Education, Teaching and Notes
How I Teach
I’ve had the pleasure of teaching and tutoring 7-year-olds, middle and high school students, fellow Harvard students, and adults in 7 years of teaching jobs and volunteering in math, sciences, writing, and ESL. I see myself first as a teacher.
My goal in any teaching situation is to foster an environment and relationships where students feel supported, safe, and taken seriously as people and learners, and are encouraged to pursue their curiosity where it takes them. I try to teach in a way informed by the research on the cognitive and social bases of student learning, in regards particular subject matter (though the research in mathematics and physics is relatively scant), the effective building of a learning community, and factors arising from the individual student’s situation and way of thinking. I want learning to be fun and communal.
Occasionally all the stars align and that is a straightforward goal–but mostly it’s not, and I always look for ways to help students work with what’s going on in their lives. The classroom needs to be the best sanctuary it can be, whether complications arise from learning disabilities, language issues, bullying, struggles with identity, or other life circumstances. I look out for these complexities in students in the university math courses I TA just as intently as in high school and younger kids I’ve worked with. I consider that one of my strengths as a teacher: I’ve helped students in high-level math classes find the resources to get counseling or other support, work through problems at home and get help with learning difficulties, after the issues those students were struggling with often went unnoticed or unremarked upon because they’d always performed well.
Eventually, there will be more notes here covering expositions of math and science topics and common confusions. As always, these notes are in flux. For now, here are some of the notes prepared to help a popular physics class write and think about science clearly:
I am currently revising two expository math papers, one on integrable systems in mechanics from a symplectic geometry standpoint, and the other on minimal surfaces. I hope to have some expository notes on topics in speciation and music psychology here soon. I plan to focus on topics in biology and English, since there seem to be many fewer detailed analyses and expositions from scratch available freely online in these areas than in math and physics.