For more than a decade, between 2003 and 2015, I specialized in teaching and academic tutoring. My primary expertise lay in math, quantitative reasoning, logic, written composition, and reading comprehension in the context of admissions to college, graduate school, business school, law school, and medical school. Other subjects I taught included economics, rhetoric, Spanish language, and history of architecture.
Teaching in New York City—one of the most diverse and competitive education markets in the nation—gave me the opportunity to work closely with ambitious people of all ages, walks of life, socioeconomic backgrounds, and status: from underserved public high school students in the outer boroughs to accomplished industry executives in Manhattan. I also taught abroad in Spain and South Korea.
Here’s some more information about my experience.
Teaching Corporate Clients
A couple of highlights from my corporate clientele:
- I trained hundreds of early- to mid-career MBA candidates on Wall Street for the General Management Admissions Test (GMAT), primarily through an affiliation with the Princeton Review. Schools my clients went on to attend include:
- Columbia Business School
- Harvard Business School
- NYU Stern School of Business
- The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
- I trained dozens of early-career policy analysts at the Council on Foreign Relations for the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). CFR staff invited me to create a custom program after hearing word-of-mouth recommendations from some of my former students. Graduate schools that my CFR clients went on to attend include:
- Columbia School of International and Public Affairs
- Harvard Kennedy School of Government
- MIT Sloan School of Management
- Princeton School of Public and International Affairs
As a private tutor, I helped ambitious people achieve higher-education goals, including admission to the most competitive undergraduate, graduate, law, and business schools in the U.S.
The job took me into the homes and offices of New Yorkers as diverse as the city itself and gave me the opportunity to learn and change how people think.
Some of the most satisfying work I’ve done has been with adults advancing their careers: a military veteran entering private industry, a C-suite insurance auditor having to overcome fear of math, an activist seeking to take his mission from the streets to the courts.
Among the clients who left lasting impressions on me was a pharmaceutical executive in her sixties contemplating a new career chapter in law. She hired me to prepare her for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). We started the tutorial with a score of 141—in the bottom 14 percent of examinees on a test famously difficult to materially improve on. This student, however, brought such deep focus to mastering the logic of the exam that our sessions sometimes resembled Socratic dialogues more than they resembled traditional test coaching. On the official LSAT she scored a perfect 180, in the top 0.1 percent. Soon afterward, her first-choice law school offered her a full scholarship.
- In the summer of 2010, I taught for 3 months in Seoul, South Korea, at a hagwon primarily dedicated to prepping high schoolers for U.S. college admissions.
A hagwon, or cram school, is characterized by rigorous standards, fierce competition, and a relentless schedule. For students, weekdays can mean 8 to 12 hours of class followed by late nights dedicated to homework. Weekends are often filled with workshops.
In two out of the three summer sessions, I led my students to a “Best Class” distinction—an internal honor based on the highest score improvements. Each time we won, the management gave us T-shirts with the hagwon‘s logo and a slogan summing up the prevailing ethos: “the best never rest.”
- In 2007, I taught SAT prep in Seville, Spain, at a summer-abroad program for U.S. high-school students organized by American Collegiate Adventures in partnership with The Princeton Review. The class schedule, true to Andalusian form, included a daily siesta. There were no academic competitions.
Between 2011 and 2013, I served as an adjunct for Marta Gutman, PhD, at the Spitzer School of Architecture (The City College of New York, CUNY) in a course sequence titled Survey of World Architecture, where I led an undergraduate discussion section. The sequence aimed at helping aspiring architects develop the knowledge and tools to think critically about the past, present, and future of the built environment.
Working with Dr. Gutman, her teaching assistant, and other section leaders, I designed assignments, evaluated progress, and graded exams. I also created a workshop to help students improve their writing mechanics. At the time, the innovative research projects we implemented led to some of the best undergraduate writing in the department.
What Students Said
Here’s a handful of comments from former students. The quotes are excerpts from course evaluations and thank-you emails, not statements elicited as testimonials.
I want to thank you for all the help you gave me in getting such a high score … I certainly could not have made such an improvement without your help. It is a testament to your teaching ability that you could take a math-averse person such as myself and turn them into a top scorer on the test.Winston, GRE tutee, in an email
Pawel was an outstanding teacher and class leader. I learned a lot.GMAT student in an anonymous class evaluation
Your lessons are extremely well thought-out and engaging.José in an LSAT class evaluation
Intelligent, interesting, covered topics with clarity and detail.GMAT student in an anonymous class evaluation
I wanted to thank you for all of your help and patience. You really helped me to understand the test and study effectively. … I couldn’t have made such a difference in my score without your tutoring.Maggie, LSAT tutee, in an email
I just wanted to thank you for teaching such a phenomenal class. I cannot thank you enough for your patience and help.Amanda in a GRE class evaluation
Pawel knew the material extremely well. Great attitude and genuinely interested in our own success.Todd, in a GMAT class evaluation
Whatever you explain, I understand.LSAT student in an anonymous class evaluation
I really, really can’t thank you enough for all of your help and guidance. You are a magnificent teacher!Caroline, GRE tutee, in an email
Thank you for being such an excellent instructor. … It was encouraging to see the ease with which you tackled the material. You seemed to revel in the challenges presented by any question and your excitement rubbed off on me. At first I was convinced that I just didn’t have the innate talent for problem solving required on the LSAT, and your class proved to me that through persistence I could improve my ability. Thank you for your patience and commitment to seeing the potential in your students. Your class meant a lot to me.Laura, LSAT student, in an email