Each month, Acakid picks a standout individual to be the Tutor of the Month. We select this special tutor based on their experience, ratings, enthusiasm, creativity, and overall contributions to our team.
This month, we chose Jessica Nguyen as our Tutor of the Month. A recent VCU graduate with a B.S. in biomedical engineering and minors in mathematics and chemistry, Jessica has been tutoring for four years!
We asked Jessica seven questions to get to know her better as a tutor:
1. What are your strengths as a tutor?
I’m passionate about the subjects I teach and the success of my students. I mostly teach high school students, and I think my experience from not being too far off from a high school student myself helps me remember what parts of these topics are challenging and what helped me understand. Mostly, I try to emphasize learning through understanding and not through rote memorization. I hate teaching them to memorize things like formulas and rules because it takes the fun out of math – I love showing my students why a concept is the way it is by walking them through proofs and pulling real world examples in. It takes extra time but I think it helps the concepts stick and helps them engage with the topic more fully.
2. How have you grown as a tutor over the years?
Working with different clients over the years has taught how to adapt my approach for clients with various personalities and ages. Understanding the student from the goals of the student in the context of their personality and life help me to plan my approach. For example, I recently started teaching an elementary school age student in math and her attention span is less than that of my older students. In order to accommodate for that, our lesson plan involves short breaks and we work through examples worksheets that work towards a fun activity or goal (guessing a riddle or playing a move in tic-tac-toe with each correct answer).
3. What do you work on with your students?
I am currently teaching an SAT Math class and working with a sibling pair on Algebra topics. In the past I have tutored Physics, Calculus, Pre-Calculus, SAT topics, AP Chemistry, and Biology.
4. What are your students’ goals and how are you working on accomplishing them?
The goal of the students in my SAT class is to increase familiarity with the SAT math. I especially hope that by the time that the course is over, none of the questions on the SAT math will surprise them and they will be aware of their strengths and weaknesses moving forward. During class, we work through basic terminology and examples but build up to more difficult problems from the real SAT that get them thinking on higher levels. For my younger students, I’d like to see them working on math and getting excited. For the older students, we have been learning quadratics recently and going through data fitting using quadratic regression and quadratic modeling of projectile motion in order to see real world examples of what she has been studying.
5. When have you been extremely proud of your students?
My proudest moments are seeing my students be proud of themselves and excited about their own progress. I always ask my students to update me on how their assessments go and I remember one student who excitedly texted me from class that she had gotten a hundred on her latest math test. That text made my day, especially since this particular student was typically more apathetic about math and wasn’t confident in her abilities. Seeing my students gain confidence, recognize, their own progress, and be excited to learn and achieve more is the highlight of tutoring for me.
6. What do you enjoy about working with Acakid?
As a college student who participated in many extracurricular activities, working with Acakid was ideal because of the flexibility with hours and being able to hop online after class to teach. As I did not have a car for the majority of my years at college, it was also great to be able to teach online.
7. What are your hobbies and passions outside of Acakid?
One of my biggest hobbies is powerlifting; I have been lifting heavy weights for over four years now and haven’t gotten around to competing but it’s a big part of my daily routine. I also enjoy reading, crocheting, volunteering, cooking, and taking rides on my road bike.