Tutor of the Month: Matthew

Each month our team of mentors nominates a “Tutor.com Tutor of the Month.” This month’s tutor is Matthew C. from Rhode Island. Matthew has been an online physics tutors since 2009 . We are happy to share this interview, so you can “meet” him. Check out our additional tutor profiles to learn more about the people who help serve thousands of sessions, every day

What brought you to Tutor.com?

At the end of the 2008-2009 academic year, I lost my teaching job at a private school and, due to the poor job market for teachers these days, was unable to get a new position for this past academic year.

Elana, one of my friends from college, mentioned to me in conversation at one point that she had just begun tutoring biology at Tutor.com. She strongly encouraged me to look into tutoring with Tutor.com as well, and so I did.

What is the most rewarding part of tutoring?

Although tutoring sessions often inevitably end up being all about the specific physics problems a student would like to work with me on, I personally find it most gratifying when we end up discussing something of a broader nature. For example, I once was working with a student who believed from his/her physics experience so far that physics was pretty much just math. After explaining a few things to him/her over the course of a few minutes, (s)he began to see that while the topics (s)he had studied so far were very mathematical, as (s)he got farther in his/her course, (s)he would see a lot more conceptual development in the material and would start clearly to see the very scientific nature of physics. In a post-session survey comment, (s)he said (s)he appreciated my changing his/her attitude of physics. I think tutoring sessions like that, where students have life-changing experiences, are by far the most gratifying ones of all.

Do you have any funny or touching Tutor.com stories?

I once had a student who typed up a problem for me, then proceeded to draw a diagram on the whiteboard that was totally unrelated to the problem (s)he had typed up. (S)He then explained that the diagram appeared in the middle of the problem’s description and that (s)he was as confused by this as I was! We ended up drawing our own diagram for the written problem and went from there.

What interests do you have outside of Tutor.com?

Outside of Tutor.com, I enjoy foreign travel, movies, and ’80s music.

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