In the spirit of market segmentation, I’ve identified the 5 types of families who hire me:
- Math-Maturity-Mismatch Students These are the younger students who have high math ability, but they have the maturity of a typical kid, and they have trouble following through on their homework independently. Students meet with me once or twice a week for “homework time” saving parents from nagging their kids so they can have a better relationship, and the students have more fun.
- Socratic-Scaffolding Students These students blank when they see a problem, and all they lack is the tiniest hint to get them started. “Hm, today’s topic was triangle inequality. Can you tell me the rule for triangle inequality?” And suddenly, just like that, they are off to the races.
- “I Must Qualify for Nationals” Students These are the students who are keen to level up in MathCounts, qualify for AIME, or just generally improve their math contest scores with an eye on college admissions.
- “You Look Like Me” Students Yes, female students like that I’m a girl, and I really get them. There’s something to be said for single-gender math education, especially in the critical middle school years.
- Last Comic Standing Students These students like me for my nerdy sense of humor. And most give it as well as they get it. If I use my standard “Problems involving FRUSTRums are very FRUSTRating” joke, they respond with their favorite one-liner: “y=mx+b.”