My degree in journalism from the University of Michigan led me to write human interest stories for various newspapers in the Detroit Metro Area. Later, I landed a position in Editorial services at Macomb Community College in Warren, where I received my first tutoring assignment by default. The Tutoring Department needed a staff person to tutor a Vietnamese girl, and my boss selected me for the job. I was a bit reluctant but obliged. The young lady passed with an " A ". Little did I know this would be the beginning of a very worthwhile and rewarding endeavor. I began accepting more tutoring assignments, which eventually led to a genuine passion for helping my clients, similar to my writing uplifting articles for the newspapers.
The professional metamorphosis continued when Macomb Community College and The Observer and Eccentric Newspapers simultaneously laid me off. It was suggested I tutor for Oakland Community College, which I did. At first it was English; then, I was asked to wing ESL. How was I to impart my writing skills to someone just learning the language? After four years of listening to the concerns of both my American and foreign students, I proposed to my supervisor to allow me to pilot two workshops: one in composition and one in punctuation and grammar. They were geared to recent high school graduates, returning older students, and 200-level ESL students. The workshops were a success and were subsequently offered at all OCC campuses. After ten years of meeting and touching lives from all corners of the planet, I was laid off due to budget issues, and I began contractually tutoring auto industry corporate and management employees and their spouses through language training companies. It was a wonderful experience. Today, I have a small business in my home, where I tutor and work with all types of individuals, providing a wide range of writing and tutoring services.
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor - Bachelors, Journalism
What is your teaching philosophy?
Although my resume lists my professional background and academic degree, my true education as a tutor came from my students. For 25 years, I have seen the world--all four corners of it--through the eyes of my foreign students who I have helped acclimate and learn our language. This opportunity and blessing has offered me experience from which I became uniquely empathetic towards their academic and personal challenges and anxious concerns. They were not just students who came into my life one day and not remembered after they left. Our learning relationship went with them, and I took a little bit with me, too for the next time and new person. This how each of us grows into a better, wiser person. This what I bring to my tutoring assignments.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I offer lessons to help them clarify the grammar, punctuation, or essay issue. Then, I ask the student to provide me his/her own examples until the student can confidently offer me answers with no problems.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
The student reads the sentence/paragraph silently first, and then orally. I listen, and then we work on the errors together. With repetition, the student should recall the troubled areas with more confidence to remember the corrections for future assignments or material.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I usually ask the student to express what problems he or she is having with an assignment or language issue, and then we discuss the student's goal. I prefer to start from scratch with any problem, whether it be commas or verb tenses. If time is an element to be considered, I would still briefly cover background points to make sure the student has all info needed to understand the answer.