Robert Shackelford, PhD
I provide both in-person and online coaching/tutoring for high school students wanting to improve their mastery of mathematics including algebra, geometry, trigonometry, precalculus, statistics, and calculus. I use my passion for math to help individuals and small groups achieve their academic goals and increase their confidence.
Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Precalculus, Calculus, Statistics,
SAT Math, ACT Math and Science
Why coaching and tutoring?
Whether you seek more challenge or agree with those who say math stands for “Mental Abuse To Humans,” coaching will help. For some, we’ll work to prevent a lifetime of math nightmares before they start. For others, we’ll add enough challenge to ensure you are working to your potential. We look to find the right answers, but more, we’ll find a path forward that fits your talents and offers the best opportunity to make math fun.
Coaching is tutoring with an emphasis on enhancing students’ individual strengths. Coaching can help students keep up in their current class, provide more challenge, and ensure students’ basic skills provide a firm foundation as they move on to more advanced work. My approach is tailored to each student; however, my first step is to understand what a student is currently experiencing in mathematics. This is not simply assessing their current skill level, but also understanding how they see math. For example, do they see equations as a jumble of letters with little meaning or underlying structure? In this case, we will explore how a student best picks up patterns and use their strengths to lead our way to better mastery.
I taught high school math at Spring Street International School on San Juan Island for several years and now am turning my focus to individual and small group tutoring. In the past, I taught statistics to graduate students outside STEM majors by tailoring the curriculum to fit their backgrounds and leverage their strengths. I love mathematics and find the subject absolutely beautiful. I am passionate about helping students realize math is accessible and emphasizes our ability to recognize and manipulate patterns. Since patterns are embedded throughout our experience as human beings, the subject is integral to our lives well beyond its direct applications.
Before teaching, I worked as a consultant and full-time employee as both an engineer and software developer at NASA Ames Research Center, the Army Missile Command, Seattle City Light, and others. My education includes a PhD in engineering and a master’s degree in applied behavioral science (specializing in youth and family counselling including an internship as a therapist at Northshore Youth and Family Services).
Although a large part of our sessions may include help with class assignments, tutoring is not a substitute for practice. As with learning a musical instrument, mastering mathematics takes time to learn the scales and build muscle memory. Moving to more advanced material is much easier when the basics are nearly automatic. Therefore, tutoring and class time alone are not sufficient to build strong mastery. Tutoring will increase a student’s efficiency, reduce time it takes to complete assignments, and decrease frustration.
ACT/SAT Test Preparation:
I help students prepare for the math portion of the SAT and the math and science portions of the ACT.
For the most part, I work with students in fifty-minute sessions and am willing to tailor sessions to fit your particular needs and circumstances. During our initial session (which often include parents) we define a strategy that best meets your goals. Please contact me here for my rates.