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Mike M. - Tutor in BERKELEY, CA

Subjects: Math-Algebra, Math-Geometry, Math-Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus, Calculus, Science-Physics, SAT subject tests, AP tests
Teaching Location: Travel To Student
Travel Radius: 10 mi
Specialties: Secondary Education, College/Adult Education
Education: BS Physics, MA Religion, both from Harvard
Hourly Rate: $80
Teaching Motto: There is no stupid question. Learn from your mistakes, always room for improvement.
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As former high school teacher with over 20 years of experience, I have worked with all kinds of students, from highly gifted to complete math-phobes. With advanced students, I am always able to challenge them, encouraging them to use profound creativity in problem-solving. With folks for whom math does not come easily, through a combination of humor & patience & encouragement I have made countless students in this category feel better about math and more confident about their own abilities in math. I have years of experience in accommodating material to a particular student's learning style, and I often have several suggestions about how the student can translate what she needs to know into a form that she can really get. For me, teaching is not telling, not backing up a dumptruck of knowledge; teaching is asking questions and creating conditions so that the student has as many "aha's" as possible. In this sense, the book that has probably had the most profound effect on my pedagogy is the ancient Chinese classic, the *Daodejing.* ---- I can provide copious references for the parent who so desires them.
"1) Was Mike McGarry responsive, knowledgeable and easy to work with? Yes to all three! 2) Was Mike McGarry the right fit or are you still looking? Yes. 3) Do you have any feedback or comments? No. "
- Max G., NextGuru Student in SAN FRANCISCO CA
"Mike M. is a wonderful and engaging teacher. As a student who has never enjoyed or fully understood math, Mike brought me back to the basics of the subject and became my most influential and favorite math teacher. He never teaches to a formula; everything is taught from the ground up, building on existing knowledge in order to let the student fully grasp a concept. He uses a plethora of anecdotes and teaching styles to spice up class and involve everyone. Mike M. is a genius at getting a class engaged in a math principle or problem through mixture of laughter and discipline. When working one-on-one, Mike is methodical in making sure that you understand the basic principles before moving on to larger topics. He will not rest until you understand WHY something works and not just how to use it. I would recommend Mike M. as a tutor or a teacher to anyone from the most unengaged to the most advanced student. "
- Haley B., Student in SAN FRANCISCO CA
"Mike is an amazing math teacher and tutor. He really cares about his students and always takes the time to make sure that you understand the topic. Mike was my calculus teacher senior year. Calculus is no easy subject by anyones standards, but Mike made it easy and enjoyable and really broke down the topics to make sure that i understood him fully. I would recommend Mike to anyone looking for a math teacher without any hesitation. "
- Gillian C., Student in SAN FRANCISCO CA
"Mike M. is a gifted teacher who has the rare ability to channel interests as wide-ranging as astronomy, Greek history, baseball, Bach, Chinese caligraphy and mindfulness into his lessons in an engaging way without losing sight of the math that he is trying to teach. He knows how to cater to students of all different skill levels as well as levels of engagement and commitment to the subject being taught. Having always been uninterested in math, I found in Mike's class that my interests from other academic subjects were stimulated in a way that made calculus both more interesting and less foreign. Mike is always willing to provide extra help, whether in person or over email. Mike M. is an excellent math teacher, a renaissance man, the owner of the world's most distinctive laugh and an excellent human being. He was far and away the best math teacher I ever had, both in the classroom and out of it. Mike is the mold from which all teachers should be cast."
- Daniel C., Student in SAN FRANCISCO CA
"What's wonderful about Mike is not his teaching (although he's one of the best teachers I've had), it's unquestionably his intense and unrelenting curiosity about the world around him. He's legendary for receiving a stack of books from Amazon in his mail box...every day. He can expound on the religions of the world, explain quantum mechanics, construct statistical models, dissect Joyce, debate public policy, analyze classical music, and do pretty much anything you can imagine. In essence, he's an intellectual superhero, but he somehow manages not to alienate those around him. You feel as if you too are interesting, your ideas are important and valid, and you come away from each encounter with Mike feeling more educated and fulfilled than before. If you're trying to learn something, or even if you just want an enriching experience, I cannot recommend Mike highly enough."
