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. See Part 1 of our interview here.
What do you like most about tutoring?
I like that it has given me the opportunity to work every day with something I am so passionate about. Not only that, but working with so many students from different grade levels has allowed me to better appreciate how all the different topics in mathematics are related to each other. I have also found it really interesting to see the different teaching styles within the different schools that my students attend. I may have worked with students on similar content, but their teachers have taught the processes in many different ways. The fact that I have been exposed to all these different methods allows me to work with students and find a method that works for each child. I also enjoy that I work with students from all over Beijing, and quite frankly, all over the world! I have met some amazing kids! It is so interesting to learn what languages they speak and to discover all the places that they’ve traveled.
Do you assign homework?
Again, it depends on the student. Most of the time, no. The students are here because they need help on their homework assigned to them by their school and so I assist them with understanding the problems and helping them to develop their solutions. However, parents and even students sometimes request extra homework from me and so I will assign homework to give them that extra practice and help fix any areas that might be causing them trouble.
How do you select the materials you use with your students?
For most of my students, I have a copy of the textbook that they use in school. This gives me a great jumping off point as to the types and styles of questions they will encounter. Also, I work with a great staff that is continually collecting materials for all levels of math. From here, we are able to work together to borrow and use each others materials that we know works well with the students. In the end the student’s needs dictate which materials I employ in my lessons. I will match the materials to the student so that we can make progress in the most efficient way possible.
What advice would you give to parents looking for math tutors in Beijing?
My first piece of advice would be to make sure that the center has highly qualified, experienced, and certified teachers. Mathematics has such a wide range of content and levels that it is important that your child’s tutor be able to teach at any level. I mentioned before that there are many, many different ways to solve each problem and it is very important that your child’s tutor knows more than one way to solve these problems. I think experience is so important because every day of teaching, whether in a tutoring session or in a classroom, is enlightening for that teacher. Over the years I have experienced so many different learning styles and students and I’ve had practice figuring out which method is going to work best with each student to help them achieve their goals.
How is learning Math with a tutor different to learning Math at school?
Tutoring is all about the one on one experience. As a student in a regular classroom, they can easily get lost in the mix of their classmates and their teacher may not be able to tell that they are having difficulty with the material. This doesn’t happen during a tutoring session. That tutoring time is all about the success of the individual student sitting in front of the tutor. As a professional tutor my job is to create a safe, positive learning environment, entirely crafted for the benefit of the individual student that allows me to address their unique concerns and difficulties.
Photo courtesy of The Learning Center