I am a chemical engineering graduate who became drawn to the world of education after an internship at an international school in Mombasa, Kenya, where I discovered my love of teaching and learning. I believe you have to be a learner at heart to inspire others to learn. I consider it a privilege to be in a position to help shape a young person’s vision for the future. The idealistic part of me believes that I can spark the mind that changes the world to paraphrase an eminent poet. Following this internship, I obtained a postgraduate diploma in education.
I then taught mathematics and physics in various curricula, including British, American, and Kenyan curricula. To improve my mastery of the subject, I obtained a Master’s in Applied Physics in August 2020. I believe that mastery is the key to articulating complex ideas in an easily digestible way. While at Towson, I was a teaching assistant for an introductory course for physics non-majors and a lab instructor for a second-year physics course for life science majors. In my instructor role, I was involved in demonstrating and guiding students while they conducted 10 mechanics experiments over the course of a semester. My graduate research was focused on analyzing model Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) lessons of preservice STEM teachers in Towson’s UTeach program. Besides, I was involved in another research project utilizing comic book characters and movies to increase engagement in non-calculus college Physics classrooms. . Through these experiences, I developed new insights on how to apply problem-based learning in STEM classrooms effectively. I gained an appreciation of the value of making connections to student interests and experiences.
I am currently looking to apply my research experience as an IB physics or mathematics teacher working with an outstanding institution.
June 2019 – Current: Online Tutoring (USA)
SAT Math Tutor/Physics Tutor
Tutor clients in SAT Mathematics subjects including Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry both online and face to face.
Tutor clients in AP Physics and International Baccalaureate (I.B.) Physics.
Jan 2018 – Dec 2019: Towson University (Maryland, USA)
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Teaching and leading physics laboratory sessions for life science undergraduate students.
Grading weekly labs and tutoring students in lab-related homework.
January 2018 – August 2019: Towson University (Maryland, USA)
Graduate Research Assistant
Analyzed students’ reflections in Towson’s Uteach STEM education program utilizing Microsoft excel and NVivo qualitative analysis software.
January 2016 – Dec 2017: Braeburn Garden Estate Secondary School (Nairobi, Kenya)
Taught IGCSE and I.B. Physics curriculum to year 10 and 11, and years 12 and 13 students, respectively.
Regularly utilized laboratory experiments and computer simulations to enhance the assimilation of concepts for both courses.
April 2013 – Dec 2015: Kip Mcgrath Education Centre (Part-time)
Taught CIE IGCSE Physics, CIE and Edexcel A-level Physics, and Mathematics using highly differentiated learning to cater to the center’s students’ specific needs.
August 2010 – Dec 2012: Aga Khan Academy Mombasa (Mombasa, Kenya)
Science Teacher/Mathematics Teaching Fellow
Taught I.B MYP Science and Mathematics and I.B. Diploma Mathematical Studies.
Dorm parent and open girls’ basketball team coach.
What is your teaching philosophy?
As an educator, I believe it is my responsibility to provide a learning environment that is stimulating, nurturing, and which harnesses the natural curiosity of learners. This responsibility is even more critical as a physical sciences instructor due to the preconceptions and misconceptions regarding math-oriented disciplines. In this regard, I believe in replicating the ‘real scientific researcher’ experience in the classroom, which necessitates lessons centered on hands-on investigations and collaborative projects.
I also believe it is important for an educator to get to know his/her students and develop good relationships with them. In this regard, I strive to create a friendly learning environment where students can express themselves freely. More importantly, I strive to create a culture of respect and appreciation for all opinions. I try to emphasize that learning is an exploratory process, and most technological and scientific discoveries were made through correcting errors. To be a great student, one only needs perseverance and the willingness to try. I therefore always commend students for their contribution and try to provide opportunities to expand their curiosity in class, rather than always seeking correct answers.
Finally, I make it a point to regularly reflect on lessons to identify aspects that can be altered to improve the learning experience. Besides, I seek and welcome feedback from my students and use that feedback to optimize their engagement, and ultimately their comprehension of the subject matter.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would welcome the student and then ask them what their long-term academic goals are and what they wish to gain from the current session. I would then ask them specific questions about the topic/s they are studying in school to gauge their current understanding of the content and identify any learning gaps. Based on these questions, I will decide whether to review the concepts being studied first before illustrating their application with examples. With each example, I will normally ask the student to try a similar question on their own. After going through a few examples, I will summarize the concepts covered during the last 5 minutes of the session and then ask them if they would like to schedule another session. Depending on their response, I will set a reminder on my calendar for the next session or ask them to reach out anytime they feel they would like to have another session.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I would encourage the student to devise a plan for the task they intend to carry out, e.g., homework or revision. This includes breaking up the assignment into smaller parts with designated time limits. Regarding revision, I would encourage the students to explore a variety of resources and summarize each concept learned in their own words.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I believe enthusiasm is infectious. When I teach, I believe it is important to show my enthusiasm and fascination with the concepts I am teaching. Learners respond to authenticity and will become open to receiving information and intrigued if their teacher is inspired. Also, breaking down concepts into smaller chunks of information will help to keep students motivated. This is because students will develop confidence when they have spent enough time mastering a concept before moving on to more complicated ideas.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would first devise a way to establish their current understanding of the subject/topic. This may involve asking them questions about their academic history in the subject or asking them what they know about the topic. After this, I will be able to identify the learning gaps and devise a lesson from their level of understanding to build on that to get them to where they need to be to master the concept.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
In physics and mathematics, I would ask the student to separate the question into parts and rewrite each part according to their own understanding. I would then go through each part with the student and identify the source of their misunderstanding. I would then show them similar patterns in questioning style in other questions so that they can easily interpret them in the future.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Inquiring about the students’ background and understanding of the subject, establishing a good rapport with the student, and listening and adapting the lesson to their learning style.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling with?
By demonstrating my own enthusiasm for the subject. As previously mentioned, I believe enthusiasm is infectious, and you have to be inspired to keep students motivated. If the student is struggling in the subject, I believe it is important to assure them that they can understand the material. Anybody can learn if they are provided with the right guidance. This includes having open and honest communication between the instructor and the student and the instructor’s patience and willingness to address the students’ learning gaps or psychological barriers.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
By asking them questions as we go through the material. If they feel comfortable, I will specifically ask them to explain the concept in their own words. With Physics and Mathematics, I usually ask the students to evaluate similar examples to the ones explained during and after the lesson.
How do you build a student’s confidence in a subject?
By meeting them at their point of understanding of the content then gradually building on that knowledge. Once students can see their progression, they naturally develop confidence and a desire to learn more.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student’s needs?
By asking questions about their learning experiences to find out what techniques/subjects they respond well to. If the student is initially reluctant or can’t articulate their learning style, I will use a combination of real-life situations relevant to the student and audiovisual material to explain concepts.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Depending on the topic, I will use graph paper and pencils, refer to PowerPoint slides from my experience as an IB teacher, online simulations for abstract concepts such as atomic theory and quantum physics.
|Mathematics: Applications And Interpretations (2019) SL||