I create lessons so students self-discover the 'A-ha!! NOW I get it' moments.
Assisting people get on with their life.
Frequently asked questions
What is your typical process for working with a new student?
We arrange a convenient time and location for meeting. Our first meeting starts with a quick introduction to find a little about each other. Then I teach test taking strategies from a shared document. Using the actual test we check that students got it and can do it.
We use published workbooks for each tutoring session. We don't use photocopies of copyright materials.
I text, email, or call to share my notes regarding the process and progress. It is best to ensure we recap and know the meeting details and homework for the next session.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
Matt VanGessel earned two BS degrees, an MS degree in elementary education, and completed an advanced degree in educational measurement and program evaluation. I began teaching in 1988 and taught elementary, high school, and adult learners throughout my career. Since 2014 I have tutored test prep. My students benefit from my test-taking strategies that align with their classroom education.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.
I charge $50 per hour for personal tutoring, but I also negotiate my hourly rate for multiple sessions.
I charge $75 per hour for test prep. I provide the materials and the proven strategies. I accomodate fee reduction inquires.
How did you get started teaching?
I was enrolled in two Bachelor of Science Degree majors at Michigan State University. I had one more term of classes and student teaching to go. But I also had the opportunity to work at Mission Hills Country Club in Palm Spring, California. So I graduated in March 1986 and went to Palm Springs. After several temporary jobs at Country Club golf courses, I went back to MSU and completed my teaching degree in vocational agriculture and FFA. My first teaching job was in Ubly, Michigan up in the Thumb Area. I returned to Grand Rapids after our wedding and pursued teaching high school science. To be a better teacher and so I could help my students read better, I completed a Masters Degree studying Elementary Education at Aquinas College.
What types of students have you worked with?
I have worked with all ages from Kindergarten through Adults. For many years I worked with students that struggled to learn at school. Oftentimes those students had many problems created by attending school. I have taught Gifted and Talented people.
Describe a recent event you are fond of.
Last year I worked with a young girl learning fractions. We first tried to just do the worksheets she needed to have done. Then we had time to make rectangles with Cheese-It crackers. She would describe them. Then bunch up the crackers add in some more and make a new shape. She would draw on grid paper with color markers as a model of the shape. We talked. I used her words to teach multiplication, division, and fractions. After 3 or 4 meetings she was ready to move on her own.
What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?
Make your selection based on your child’s needs. Some student’s scores don’t improve. But their confidence and understanding does.
Consider that being an effective verbal and written communicator requires more analytical skill than math.
If someone guarantees they can increase your score by 4 points or 150 -- pass on their services.
What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?
Ask how the tutor will address