- Jeremy S., Student in PROVIDENCE RI
"Mike is an excellent teacher. His breakdown of math concepts always makes them more clear, and his enthusiasm is infectious. Anyone would be lucky to have him as a tutor."
- Bruno M., Student in SAN FRANCISCO CA
"Mike was my teacher for Calculus and I have to say that I was able to grasp concepts that I never thought I would ever understand. He always knew how to break down problems to it's simplest forms, and he just helped me become a more confident math student overall. He also is an amazing physics tutor and I would visit him often for math and physics help as well. He's great! You will not be disappointed!"
- Brittany R., Student in SAN FRANCISCO CA
"Mike was my teacher for trigonometry, pre-calculus, and AP Statistics during high school. He is by far the best math teacher I have had. He is patient, creative, articulate, brilliant, and has a wonderful sense of humor. He makes learning fun and is one of the most insightful human beings out there. You couldn't ask for a better instructor!"
- Student in OAKLAND CA
"Mike was my teacher for Geometry and Pre-Calculus. Math has never been my favorite subject, but Mike never let me fall behind and remain in the dark about a concept. He was an extremely dedicated and supportive teacher who clearly explained concepts until I understood them (which often took a long time). When I moved abroad for a semester, Mike and I corresponded and he helped me to complete the second half of geometry on my own. I don't think I would have done so well in high school math if I had not had Mike as my teacher. "
- Anna H., Student in BURLINGAME CA
"Mike was my teacher for Honors Statistics in my senior year, but all through high school he knew me and helped to challenge me mathematically far beyond what classes were able to do. I have always found math easy, but Mike always found ways to ask just the right questions to help me grow - where I would know all the concepts and calculations necessary, but had to combine them in a novel way. He was always patient when I did run into trouble, but pushed me to the limits of where he knew I could succeed. Many of these problems were intriguing real-world applications of math. I believe that to be one of Mike's greatest strengths - he integrated reality seamlessly into his instruction, which added a new layer of complexity to challenge those like myself, while simultaneously helping my friends who weren't as confident in math to have a way of contextualizing abstract mathematical concepts. I recommend Mike without reservation, for all learners, as a wonderful teacher and human being."
- Connor R., Student in BURLINGAME CA
"In the year that I studied AP Statistics with Mike I never doubted for a minute that he truly cared about both the importance of the material and whether or not his students were understanding it. That may be something which should be true of every teacher, but in my experience it ends up being a rare thing in reality. From his laidback demeanor to his refusal of allowing you to call him Mr. M., Mike makes it clear that he wants to teach you as a friend. He is passionate about what he teaches and works hard to instill that same passion in his students. It also doesn't hurt that the guy is one of the most intelligent people I've had the pleasure of knowing. As a student at a university, I cannot tell you how much I would love to have a guy like Mike as one of my professors. The world would definitely be a little smarter with a few more Mike M.'s around. "
- Brandon W., Student in SAN FRANCISCO CA
"Mike lives life purposefully and brings an infectious, enviable sense of fulfillment to the table while interacting with his students. This passion for life he has goes beyond the realm of academia--a lesson one can only intuit through quality relationships shared with quality minds. In this sense, Mike is a mind and a mentor to whom you should lend your child and whole-hearted trust. I spent two years with Mike in AP Stats and Geometry, and while mediocre by math standards, I seldom have felt more comfortable and at home in his classrooms and his presence. He gives any and all unequivocal respect, takes a genuine curiosity in people, and, as such, has a tremendous ability to empathize with young, developing minds. Bottom line, Mike is not the archetypal math teacher. Don't let the glasses fool you--Mike's lessons transcend the subject matter. He inspires people to better themselves, to make a difference, and to be the best that they can be. He commands respect and merits yours too."
- Student in NEW YORK NY
"I had a tremendous experience learning from Mike. His application of the concepts to situations from his extensive historical knowledge helped me see what my calculations meant and how they were important. He not only leads his students in the right direction, he makes them want to follow him there. Mike balances theory and practice very well and is always willing to go deeper into a topic. When we encountered more complex topics Mike did a good job addressing them from multiple perspectives and with multiple approaches. Even when I no longer had Mike as a teacher he was glad to help me out with anything he could. The classroom atmosphere remained relaxed and enjoyable, even on exam days, and Mike punctuated every class with jokes and anecdotes. Mike may be the guy at the front of the room, but he's more of a friend who helps you figure out the material than a so-called "classical" instructor who throws knowledge your way, hoping you can snag some as it flies by you."
