Bethel University (Political Science)
Bethel Seminary (Master's)
One of my students described my teaching style as "fundacational," and that was one of the best compliments I've ever received, because it confirmed what I've always tried to do: Make learning as creative, fun, and practical as possible. Another student I tutored one day looked at me in bewilderment and said,"You're fun."
For both of these students (and the thousands I've had over the years), we could have fun because teaching for me is not transactional but transformational. When students learn, it's not because I simply convey information to students to absorb as sponges, but more of a Socratic method, where I help the student to take responsibility for his/her learning and figure out what best helps him or her learn. My goal is to help kids "own" their learning, because if it's a part of you, how can you not more easily recall how to solve that problem on the test?
I've also been teaching kids how to drive for seven years now, and while it may be more dangerous, it's virtually the same thing I've been doing as a tutor: work the problem, diagnose the problem, and either solve the problem or continue to work the problem. I know that driving and math also have at least one thing in common: they can both be scary. I believe my success as a teacher is not only driven by a transformational philosophy of teaching but a sensitivity towards each student. I am easy-going, able to laugh at myself, and in this safe environment, you'll LEARN that it's o.k. to make mistakes. We'll just keep practicing until we get it right. You'll find me very patient with your son or daughter; all I ask is that he/she tries. Homer Simpson once said,"Trying is the first step towards failure." Well, of course, he had it wrong: it's the not trying.
As far as the hard skills of tutoring math, for the past eight years I've scored thousands of math proficiency tests (mainly algebra, geometry, and some trig) required for graduation from several states at Questar Assessment in Apple Valley. I've seen so many different ways to solve the same problem, and that creativity never ceases to amaze me. I also field-test potential common items at Questar, evaluating whether the problem achieves its goal or has negative unintended results.
I consider myself to be a life-long learner (my students teach me so much!). I have a BA in Political Science (minor Psychology, emphasis Family and Child Development), and an MA in Philosophy of Religion. I am indebted to my education for giving me so much perspective on life (traveling hasn't hurt either). Being well-rounded helps me identify and relate to many diverse students. One of my students described my teaching style as "fundacational," and that was one of the best compliments I've ever received, because it confirmed what I've always tried to do: Make learning as creative, fun, and practical as possible. Another student I tutored one day looked at me in bewilderment and said,"You're fun."
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At the beginning of the year my daughter was having a hard time with math. Brian took the time to listen to all of my daughter's questions and in answering them in a way that she understood. Her grade was not good, once we hired Brian her grades improved. She went from staying up until 12 or 1 am to going to bed at 10pm. She was always the last one to finish a test, she no longer is. When she began understanding the math better (she was doing a math two grades above her grade) her confidence got better. She is now looking forward to math knowing that she knows how to do it. She had a two part final for this year, she got an A on both of them. I have never been so proud of her. As a parent when your child is having a hard time all you want to do fix things for them, I couldn't fix this. But with Brian, she was able to fix it herself. As a mother, I highly recommend Brian. You will not be disappointed!!