Scott Cairns

Academic Tutor

Growing up in Los Altos, California, I found that, while I had all sorts of intellectual passions in areas like literature, history, and the arts, the STEM subjects were always at the forefront of my interests. After high school, I attended Foothill Community College and majored in physics, which has interested me since I was a child trying to observe the natural world. Physics prides itself on blending abstract mathematical concepts with real world applications, which always appealed to my more analytical side.

While at Foothill, I also engaged in my first tutoring experiences aiding my peers in single-variable and multivariable calculus. It was a learning experience that I will never forget: I had to learn to articulate abstract ideas in terms that students struggling with or new to the material could comprehend. However, when I succeeded in helping my peers understand a difficult concept or idea, the feeling I received from seeing their new-found belief in themselves was indescribable.

After receiving my associate’s degree from Foothill, I transferred to UC Berkeley to pursue a B.A. in mathematics. Even though I have always maintained a passion for physics, I wanted to explore further the deeply abstract and interconnected network of concepts in pure mathematics. While there, I encountered incredible professors who greatly influenced my outlook on pedagogy and learning in general.

My philosophy of teaching is based on teaching students how to think and not necessarily what to think. Often, teachers will try to place priority on knowing a specific idea or getting the right answer to every given question. As a result, students feel the need to memorize the information just until they don’t need it anymore. However, if a teacher can lead the student to a given answer or an understanding a new topic through the student’s own understanding of simpler concepts, not only will the student retain the knowledge longer, but they also will be able to apply that knowledge to more diverse situations.

Beyond my interests in tutoring, I love to swim and play tennis. I also play guitar, mostly focusing on the blues and ’50s/’60s rock ’n roll.

Subjects Tutored:

Academic Calculus
Academic Physics
AP Physics 1
AP Physics 2
AP Calculus AB
AP Calculus BC


Happy Parents and Students

 He always knew how to do the math and was never unsure of himself. He knows what he's talking about and he is always on time and friendly.  Read what others are saying

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