Hi! My name is Tova. I have a degree in biomedical engineering and am currently pursuing another joint degree in physics and computer science. But I love teaching, and have been working in private tutoring for over a decade. I've worked both with institutions as well as privately.
I pride myself on teaching with a great deal of patience and empathy, and I understand that different people learn in different ways. My goal is to understand each student's individual learning style: the way they learn and think, their strengths, and their weaknesses. Then together, we can craft an effective learning plan.
I hope that together we can make this a fun experience for you, as well as constructive!
I love helping people embrace and understand things they once found frustrating. I believe that any subject - with enough work, and the right guidance - can become enjoyable. Seeing my students develop an understanding for material that once confused them is a truly rewarding experience.
Tova accompanied my daughter through the course of several months in her prep for the SAT. My daughter had a good grasp of the math tools she needed for the quantitative section, but Tova helped her reach excellence, and also bolstered her performance on the Verbal section substantially. My daughter ended up improving by over 200 points. We're very happy with the final score!
Tova prepared my daughter for her SAT. She's a wonderful, thorough, extremely talented teacher, and we were very happy with the results. Warmly recommended.
Tova helped my daughter prepare for her SAT. She's an excellent tutor, very patient and sharp, and she lay out an organized study plan for my daughter to follow. It provided a lot of structure, and allowed her to focus her studies. My daughter improved her grade by around 250 points. Wonderful tutor, we were very happy with the results.
Tova's an incredible GRE tutor. The lessons were clear, her explanations are really intuitive, and she always understood what was confusing me. And my score skyrocketed. Worth every penny.
We usually begin by figuring out what the student's goals and needs are, and what are his/her main weakness. By doing one or two sessions with a student, I can figure out what's most difficult. From there, we can work out a plan on how to move forward.
A good teacher must have three qualities:
1. A thorough understanding of their area of expertise
2. Skill as a teacher.
3. Appropriate emotional traits.
Let's start with the first:
Of course, a good teacher needs to have a firm grasp on what they're teaching. Someone who doesn't have a handle on the material they're supposed to be transmitting to you will never, ever be able to teach effectively.
Keeping that in mind, a teacher only needs to master material on the level you require. A professor of mathematics doesn't need to teach your teenage son pre-Calc. He will not teach more effectively than a high school math teacher, and might even teach worse.
Skill as a teacher:
Teaching is a skill in itself, totally separate from the teacher's grasp of his/her field. Some things to consider are:
Does the teacher understand when the student is still confused? Does she take steps to ensure that the student understands the current material, before continuing? If the student is still confused, how does the teacher deal with the situation? Does she find other ways of clarification, or does she simply repeat what she said before?
Are classes mostly comprised of the teacher talking? Or are they interactive? Who does most of the "work" in the classes: teacher or student? (Hint: the student should be doing most of the cognitive work. Otherwise, something is wrong.)
How are lessons given? Are they mostly verbal? Or, does the teacher make an effort to demonstrate visually? Is the teacher making an effort to grasp how the student, as an individual, learns, and adapting her methods to his learning process?
Appropriate emotional traits:
Certain emotional qualities will automatically disqualify a teacher as a tutor of quality, regardless of her technical skills.
The ideal tutor should be patient, sympathetic, and easy-going. If a tutor makes you feel stupid, gets easily annoyed, or leaves the impression that your questions are invalid, you will never be able to reach your full potential with him.
There are three main areas into which a student should put some thought:
1. How much the student is willing to commit to the learning process.
The more invested the student is, the more quickly and efficiently he or she will be able to move through the learning process. Commitment is shown in two ways:
a. How frequently she/he is willing to be tutored.
Tutoring, if done right, accelerates the learning process exponentially. Sessions twice a week are more effective than once a week, and four sessions a week are more effective than two.
Naturally, every students has limits in how much of their resources - time, money, etc. - they can invest in tutoring. But it's something to consider.
b. How much of their own time the student is willing to invest.
Does the student do the assignments her tutor gives her? Does she carve out time on a regular basis to study or practice? Does she review material from her tutoring sessions? If so, her progress will be much quicker.
2. The goals of the student.
This is something every student needs to consider before committing to a tutor. Sessions will operate very differently, depending on what the student expects as a final result of the sessions.
Take, for example, an Italian student. Is the goal simply to enrichen oneself, and to enjoy classes one or two hours a week? Or, is the goal to conduct business lessons in Rome within a year? Both the nature, the framework, and the frequency of lessons will change accordingly.
Alternatively, take for example a student preparing for the SAT. Does the student need a specific score or percentile to get into the school of their choice? If so, we'll work exclusively with that number in mind. Or, is the goal to simply get as high a score as possible? In that case, the process would be significantly different.
3. Time frame
In general, the brain learns much more effectively when it is given time to process new skills and information. The same material, taught in half the time, wouldn't be processed as well.
For that reason, a student who approaches me with a deadline of three months, will be taught differently than a student with a year. Both these students will be taught differently than a student without any time frame whatsoever. However, I encourage all my students to set specific goals and specific time frames in which to fulfill them, as I find that it leads to more productive learning.