Dennis Valle-Ramirez

Test Prep & Academic Tutor


I was born in Pacoima, California. The area I was raised in is surrounded by diverse, low-income families. My surroundings taught me how to overcome hard obstacles and learn to become a respectful and humble man. I went to San Fernando High School, then attended UC Santa Cruz to obtain my B.A in math education. I believe that I was ready to make the high school to college transition with ease because of the college bound programs I was in during high school. I aim to pass down the skills and knowledge that I gained from these programs to my students so that they too feel prepared and confident when attending college.

What led me to want to tutor was a desire to show students that they can gain the satisfaction of solving hard problems and answering difficult questions that they might previously have lacked the confidence to approach. To me, math and language skills are very important because we use them in our daily lives. For example, we use math when depositing or withdrawing money from our bank accounts, measuring the proportions between sugar and flour to make cookies, and finding how much you will pay for your new iPhone if it’s 30% off its original price. Students need to see that math is not just crazy calculations that you do through formulas that you need to memorize. Similarly, Spanish is not simply about remembering disconnected rules or vocabulary. There are underlying patterns as well as opportunities for creativity and human connection. Additionally, math and language abilities develop logical thinking and communication skills that you can implement when making decisions like buying a car or taking out a mortgage loan. These same logical thought processes can help students develop their reading skills, and, likewise, math is often as much about reading comprehension as it is about the problems themselves.  Teaching these subjects, for me, is not about getting the answer; it’s about how to get to the answer.

During high school, I worked for an after school program called L.A.’s Best. At the time, I worked with kids from 1st through 3rd grade and assisted them in subjects that included math and English. I have also tutored with a college bound program that called PUENTE. I worked with students in 9th through 12th grade on math ranging from algebra to geometry, pre-calculus and Calculus AB and BC. During my time as UC Santa Cruz, I was in a program called CAL TEACH which allowed me to work along with a high school or middle school teacher for a quarter and learn how to teach in a math classroom. I was an intern for three years and had the opportunity to plan and teach a lesson that I personally designed at a high school and middle school. This experience allowed me to really understand what it takes to be a math teacher as I graded, assigned and taught lessons in these classrooms.

Whether I’m teaching math, Spanish, or guiding students through the reading and verbal portions of tests like the HSPT, ISEE, and SSAT, I adjust to help students feel comfortable in their learning, not bombarded and overwhelmed with work. Every student learns differently and has their own thinking pace, and I strive to instill in them a growth mindset. Students who have fixed mindsets usually avoid challenges, give up easily, or see effort as fruitless. On the other hand, a growth mindset embraces challenges, persists in the face of a setback, or sees effort as a path to mastery. I believe that every student should know that failing or making mistakes allows them to be a step closer to success. Making mistakes or not knowing something is okay because it is part of the process. My goal in 1-on-1 sessions is always to set up the student for success. I aim to provide the tools they need to reach their potential and to support their needs as they make leaps to achieve their goals by giving them the resources and tools they need, be it test taking strategy or the confidence and critical thinking skills to work through challenges independently. I also want my students to know that no obstacle is too great for them, and that their effort is what counts most.

Outside of tutoring, I love to play board and card games like Yu-Gi-Oh and Monopoly and to watch anime like Attack on Titan and Dragon Ball Z. I also enjoy cooking and experimenting with Latino dishes like molé and enchiladas.

Subjects Tutored

Interview Prep
ISEE, HSPT, SSAT, and Writing Sample
Academic Algebra 1
Academic Geometry
Academic Algebra 2
Academic Trigonometry
Academic Pre-Calculus
Academic K-8

Offices Served

Online

 

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