About Warp Drive Tutors
The first thing we want you to know about us is that we predicate all tutoring on the idea that success in mathematics and science class is within the grasp of every single student. Granted there are those who take to STEM subjects more so than others, however there is almost no child who cannot ultimately do well. We premise this not on some starry eyed fantasy, but on hard empirical data based on years and years of tutoring thousands of students, of which there have been exactly 2 who truly were unable to handle the material. A third was borderline, and of this particular student her own mother told us “She’s no Einstein”. That student wound up in medical school and is now a third year ophthalmology resident.
Even if your child is not going to enter the International Mathematics Olympiad, your child can get better at mathematics.
Warp Drive Tutors provides teachers from highly regarded secondary schools to tutor elementary, middle and high school students in mathematics and science. Tutoring takes place over a high definition whiteboard program, coupled with a built in video that allows for simultaneous writing and correction of worked problems. It is similar to skype but with the added ability for both teacher and student to write on the whiteboard at the same time, allowing them to interact as if they are sitting across the table from one another even when they are halfway around the globe. The whiteboard the student uses is sent from us during the first session as an easily downloadable program, and students can save all of the notes directly to their laptops.
We focus exclusively on mathematics and science and are extremely selective in whom we hire; high school teachers must have a demonstrated record of excellent student evaluations and stellar academic backgrounds, including advanced degrees in the subjects they teach. Teachers are also selected for an easy going manner and communication skills, necessary assets when engaging a teenager! Tutoring is available either one on one or for group sessions.
Our goal is to develop study skills and habits that students are sometimes unaware they lack, which are completely coachable, and often specific for the particular subject or standardized test they are preparing for. By developing students’ study skills we build their confidence, and as a consequence their ability to work on their own.
How we differ from other tutoring firms
First, we specialize exclusively in mathematics and science. We also focus more on the courses themselves, as opposed to test prep, although we do offer test prep in the SAT Math/Science Subject Tests and AP exams. Also, all of our tutors are full time teachers in the subjects they tutor, because the probable single most important factor in choosing a tutor for a subject is that the tutor knows the curriculum. And who will know the curriculum better than someone whose job is to teach the material to confused 16 year olds, every single day? Further, we require tutors to have an established academic concentration, including a graduate degree, in the particular subject they tutor. Many of our tutors have PhD’s, and though some parents believe this makes a teacher too intellectually detached or “too cerebral” to relate to a high school student, greater knowledge of a subject does not detract from an ability to teach the fundamentals of a subject. In fact, graduate education enhances and enriches one’s understanding of a discipline, which makes teaching easier! There are tutoring firms that proudly exclaim “Our head tutor ‘James’ has tutored for almost every standardized test that exists.” This would seem unlikely. How can you teach material that you do not know intimately well, through years of study? If James can legitimately tutor for all of the diverse standardized tests that exist, he will have been in graduate school for more than 50 years.
Also, many tutors and tutoring firms will tell you that it does not matter if you know the material for a particular subject test, and that it only matters if you know test-taking techniques. Nothing can be further from the truth. Test taking techniques help but are worthless if you do not know the subject material. We teach the techniques, but emphasize an in depth understanding of the subject material.
It is exceedingly rare that someone truly cannot understand high school mathematics, chemistry, physics or biology even through the most rigorous AP, IB or A level classes. You will be surprised at how much your child can learn, and how much their scores and grades will improve, with appropriate guidance.
Let’s consider golf as an analogy. You can hit the ball for all it’s worth but if the angle of the club hitting the ball is off by a couple of degrees, the ball goes in the water or in the sand. Frustrating, yes? However, when your golf coach adjusts your swing very slightly, you hit the ball closer to the direction you aim and progress to the next tee. This is what we try and do: look at how students approach their work, find the flaws in their approach, and determine how to fix those flaws. With constant reinforcement from watchful and encouraging tutors, students will hone their study skills and find that excelling in their math and science classes becomes an achievable and realistic goal.
How we work
Once you contact us and we discuss your child’s particular circumstances, we assign a tutor based on several factors including anticipated compatibility and tutor’s expertise in the particular field of study. Time zones are also considered, as are any preferences you might have for one tutor over another. You are under no obligation to continue with a particular tutor if you feel (for any reason) that the match is not working. You can stop at any time, or work with the tutor for as many hours per week as their schedule allows.
During the initial session, the tutor will likely ask for specific topics that the student has had difficulty with. This might require a bit of preparation from your child, but it will allow us to zero in much more quickly on the problem areas. If the tutoring sessions are in preparation for a particular standardized test, we will want the student to have taken a practice exam in advance, which we will have sent you previously via email.
We do not have a set protocol for working with each student. Even when we are prepping them for a particular standardized test, we take into account areas that they are weakest in and target those first. Many high school students are under nearly the same pressure as a first year law associate, and their time is precious, so we won’t waste it discussing material they already know. We will, however, make sure they do know a topic as well as they think they do before we move on to a new topic.
Lastly: rest assured we do not pressure our students or their families for more hours than the student needs. Our main concern is your child’s academic performance. If they understand the material at the level expected in their class, or if they are on track for a particular test score, there is no reason for them to have additional hours with the tutor. Our long term reputation benefits when we have successful students who do well and who enjoy working with us.
We are happy to have conversations with your child’s teacher, if requested.