Brian · Charlie · Chris · Connor · Dave · Elad · Emma · Grace · John · Joyce · Kelsey
· Laura · Michael · Phil · Sara · Tim

One of our calculus tutors in action!


BRIAN

Brian is a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Washington, specializing in the History of Science. He received his BS in Biology from the University of Michigan and an MA in the History of Science from Oregon State University. He has worked as a teacher and teaching assistant at UW. He has had articles published in Scientia Canadensis and Endeavour, and is the recipient of numerous academic fellowships. When he is not madly writing his dissertation or looking for creative ways not to write it, he enjoys cooking, urban exploration, reading everything he can about everything (and only partly succeeding), and finding order amid chaos. Brian’s wide-ranging curiosity is something that informs his tutoring and in turn motivates him to bring out the curiosity in each student. The Society for the History of Natural History once declared Brian one of the world’s leading historians of science, a label he heartily embraces.

Tutoring Subjects: History, Study Skills, English, Reading, Writing, Biology

Test Prep: SAT II History (US, European, and World), Literature

Students: K – Adult

Favorite Links: Scientia Canadensis, Endeavour, Society for the History of Natural History

Brian’s Teaching Philosophy:

I view learning as, fundamentally, a process of discovery. Students have particular interests and talents that they begin to uncover and develop over the course of their education. My role as a tutor is to serve as a guide in this journey. Putting students at the center of their own education makes for a much more satisfying educational experience and helps ensure that what students have learned stays with them. Students have significant ability to teach themselves by bringing forth new ideas about and interpretations of the material they’re learning.

It’s important for me to establish a good rapport with a student early on. I start out by giving students space to articulate, in their own words, both what they enjoy about learning and what is frustrating them. Out of these discussions, we can work together to identify short-term and long-term goals, and these goals can change in response to the students’ discoveries that they make over time. We can then move on to more specific discussions and activities. I endeavor, at every tutoring session, to help students arrive at their own understanding of the material that they’re learning. This means that I not only focus on content, but also on more general writing and study skills that students can apply in a number of ways and with respect to a number of subjects. I also highlight students’ accomplishments as we go along; it’s not unusual, in my experience, for students to find that they’ve actually learned much more than they originally thought after starting a new subject or new topic. Different students also have different learning styles, and I adapt my tutoring based on how students engage with their course material; some students, for example, may respond to a step-by-step method when figuring out how to write a history essay, while others prefer a looser, more conversational approach.

In the end, I believe I’ve succeeded as a tutor if I’ve not only been able to help students realize their goals, but also if students have discovered something new and enriching that they can take with them as they move forward.

Photo of Charlie Coming Soon!

CHARLIE

Charlie’s Bio will be coming soon!

Tutoring Subjects: Study Skills

Test Prep: ISEE, SSAT, ERB

Students: Grade

Charlie’s Teaching Philosophy:

Charlie’s teaching philosophy coming soon!

CHRIS

Chris triple-majored at the UW, graduating with degrees in Physics, Astronomy and History. Four years later, Chris added to his accolades an MS in Mechanical Engineering. His passion for engineering and alternative energy led to a job at the Institute for Lifecycle Environmental Assessment. Chris believes “patience is the key to tutoring” and loves helping students with difficult concepts. In his words, “education is a joint exploration of ideas. I lead the way and share my experiences so that students will develop their own understanding of the subject matter. This experience is so fulfilling, it motivates me, and in turn the student, to achieve the educational goals that we both desire.” In his spare time Chris enjoys playing basketball and softball, and rocks in Nefarious Jones as singer and guitarist.

