My name is Amanda Chen and I am the lead ELA & Math Instructor at Tip-Top Brain. In my spare time I enjoy reading about moral philosophy and trying new coffee shops in New York City. My life is particularly inspired by my mother’s hard work and independence when she first moved to the United States. I decided to start working at Tip-Top Brain in hopes of elevating the reading and writing skills of various students. As I spend my time here, I aim to contribute new innovative ideas and approaches on helping kids develop their own personal understanding of the Common Core Standards.
I originally grew up in Los Angeles, California where I attended South Pasadena High School. During my time there, I have taken a plethora of AP classes that consisted of: AP Environmental Science, AP US History, AP Microeconomics, AP Macroeconomics, AP English Language, AP English Literature, and AP US Government and Politics. I scored in the 93rd percentile in my SAT and made the honor roll all 4 years. However, what I found most rewarding during my high school career was the opportunity to tutor and work with students of different backgrounds. For example, I volunteered at the after school program of a nonprofit organization called Door of Hope where many students struggled to meet grade-level standards due to housing instability. I also worked with a second nonprofit called Asian Youth Center that focused on helping immigrant children overcome their language barriers in their school work. From seeing the different dynamics of struggle in each student, I was able to learn how to adapt and refine my teaching skills to accommodate each of their needs.
Currently, I am a sophomore at the Gabelli School of Business at Fordham University where I plan to pursue a career as an actuary. In addition, I am a peer review editor at Fordham Undergraduate Research Journal where I review submissions to the journal and train our staff on how to peer edit. Through training my peers, I get a better perspective on how to explain the fundamentals of writing as well as instructing groups of students. Secondly, I compete as a delegate in Model United Nation competitions across prestigious universities where impromptu speeches and adapting to changes in foreign policy are of the utmost importance. As a result, I have learned how to think on the spot and quickly adapt when presented with the challenge of teaching a student a difficult concept using the right learning approach.
I realized that teaching kids was my passion when I first started volunteering at the aforementioned non-profit organizations. My moment of realization was when I was working with a little girl who didn’t care to try to understand anything she was assigned from school. As such, I decided to teach her what she needed to know through an incentive system I created. The incentive system consisted of us alternating between playing turns on her favorite board game and learning how to add in real life.This consisted of seeing the real-life connection between the total number rolled on the dice and her math problems. After playing a couple of rounds, I was pleasantly surprised to see her new motivated spirit. She finally found an incentive to do her school work and I found the precise reason as to why I enjoy teaching kids.
Lastly, I chose Tip-Top Brain because of the personal attention that I am able to give each student. Each tutoring session becomes more than a class. It becomes an opportunity to check in with important projects and tests each student has, as well as an opportunity to pinpoint their key strengths and weaknesses. The most rewarding part of the job is observing the small, incremental improvements each day and the attitudes they have towards their work. Overall, I see my feedback as providing the best tools for a student’s success in the topics they struggle with. Because at the end of the day, tutoring is more than just the understanding of a concept, rather it is also about giving my students the right tools to problem solve on their own and helping them to adopt a strong work ethic.