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I have written many many blog articles about teaching and learning, and believing in my students. What continually draws me to a student, and keeps me going? I will tell you. It is the chance to launch them. My favorite movies have involved teachers that help their students. "To Sir With Love", "To Sir With Love II", "The Marva Collins Story", "Dangerous Minds", "Stand and Deliver", "Music of the Heart", "Lean on Me", and others in a similar vein. The thing they have in common is that their students are wounded. Wounded by life, past teachers, other students, or their own failures. What else do they have in common? The joy the students experience when they learn how much they are really capable of...they reach a point where they are compelled to strive. What do I love? Oh, my---what I love more than anything is helping them heal from the past heartbreak or sorrow. Empowering them. I tell every one of my students,... read more

Do you find yourself getting scared or freezing up just thinking about a test? Do you get so nervous preparing for a test that you feel like spinning your wheels? Do you feel overwhelmed because it seems like there is a huge mountain of material you do not know? Let's approach it differently! One tactic you can take is to take a piece of paper out (or some index cards, your choice) and write down everything you can think of that you do know! Look at the chapter headings in your text, and write down what that triggers in your mind. Doing this will help you focus on the positive. You know more than you realize! And if you know nothing, remember, you can only improve! Now: do you get really jittery during the test? I am sure you have been told to breathe deeply or slowly, and you say "I have tried that and it doesn't work". Well, here is an idea for you. If you are permitted to have 2 pens or pencils while taking your exam, hold one in your non-writing hand, and... read more

Sometimes tutoring inquiries can be frustrating! I've gotten a bunch of inquiries followed by no responses to e-mails. I have no idea what's going on. Also, I think another tutoring agency stole one of my potential students and lied to me about it! Ugh, frustrations. Anyway, my students are doing well and I am pleased. I don't have as many students as I would like right now, but that's alright. They'll come when they come. In other news, I might be gone this Saturday to Willow Grove Naval Air Base to do a pool event for OCS potentials. That will be fun (read: back breaking and embarrassing.)

I'm glad that my first post here is a success story. After many, many, many hours of tutoring sessions, Utpal has finally achieved his goal. As a hopeful Marine Officer candidate, this success story really hits home for me. Actually, he finished the tutoring a long time ago, before the New Year. I was so happy when he texted me to tell me that he got above the necessary AFQT score for the ASVAB. Utpal is so committed and devoted to service with the U.S. really was an honor helping to get him there. Even better was talking to him on the phone while he was at MEPS in New York and convincing him to become a Tanker. Attention students: MOS counseling is not included in the standard tutoring package. ;) Anyways, just a few days ago, I get a text from Utpal saying that he finally signed his contract and is now a part of the big U.S. Army family. Silly Utpal - thinking he's already a Specialist. Little does he know that he's just a private right now... I should've let him... read more

There are many reasons that teachers and tutors give for teaching. Typical reasons include the joy of seeing students learn. While this is certainly the case for me as well, an even more important reason to me was to help students see that they are WAY more capable than teachers and peers have told them. I believe that failure in school is much more complicated than "I am smart" or "I am dumb". Repeated failure and frustration convinces students that they are stupid. This belief imprisons them. I tutor and teach to empower students. Every step of the way I show them HOW to learn. We calmly discuss, back-and-forth, how to approach the problem or subject. By going through this exercise, the student begins to see proof that his/her new approach empowers them and makes excellence possible. I see tutoring as a golden opportunity to start your own little school---and help students learn the material (of course), but learn also how to play to their own strengths even... read more

Ken B., known as "The Best Little Tutor In Texas", has just surpassed the 400 hour tutoring mark in Houston, Texas! What makes Ken so good and popular in Houston? It is because of his diverse background and of being able to do the following: mathematics, statistics, chemistry, physics, computers, and computer programming. He can help a student in many many different areas. Ken does both high school and college and does regular, honors, IB, PAP, AP, etc... All that is quite a talent. Ken says that the subject most tutored in the past several months is statistics, and the reason for that is that most teachers use the 'dump' method...they 'dump' a copious quantity of power point files onto the student but the teachers do not really teach how to 'do' the problems...he has seen the same trend with other subject areas, and this is most unfortunate for students taking the, if you need to get on top of your mathematics and science courses (except of biology), then Ken... read more

As I said in my previous post, math has become a problem for so many students. Parents are frequently at a loss as to how to help their child in math (or pre-algebra, algebra, or ASVAB) as well. Why is math so difficult and scary for so many students? Is it because math is inherently more difficult than English and History? Is it because you "just can't understand or learn math"? Are pre-algebra and algebra too hard to learn? Is it the teacher's fault you haven't been able to comprehend math? If you are trying to get ready for your ASVAB is it too late to learn math? The answer to all of these, of course, is a resounding "no"! You just need to find the right tool for the job. After all, a master carpenter would never succeed if he tried to cut a board with a hammer instead of a saw. The right study skills and right tutoring session can help you succeed. You really can become successful in math, pre-algebra, algebra, study skills and test taking! Would you... read more

Math has become a problem for so many students. Parents are frequently at a loss as to how to help their child in math, as well. Why is math so difficult and scary for so many students? Is it because math is inherently more difficult than English and History? Is it because some people "just can't understand math"? Is it the teacher's fault? No to all of these, of course. As my mom has always told me when I had difficulty with a subject and told her I couldn't learn that subject; "It's the same muscle, the same brain. If you can succeed in one area, you can learn to succeed in another." You need to find the right tool for the job, just as a carpenter would do! So, let's look at where your struggle is. If you are struggling with solving for an unknown in an equation, and it looks like weird mystical magic, you must look at the concept behind it. Where does it begin? Do you remember memorizing your addition and subtraction facts? Your multiplication... read more

Here is some blogging advice from a veteran. First, I went in as an officer from college, it was a Maritime Academy, a military school. It was the Navy, and I wound up on the U.S.S. Saratoga, working with HUEY helicopters that were originally Marine equipment, long story. Both my sons went into the Army, the other still in the Marines. Both spent time in Iraq, I had a bit of Vietnam, not much really. Veterans always get asked is the classic question, "Did you ever kill anybody?" First, the military IS SPECIFICALLY in that business! Most vets do find that question particularly annoying. The ASVAB is the multiple choice type test. It is kind of like an IQ test, the test measures math skills, mechanical aptitude and the likes, for persons to go into the RANKS, not officer status. It is always better to invest a little effort and study up for that test, just to know what is coming, not really to CRAM at the last minute. You can get information from any public library,... read more

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