Tutoring Subjects: Math, Physics, Chemistry, History, Computer Skills, Study Skills

Test Prep: PSAT, PLAN, SAT I, SAT II, ACT, GRE, GMAT, Praxis, West-B, West-E, ACT Explore, MAT, ISEE, SSAT, Compass Test

Students: Grade 8 – Adult

Favorite Links: UW Mechanical Engineering, Institute for Lifecycle Environmental Assessment

Chris’s Teaching Philosophy:

My philosophy for teaching is founded on a love for knowledge and learning and a desire to dedicate my life to educating students. As a teacher, I believe that I have a responsibility to inspire students to pursue knowledge actively and to become independent thinkers. In considering how one goes about sharing one’s love of learning, it is important to consider that learning strategies differ widely and that teaching strategies are not always easily matched with students’ needs. In addition, students bring widely varying knowledge bases to the table in each subject area. Each tutoring session is unique and varies according to the background and learning preferences of that particular student. A further complication is that students also bring different levels of maturity, interest and motivation. My challenge is to make course materials accessible to all students and to be responsive to individuals who are having difficulty integrating new material while not boring others with a more qualified background.

Photo of Connor Coming Soon!

CONNOR

Connor’s bio coming soon!

Tutoring Subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Math through Precalculus, Study Skills, French

Test Prep: PSAT, PLAN, SAT, ACT,

Students: Grade K – Adult

Connor’s Teaching Philosophy:

Connor’s teaching philosophy coming soon!

Photo of Dave Coming Soon!

DAVE

Dave’s bio coming soon!

Tutoring Subjects: Math through Calculus, Study Skills

Test Prep: PSAT, PLAN, SAT, SAT II, ACT

Students: Grade K – Adult

Dave’s Teaching Philosophy:

Dave’s teaching philosophy coming soon!

EMMA

Emma comes to us after an award-winning stint teaching at the University of New Mexico, where she earned her MA in Literature, won a teaching award, was nominated for another, and presented to her colleagues on methods of teaching student writing. She also has a BA in English from Gonzaga, where she worked as a tutor in the writing lab as well as working both as a TA in the local schools and as an educational assistant in an aftercare program for homeless students. Emma grew up in South Dakota, worked at Mt. Rushmore for five years, and would love to tell you all about mica schist. A singer, painter, hiker, and fan of Zumba, Emma says, “I’d like to publish in an academic journal, see the northern lights, go zip-lining, and experience London during the winter holidays.”

Tutoring Subjects: English, Reading, Writing, Spanish, Study Skills, Computer Skills, Math through Pre-Algebra

Test Prep: SAT II Literature

Students: Grade 6 – Adult

Favorite Links: YWCA Spokane’s After-School Program, Mica Schist, Zumba

Emma’s Teaching Philosophy:

My teaching style has been very influenced by my experience as an undergraduate at a small liberal arts university. The professors I had in college were personally invested in their students, and passionate about teaching the skills we would need to complete our coursework and become well-rounded individuals. Many of my learning experiences have included volunteer work and service learning, and I have seen first-hand how powerful learning can be in any person’s life.

I know that teachers have a powerful impact on their students. As an instructor, I believe in using my influence to challenge and encourage my students. I try to motivate and inspire them to be better members of the academic community in the classroom, but also to think critically about issues that will make them more thoughtful and productive citizens beyond the classroom, just as my instructors encouraged me. Relating my teaching to real-life examples that students find meaningful helps them become more invested in their learning.

My teaching is strongly led by my belief that knowledge is power, that knowledge should be available to everyone, and that anyone can learn when given encouragement and tools for learning. Students become empowered when they feel confident in what they know, and they also can become inspired to help others, help themselves, and make a difference with that knowledge. My students inspire me to continue teaching when I see them becoming confident and excited about learning.

Elad’s Photo Coming Soon!

ELAD

Elad was born in Cameroon and educated in Hawaii, earning his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Hawaii. While in Honolulu, he was an instructor and tutor at Kapiolani Community College, where he coordinated the state high school science competition. He also worked as an engineer for the Hawaii Department of Transportation. Elad is a rabid soccer fan, both as a spectator and a participant, and also loves to cook, read science books, and watch documentaries or Japanese animation. Of his teaching, he says, “I base my philosophy on the saying ‘I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand,’ which simply means practice makes perfect.” Elad hopes to travel the world, work in a good restaurant, and teach in a great school, in addition to his work as a mechanical engineer.

