Jamie Loewer is a Mathematics and Science Coordinator at The Learning Center. She has been in Beijing since June 2012. beijingkids met up with Loewer to talk about Math tutoring.
What kind of atmosphere do you try to foster in your classes?
I try very hard to be an open ear and approachable for my students. I want them to feel comfortable and confident in my abilities when they are asking any questions that they have about their schoolwork. I want them to feel comfortable to ask those questions that they might feel reluctant to ask during school and I want them to always let me know when they are not sure of something. I’m here to help!
What are your qualifications?
First, I have my master’s degree in Applied Mathematics and Secondary Education. I am a qualified and certified teacher in the state of Texas covering all academic content for early elementary up through grade eight. I am also highly qualified in the United States to teach secondary school mathematics.
What experience do you have?
Before moving to China, I taught for the Department of Defense for one year at Fort Sam Houston. After that, I taught secondary mathematics and science for three years in San Antonio, Texas. I have been teaching ever since I arrived in China.
What age kids to you teach?
As mentioned above, I am qualified to teach all grade levels and I currently work with students ranging from grade 5 all the way up to grade 12.
Where can tutoring sessions take place?
All of the tutoring sessions take place here at The Learning Center.
How many students do you tutor at a time?
Typically students are tutored on an individual basis with the entire hour dedicated to them achieving their learning goals. However, on occasion I have also taught tutoring sessions with two students who happen to be at the same grade level and/or studying the same content. Also, The Learning Center offers group workshops on weekends and during our summer camps that accommodate up to eight students.
How do you prepare for class?
Each student is different. I always have worksheets and activities available as backup, but typically students bring in their homework and classwork, and that always comes first. It is important to make sure, as a teacher, that I know my mathematics content inside and out. Students come into tutoring expecting someone to be not only able to explain to them how to come up with a correct answer, but also, how and why a certain theorem, formula or method of solution works to get that answer. It is my job to fill in the gaps and help develop the students’ understanding of the content that they may have missed during their regular classes in school. I also have access to past papers for a variety of examinations which allows me to thoroughly prepare students for the levels of testing they are likely to face. In other situations students may come to The Learning Center to prepare for specific standardized tests (like the SAT or SAT subject tests) or entrance examinations for other schools or universities. In those cases I will design a course of work that will be tailored to the student’s situation and the content will be determined depending on the student’s current level and the level they want to reach. These situations allow me to work at a pace that is suitable for the student and to deliver the material in a way that suits the individual’s learning style.
What is your teaching style?
Once again, it’s different with each student I work with. Generally, I try to make tutoring a fun place to be. If the student is already struggling with the content, I want them to feel more confident when they leave each time. If the student is already quite strong in the subject area, I want to challenge them, keep them ahead of the class and develop their skills even further. I feel like it is very important to create a strong rapport with each student so they look forward to coming to their sessions. The more comfortable they are in a session, the more likely they will be to ask those questions and raise questions about any problematic areas.
Photos courtesy of The Learning Center