Updated: Jan 12, 2021
In this installment of the Getting to Know Us series, I interviewed Graeme (pronounced "gram," rhymes with with "tram") to get a peek inside what life is like as a high school senior and Strive math tutor extraordinaire. In just a few minutes, we covered teaching, physics, the wall of guitars that provides a backdrop for his Zoom calls, and more.
L: Hey Graeme! So, what do you tutor?
G: Right now, I tutor high school math, from algebra 1 to calc AB. I just trained in SAT and ACT prep as well, so I'm doing that, too. I don't currently have any science or physics students, but I also tutor those!
L: How did you get started with tutoring?
G: Well, I was a college counseling student of Josefine's, and I wanted to tutor math at this other business, but after five interviews they pretty much didn't respond to me. Since Josefine was my counselor she could see all that, and could see all my grades, and so she interviewed me for the position!
L: I've joked about this to you before, but being inducted into the company after being a student with Josefine is the best way in! So, why those subjects?
G: In school, I always had an affinity for math and sciences, those were my main strong suits. I skipped a grade in math (I think it was seventh or eighth) and took calc BC as a high school junior... but I've always been interested in science! I'm applying to college for physics, and it's pretty much my calling.
L: That's awesome. Do you think there's a difference between being good at math and being good at teaching math?
G: Yes, it's a totally different perspective when I'm teaching students. It's not necessarily harder, but I'm always saying things like "wow, I never thought about it that way." It's a very different experience to teach someone else math.
L: Is teaching a passion for you? Would you ever consider becoming a teacher?
G: It's always been in the back of my mind. My dad actually teaches photography, he's the head of the media arts department at a local college. It's a really fun job, and would be super cool - as nerdy as that sounds. Maybe I could be a physics professor!
L: Are you applying to every school for physics?
G: All the UCs, yes, and I'm applying for mechanical engineering to the Cal-States.
L: What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?
G: Definitely playing guitar, haha! [gestures to a wall of instruments behind him]. All types of music, really - I mainly play guitar and bass, but I just got a drum set so I'm learning how to play drums. I've got some drum machines, and synths... I want to pretty much envelop myself in any instrument I can! So, I played the flute in middle school, and I thought it wasn't cool, but now I want to get back into it. It kind of flip-flopped, I guess! My family did not like the flute - it was loud and I was bad, basically. So, guitar was an improvement, and they're pretty encouraging. I try to play acoustic, or be quieter, but they're supportive of it. I also like to skateboard, I've been doing that since I was like eight. I used to do cross-country, which got me out of the house, but mainly I've been skating now during quarantine which gets me outside.
L: What's something you're hoping to do once COVID is under control?
G: Well, the main thing is going back to live shows. My dad and my sister and I go to a lot of shows together, and I have the same music taste as my dad, so he just goes with me. I just miss moshing and having a good time. Live music is so fun!
L: I definitely agree, I can't wait to get back to live shows. Do you have any advice for students right now?
G: It's hard being a student right now. For high schoolers, just keep doing what you're doing. Seniors, don't give in to senioritis. If you put in the effort, you'll do well. Try not to watch too much Netflix or play too much Animal Crossing. Paying attention in live classes on Zoom is hard, but you can do it!
L: Awesome. Thank you so much, Graeme.