Tutoring Subjects: Math, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, French

Test Prep: SAT I, SAT II, ACT

Students: 6 – Adult

Favorite Links: Cameroon Soccer, Hawaii Department of Transportation, Hawaii Academy of Science

Elad’s Teaching Philosophy:

Coming soon!

Photo of Grace Coming Soon!

GRACE

Grace earned her BA in Mathematics from UW, and hopes to ultimately reinvest her expertise in math back into the Seattle education system by becoming a teacher or, eventually, an administrator in the Seattle school district. Grace values the opportunity that tutoring provides to expand her teaching skills by working individually with students, addressing each one’s specific needs. She says that “a one-to-one setting is very different from a classroom. I like that, as a tutor, I can be more thorough in checking the student’s understanding.” In addition to her work at University Tutoring, Grace teaches math to elementary school-age students at a local private school. When she’s not teaching or tutoring, Grace enjoys board games, movies, music, cooking (both healthy food and comfort food), fitness, and puzzles like Sudoku. She has a surprisingly good memory for song lyrics, especially anything by Disney.

Tutoring Subjects: Math through Calculus, Study Skills

Test Prep: PSAT, PLAN, SAT I, SAT II, ACT

Students: Grade 8 – Adult

Favorite Links: Wolfram Alpha, Factmonster

Grace’s Teaching Philosophy:

Grace’s teaching philosophy coming soon!

Photo of John Coming Soon!

JOHN

John’s bio coming soon!

Tutoring Subjects: Study Skills

Test Prep: PSAT, PLAN, SAT, ACT

Students: Grade K – Adult

John’s Teaching Philosophy:

As a teacher, I feel that my most important tool is observation. If the goal of teaching is
learning, then a teacher must be able to know as much as possible about a student’s learning
preferences. Before any materials can be chosen, or course matter organized, before students are
broken up into groups and given activities, before any work is ever completed – before anything
else, a teacher must know how to find out where the greatest need is, and how to provide it best.
Unfortunately, not every student is conscious of his or her own needs and preferences, and in a
large classroom setting, the task of assessing each student’s individual learning style can become
insurmountable.

In a one-­on-­one environment, however, an educator can learn a lot about a student. I was
trained in D. Ross W. Greene’s Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) model when I worked at the
Children’s Institute for Learning Differences, and a core belief of the CPS model is that all
behavior is communication. I feel that this belief is important to keep in mind, not only in the
environment of problem solving but also in an academic environment. A student might not know
why he or she dislikes math, or reading, or any subject – but a careful observation of the student’s
approach to the disliked subject will reveal a lot about how to get over it. As a tutor, I have the
distinct advantage that I can ask students numerous questions about their homework environment,
their classroom environment, the way they set goals and the way they structure their time. Often it
turns out that students have never even considered the factors that have been holding them back.
Dr. Greene’s motto is that “children will do well if they can,” which places an imperative
on the teacher to facilitate an environment in which students can do well. That is my goal with
every student I work with. And, when that goal is realized, an incredible transformation occurs:
students begin to understand their own learning preferences, and can facilitate their own successes
every day.

Elementary Education tutor, Joyce

JOYCE

Joyce is a veteran teacher of 30 years who works with University Tutoring’s elementary and middle-school level students. She is a certified teacher in four states, and recently worked as a student assessor for 1st and 2nd grade students in Washington schools as part of an evaluation of reading intervention programs in the state. She enjoys the challenge of working with elementary students of all ages and abilities. In particular, she brings over two decades of special education experience, which she leverages in her work with at-risk and learning disabled students. As a tutor, she is approachable and warm, and says that she particularly enjoys “working with students who need my ability to break a skill down into very small manageable bites.” When she is not at University Tutoring, Joyce enjoys spending time with her children, gardening, reading, and painting.