- Haden C., Student in SAN LUIS OBISPO CA
"Mike is an amazing teacher. He seems to intuitively know what each student needs. He is easy to talk to and extremeley professional.I would highly recommend him."
- Daniel P., Student in SAN FRANCISCO CA
"I never had Mike as a math teacher, but as an advisor he was kind, caring, and one of the smartest people I've ever met. When walking up and down the hallway, he would go out of his way to say hello to you, and to get to know you if he didn't know you already. Mike is much more than a math teacher, he is a great person."
- Ryland W., Student in SAN FRANCISCO CA
"Despite the short semester in which Mike M. had acted as my Calculus teacher, his teaching methods and way of presenting material has left a positive, lasting impact on my mathematical career. In addition to his mastery of concepts, he makes an honest and much appreciated effort to get to know the student's way of thinking, and personal abilities. This interaction encourages the student to evaluate his/her ability as a mathematical thinker, and assists Mike in providing efficient and helpful feedback. Mike M. embraces each student's individuality and frames it in a positive manner to fit the academic situation. Whether to brighten the mood or to inspire, he has a talent of empowering students to achieve their personal best."
- Joaquín M., Student in PACIFICA CA
"I took AP Statistics with Mike my junior year, in a class filled with seniors. What I liked the most about Mike as a teacher was that he respected his students as equals. Several times during my year in Mike's class, I met with him to argue about test questions I disagreed with him about. He always heard me out and discussed what I had to say. A couple times he ended up changing the way he graded questions on his tests after I presented my argument. I have never had a teacher who has taken me as seriously as Mike did."
- Ashkon F., Student in SAN FRANCISCO CA
"Mike M. is a phenomenal educator; I say 'educator' deliberately. He doesn't merely teach. He stimulates curiosity. He has a passion for helping others and intellectually engaging those around him. A great part of Mike's ability to educate is his keen sense for people and his knowledge of how to work with different learning styles. If you give Mike a question or a problem, he'll give you a million ways to approach it. I've had the privilege of having Mike as a teacher and an advisor for my co-curricular club, and in both capacities he always delivered profound insight on a world of topics. "
- Jonathan L., Student in BURLINGAME CA
"Mike is incredibly intelligent and a fantastic teacher. He makes math fun while simultaneously engraining the concepts in his students. I studied both Geometry and Calculus under Mike and am now most confident in these two math subjects as a result of his memorable teaching methods. Any student would be lucky to have Mike as his/her math instructor!"
- Emma D., Student in SAN FRANCISCO CA
"In the "about me" section of his profile, Mike explains that he is able to help even "complete math-phobes" understand complex topics. I am living proof that this is true. I was fortunate enough to have Mike as a teacher in two classes, Geometry and Honors Statistics. To say that Mike went above and beyond in his efforts to help me understand the material in both classes is a huge understatement. Mike was happy to meet with me after school and during lunch periods multiple times each week. It was not uncommon for him to write page-long emails about topics that I found confusing, as he knew that I process information best when I can see it written down. He is able to easily adjust his mode of explanation based on the learning style of any given student. Now in college, I find myself wishing that my current professor was as skillful. Mike was far and away the best teacher I've ever had--both in his ability as an educator and in the extraordinary amount he cares about his students."
- Ava B., Student in SAN FRANCISCO CA
"Mike was without a doubt my favorite teacher during my senior year of high school. Not only did he make calculus completely understandable, but also was willing to dedicate hours of his own free time for me to reach that level of understanding. I often did not have time during or after school to meet with him, so on multiple occasions, Mike graciously offered to meet on weekends. These one-on-one sessions were by far the most helpful instruction I have ever received. Mike is incredibly patient and has a way of customizing the material to each individuals learning style. He also makes sure you understand not only the material itself, but why each equation works, and what it derives from. Mike’s effective teaching styles derive from a veritable desire to help others. His enthusiasm, patience, and clarity make Mike a fantastic choice for students of all skill levels."
- Kayla A., Student in SAN FRANCISCO CA

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