This is a topic that mixes algebra with geometry, and it's important to work back and forth between the two to really know what is going on. I can help you navigate your way through this topic, whatever course you are in.

Brown University
Math
University of Washington
Master's

Education

Brown University (Math)

University of Washington (Master's)

Calm, smart and excellent tutor!

Debbie has been working with our daughter who is presently taking an honor precalculus class in high school . Debbie clearly has excellent teaching skills; she is able to patiently and expertly convey the material they are working on and my daughter very much looks forward to her lessons with Debbie. She is reliable , mature and knows exactly how to work with teenagers- we feel incredibly fortunat

— Sharon, Cambridge, MA on 1/8/17

Hourly rate

Standard Hourly Rate: $115.00

Cancellation: 24 hours notice required

Travel policy

Debbie will travel within 4 miles of Somerville, MA 02144.