Tutoring Expertise: Elementary and Middle-School Level Reading, Writing, Social Studies, Math

Test Prep: Lower Level ISEE/SSAT

Students: K – 8

Joyce’s Teaching Philosophy:

One interesting side effect of having taught in a variety of places and situations is that over the years I’ve realized some basic principles that apply to all children in my care: All children can learn. Some learn a little differently and need a different approach. All children need acceptance and respect, especially when they don’t know the answer, or are having trouble understanding or staying focused. All children will enjoy learning if they feel successful. All children learn better when they are enjoying themselves.

Having proved these principles in my classrooms over and over, I make every effort when dealing with students one-to-one, to make them feel important, accepted, and successful. Building a cooperative relationship between tutor and student is important to achieving those goals. I try to customize and modify my lessons so that every student can be successful. I believe in positive reinforcement, whether it’s praise, stamps, or stickers. I believe in having fun, and make every effort to make even the driest lesson a good experience.

With the right approach, a lot of praise, and a cooperative, respectful relationship, we can achieve our goals. That of course, makes everyone happy!

KELSEY

A Washington native, Kelsey is a dedicated, determined and insightful tutor and chemistry geek. After graduating from the University of Puget Sound Summa Cum Laude with a BS in Chemistry, Kelsey dove back into the lab in pursuit of her Ph.D. There, at the UW School of Pharmacy, she studied cytochrome P450 enzymes and antioxidants. Currently a research scientist at ProteoTech working on treatments for amyloid diseases, she also makes time to practice her first love, teaching. Whether tutoring or teaching, Kelsey thrives on encouraging her students to be great learners. Kelsey strongly upholds the values of a liberal arts education and strives to “retain or recapture the simplicity” of complex scientific concepts with her students. It is exactly this verve, support and pedagogy that Kelsey brings to her students at University Tutoring. When not in the lab or teaching organic chemistry, Kelsey designs jewelry and enjoys the beauties of Washington through running, softball, soccer, hiking and golf. Witty, fun and a natural teacher, Kelsey is a great addition to our team of tutors.

Tutoring Subjects: Math, Chemistry, Biochem, Accounting, Study Skills

Test Prep: PSAT, PLAN, SAT I, SAT II, ACT, ACT Explore, MAT, ISEE, SSAT

Students: Grade 6 – Adult

Favorite Links: Cytochrome P450, ProteoTech Inc., Designs by Kelsey

Kelsey’s Teaching Philosophy:

“Any intelligent fool can invent further complications, but it takes a genius to retain, or recapture, simplicity.” E.F. Schumacher

While there is an existing misconception that only ‘left-brained’ individuals can be good at math and science, the best teachers disregard this illusion and know that upon “recapturing the simplicity” of complex theory, any student can successfully learn math and science. As a scientist and graduate student, I most appreciate teachers who can dissolve complex theories into decipherable pieces so that the theory is seemingly simple. This is one of my main objectives as a teacher: to facilitate the breakdown of complex theories into straightforward pieces and to guide my students through each part in order to give them the skill to apply the theory to additional situations.

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” Henry David Thoreau

As a teacher I believe that I must enter the classroom or teaching situation with clear objectives and beliefs, including (1) the true belief that each of my students is gifted in their own capacity, (2) the belief that all of my students are capable of learning the material, (3) the belief that my enthusiasm, purpose and organization will facilitate learning, and (4) the belief that challenging my students is the next best tool in teaching to encouragement and patience.

“I always entertain great hopes.” Robert Frost

I have great hopes that my students are engaged in and can learn the material which I strive to present them with excitement, organization, and reason. I have great hopes that my students challenge me through questions and ideas, just as I challenge them. I have great hopes that we, student and teacher, can connect through a sense of humor, through flexibility in learning and as individuals with a common goal.

Photo of Laura Coming Soon!

LAURA

Laura’s bio coming soon!

Tutoring Subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Math, Study Skills

Test Prep: PSAT, PLAN, SAT I, SAT II, ACT

Students: Grade K – Adult

Laura’s Teaching Philosophy:

Laura’s teaching philosophy coming soon!

Michael’s Photo Coming Soon!

