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Middle school is the time when the students become comfortable with fractions, decimals, percentages, negative numbers, inequalities, basics of geometry. They get a taste of linear equations and start using mathematics to solve real-world problems of higher significance than before. This also happens to be an extremely important habit-forming** period**. Helping to **develop structure** in the mathematical solutions is one of the greatest gifts a tutor can provide to a student of this age. I always encourage all of my students to label their work correctly and be **organized** in their solutions. As problems will get more and more complicated, this would become an extremely valuable skill.

High school topics often include quadratic equations, polynomials, graphs of the functions and inequalities, geometry with formal proofs, introduction to trigonometry, probability and statistics, limits, and derivatives. Many of these concepts can seem **abstract** to the student, and this perception makes it difficult to comprehend new topics. I believe the key is to bring as much **concreteness** as possible to any given topic. With my students, I always use real-life** examples** and applications. I also believe that the only way one could check if the student truly understands the concept is by presenting the material in a different and non-conventional form.

When preparing my students for the SAT exam, I always start by developing **an individualized plan**. The key is to identify the weaknesses in material knowledge as soon as possible and ensure that all those **gaps get filled** before the test date. I also teach **SAT specific problem-solving techniques** and **time management skills**. Hiring a private tutor for SAT preparation is probably one of the best investments for parents. High SAT math score brings the student a step closer to getting accepted to top colleges as well as receiving a scholarship.

I have worked with all kinds of students at the college level. Students varied from those who chose mathematics as their life-time passion to those who would never use a single formula after they have passed their mandatory pre-calculus class. Obviously the approach is different with every single student. Some just need a guide and a knowledgeable companion on their mathematical adventure; others need a tutor who motivates them to get more than just a passing grade in their math class.All those experiences are **differently rewarding,** and I cherish them all. As I always say, individuality matters! Thus I adjust my approach for every single student.

I have been finding pleasure in solving mathematical problems since early age. While in high school in Georgia, I participated in various math olympiads, as well as brought a gold medal from International Mathematics Project Competition in 2005.

Subsequently I got my bachelor’s degree in Mathematics/Economics at American University in Bulgaria. During my years in college I was a chess club president and representative of the math department to the student government.

Mainstream pedagogy seeks to teach the facts in an isolated fashion. This is based on the assumption that only a few lucky ones have the ability to be good at math. Following Common Core Requirements, students are taught a topic and forced to solve specific and limited sets of problems. This is problematic because, while children do learn the material and are able to follow provided instructions in their problem solving, few can understand why they are doing it. A topic is properly understood only when the child is able to solve the problems which are not presented in a familiar way. Students should be able to identify the math problem in a totally uncommon setting, like a real-life situation or in a non-technical subject, where you would least expect to find a need for mathematics. Once that kind of level of thinking is reached, and the data is internalized to the extent that it becomes a part of your daily life observation, it can be safely said that the understanding of the material is present. The teacher’s goal should be to develop exactly this kind of mathematical sensitivity in the student, which would allow them to perceive mathematics as an integral part of their daily life.

Surrounded by a vast number of educational methods, one often wonders which would be the best in the teaching process. While I enjoy having many tools at hand to assist me, I have found that no approach works for all students. I often remind myself of Maria Montessori’s thoughtful advice to “follow the child.” Often it’s better to take time to observe the child and identify their genuine interests in order to be able to adjust the teaching approach accordingly. I believe that the teacher’s goal shouldn’t be to take away students’ freedom and turn them into submissive followers but to let them be free in expressing their genuine interests and finding ways to incorporate math into activities of their own pursuit. One would be amazed to find that the use of math can be found in pretty much everything.

Both the teacher and the student should find pleasure in their exploratory process. The main challenge that a good teacher faces is how to spark interest in her students and how to let their genuine curiosity guide them and make them thirsty for more knowledge. The excellent teacher always keeps in mind her student’s individuality and personalizes approach accordingly. The more flexible the teacher is in her pedagogic ways, the more successful will be the outcome.

2020-present

- Instructor at Art of Problem Solving (AoPS), USA.

2013-present

- Private Math Tutor, New York Metro Area, USA.

2013

- Master's degree at

Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University.

- Grader and teaching assistant at Mathematics Department.

2012

- Business Analysis & Engineering Intern.

2008-2010

Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Economics at American University in Bulgaria.

- Teaching Assistant.

- Student representative of the Mathematics Department.

- Chess Club President.

2005

– Received Gold Medal after presenting the project "Diophantine Geometrical Figures".

- Received 2nd place among 50 Mathematics projects from 20 countries.