I am Nikita Tejwani, and I teach math and ELA for 3rd-8th grade, as well as SAT, ACT, AP, and Regents for high school with a focus on math and science. I have been working as a tutor in Arizona and New York for five years, and I am currently a senior at New York University (NYU) studying qualitative research methods for educators. I am also a Computer Science and Mathematics minor. I always try to spread my love for STEM/STEAM among our students at Tip-Top Brain, but since I started working here two years ago, I have come to see that they already share my passion! Outside of school and teaching, I love to read and knit.
In my high school in Arizona, I took several AP classes, including US Government and Politics, Psychology, Calculus BC, US History, Chemistry, and Biology, receiving all 4s and 5s. Additionally, I scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT and SAT, and was able to graduate in the top 1% of my class.
In my time at NYU, I have been working on an individualized major. I have taken many courses centered around methods to promote student literacy, which includes numerical fluency. I have learned about qualitative research methods and the ways they can be used to improve educational practices. Additionally, I have taken classes in computer science and calculus. I believe that these courses are like exercise for the brain – constantly learning new problem solving methods ensures that the mind stays sharp for solving practical problems. Outside of my coursework, I have worked as a research assistant, performing literature reviews and organizing information in a database for a sociology professor in NYU Gallatin. I have also done some research in public school classrooms, in which I interviewed students in New York City’s Consortium Schools. After listening to how they described their schooling experiences, I was able to understand some of the benefits of project-based and community oriented learning as an alternative to standardized testing and competitive schooling environments.
In studying research methods and working as a tutor, I have learned that it is difficult to teach well without being able to investigate one’s own classroom and teaching methods. As such, I have adopted a Socratic method of teaching, in which I ask questions to learn what my student(s) think about the subject matter, and I use their answers to guide my own explanations. I have found that this works very well in the personalized setting that Tip-Top Brain offers. It helps me start where my students are – I do not have to spend unnecessary time on material they are familiar with, and I avoid the risk of introducing advanced material when they lack the background to fully grasp it. Most importantly, I get to see for myself how much our students are growing!