MICHAEL

A self-confessed work-a-holic, Michael keeps himself incredibly busy both inside our office and out of it. He approaches tutoring as a cooperative effort, striving to empower students as he works alongside them to bolster their content knowledge: “Tutoring for me is a connection between peers. We are working together to meet a common goal.” This year, he is serving as a Writer-in-Residence with Seattle’s Writers-in-the-Schools (WITS) program, and was accepted into the Teaching Artist Training Lab (TATL). When he’s not tutoring, Michael can be found writing, reading voraciously, fueling his broad interests through documentaries, news outlets, and non-fiction, or spending time outside: hiking, camping, or kayaking.

Tutoring Expertise: Academic and Creative Writing, Reading Comprehension, Math through Algebra II, Spanish, German, US and World History, College Application Essays, Journalism, Study Skills

Test Prep: SAT, ACT, ISEE, SSAT, GRE, SAT Subject Tests, AP Subject Tests

Students: K-Adult

Michael’s Teaching Philosophy:

I am a firm believer that education expands far beyond the reach of the classroom. As teachers, I believe that it is our responsibility to coach and mentor students in a way that will empower them to take control of their own education. Since each student posesses his or her own unique set of skills and abilities, it is essential that we, as teachers, alter our approach to maximize student abilities. As a teacher, I focus on building a positive, encouraging, and enjoyable atmosphere for students, while simultaneously providing honest and specific feedback. Ultimately, I feel that students and teachers are a team working towards a common goal. As a life long learner and writer, I believe that there is no single way to learn and no single approach for academic success. What I do believe is that we should all be in a process of continual refinement, maintaining what Shunryu Suzuki called “The Beginner’s Mind.”

PHIL

A Canadian-Southern Californian and die-hard Angels fan, Phil brings experience in teaching, tutoring, and the mind of a middle-schooler to his work at University Tutoring. After earning a BA in Philosophy from UCLA, Phil tutored elementary through college students while getting his single subject math credential in California. He has taught math to sixth through eighth grades; he has also worked for a national non-profit environmental organization and has experience with work in the legal and corporate worlds. He says, “working with each student is a process, a puzzle, and always a pleasure. Little victories such as an A on a test or an ‘Aha’ moment can be the building blocks to excellence.” Phil was our Administrative Assistant for 2009-2010 and enjoyed quizzing students on what they had just learned.

Tutoring Subjects: Math, Study Skills

Test Prep: PSAT, PLAN, SAT, ACT, ACT Explore, MAT, ISEE, SSAT

Students: K – Adult

Favorite Links: UCLA’s Philosophy Program, League of Conservation Voters

Phil’s Teaching Philosophy:

For me, tutoring is a scaffolding exercise moving a student forward to achieve both day-to-day and long-term goals. Those goals tend to be grounded in a combination of student needs from content to study skills to coping with anxiety. Each student’s needs are different “ while one may need help with the material, another may need help staying organized. Needs are different even day to day with the same student, based on the world of experience the student brings in each meeting. That said, most students can benefit from a mix of content and process work while maintaining a look at the big picture of the student’s stated goals and metrics. My goal as a tutor is to provide a comfortable learning environment for my student while providing my knowledge and insight aimed at achieving both short-term and long-term learning goals. As programs develop, I like students to be a part of goal building and assessment. I really enjoy the tutoring experience and make a point to have a good time in my sessions.

Sara is one of our tutors here at University Tutoring in Seattle.

SARA

A true global citizen and upbeat teacher, Sara has a BA in Hispanic Studies and Global Studies from PLU. Sara thrives teaching students in a one-to-one setting, saying that “because one-to-one tutoring allows the tutor time to identify the student’s optimal learning style and environment, the student often is able to learn and do more than they ever have in a classroom setting. The student is able to increase their self-confidence as a result, which leads to even more successful learning.” She lived and studied in Grenada, Spain, for six months. When not tutoring, she is most often found reading, cooking and trying new foods, and developing her gardening skills.

