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Math by Blain -- Frequently Asked Questions -- Part 2

What kind of experience do you have tutoring?

I tutored in the Math Lab at Whatcom Community College for three years, and have tutored privately (on and off) for ten. My style doesn't work for everybody, but I have been able to help at least one person go from ready to quit the whole thing to getting a strong A in less than a quarter. A more precise term for what I am might be a "learning coach." I help guide people through the process of learning the math they need to know. My main goal is to help people learn, which generally results in improved grades.

What courses can you help with?

I am comfortable with math subjects through pre-calculus. I've worked in early calculus, and can help with concepts through integration by parts with a bit of warning. I haven't worked with geometry in some time and will be a bit rusty on it. I can also help with some basic symbolic logic, but that, again, will be a bit rusty. I can help with some basic probability, and my experience with statistics is not only rusty, but runs out with z-scores. I've compiled a list of specific course and subject familiarities to be more clear on which classes I can be most effective with.

So, if I am tutored by you, I'm guaranteed an A, right?

Wrong. Having the best basketball coach in the world doesn't guarantee you will be a great player. There are no guarantees. I will be there to help you, but you have to do the work to get the learning and the grade you want.

What if my math teacher is a real wanker?

Make a decision on whether you are going to tough it out or not, and then follow-through. Some teachers have a style that is incompatible with your learning style. Some are just idiots -- it's kinda like life that way. Keep in mind that the grade you get from the class will be seen as being about you rather than being about the teacher.

What if my mother always hated me?

Then I'm very sorry. But your grade will still be seen as being about you rather than your mother.

Are all of these questions related to math and tutoring?

I don't think so.

What if I really need a paper proof-read or critiqued?

I managed to get pretty decent grades in English classes, and we can work something out for a fee on that that'll work for both of us if you'd like. I've also got a fair to middling understanding of Classical Studies, so if you want to talk a little Greek tragedy, epic poetry, mythology, etc., I've probably got a thing or two to say on the matter. I might even do a freebie or two for existing math students.

If you need a hand in any class, it's worth asking to see if I can help with it or not.

What if this is all Greek to me?

Don't worry about it. I can help you learn Greek also. (I've had a couple years of it).

What if I just don't really care about learning math?

Then I'm probably not going to be much use to you. I'm a learning coach, not a learning pinch-hitter.

What is your favorite translation of the Iliad?

I prefer the verse translation of Richmond Lattimore for both the Iliad and the Odyssey. These are, after all, poems, and translating them into beautiful poetic language keeps that sense better than anybody else I've seen. Next to these, I like Fitzgerald's prose translations. But any chance you get to read a Lattimore translation is a real treat which shouldn't be avoided. Few people have his mastery of both classical languages and 20th Century English.

For the very beginning of the Iliad, I prefer my own translation, but I'm not as far as the rest of those guys.