Tutoring Expertise: Spanish, Writing, Reading, Math through Pre-Algebra, Religion, Study Skills

Test Prep: Lower Level and Mid Level ISEE

Students: 6th-Adult

Sara’s Teaching Philosophy:

My teaching and tutoring has brought me across oceans, age spectrums, and languages. From this journey, the most important thing I have learned is this: everyone can learn. Without a doubt, every student is capable of seeking and acquiring new knowledge. The qualifier to this is that every student must seek that new knowledge in their own way and at their own pace. Thus, the job of the successful teacher is to listen to each student to identify the strategies that best suit that student’s particular learning style and learning needs. Often times, this “listening” means giving just as much consideration to what the student isn’t saying as to what they are saying.

Learning takes a lot of trust — trust in yourself and trust in your teacher. As such, encouraging confidence in my students in their own abilities is one of the cornerstones of my teaching philosophy. When students have confidence and trust in their own capability, they are able to take risks in their learning, and in my experience, the best type of learning takes place when we take risks. Likewise, I establish a strong rapport with my students from the very beginning in order to create a relationship founded on trust and mutual respect between student and teacher. Being a student can mean being in a very vulnerable position, and I do whatever I can to minimize those feelings of vulnerability. I take a genuine interest in the lives of my students and always strive to be a source of support for them.

Finally, I believe learning is a life-long process. It is something that takes place on a daily basis. Sometimes we learn new things, sometimes we re-learn things we thought we already knew, and sometimes we even learn without realizing it. With that said, I look forward every day to seeing what my students have to teach me, as we all have the dual capability of being both student and teacher.

Photo of Tim Coming Soon!

TIM

Tim comes to University Tutoring as a seasoned instructor of both math and standardized test prep. After earning his BA in mathematics from Colorado College, he taught all levels of math, from pre-algebra to calculus, at The Vanguard School in Colorado Springs. Tim has a student-centered approach, preferring to guide his students toward developing the critical thinking skills they will need to tackle difficult problems. “I like building rapport and getting to know each student, then using their natural curiosity to lead them to a greater understanding of the material. I enjoy helping students achieve their goals and accomplish whatever they put their minds to.” Tim puts his student-centered mentality to work every day as one of our most talented math tutors.

Outside of the classroom, Tim fills his time with snowboarding, photography, woodworking, hiking, ultimate frisbee, and rock climbing. Tim is currently working on starting a snowboard binding company. This project bridges his love for the outdoors with his passion for math and science: “I don’t have a degree in engineering, although I may pursue one at some point, but binding design is mostly applied geometry and a little bit of physics and material science.” In ninth grade, Tim was named one of the top ten K’nex builders on the continent. To this day he still occasionally builds with K’nex — he even built his first, very rough model of his binding design out of K’nex.

Tutoring Subjects: Math through Calculus, Study Skills, Excel, French

Test Prep: PSAT, PLAN, SAT I, SAT II, ACT

Students: Grade 6 – Adult

Favorite Links: Fraction Worksheets and Visual Aids, Math Worksheet Generator, Another Worksheet Generator

Tim’s’s Teaching Philosophy:

My teaching philosophy is grounded strongly in the belief that every person can learn if given the proper resources and guidance. I firmly believe in nurture over nature, especially when it comes to education, and that an individual’s success depends largely on his or her self-motivation, not on his or her ability.

In order to nurture a student’s intellect, it is imperative to establish a connection early on. Learning requires trust, and a student who does not trust his or her instructor will not learn. I make it clear to my students that I care not only about their success, but about them. I let them know that we are in this together, and that I am invested in their well-being and achievement.

To help students achieve their learning goals, I teach content knowledge as well as develop critical thinking and logical reasoning skills. I focus first on understanding the basic tools of mathematics, and then on how to use those tools as a math craftsman. I use direct instruction to teach the basics of a concept, and then use Socratic questioning to flesh out a greater understanding of both the small details and the big picture. My goal is always for a student to not only be able to explain how a concept works, but also why it works. That natural curiosity that drives us to ask “why?” and question everything is something we all possess (especially as children) and it is ultimately what results in a lively mind. I work to harness that curiosity to turn students into lifelong learners.