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I graduated from Southern Illinois University - Carbondale with my Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing. I taught English as a Second Language in Ilsan, Korea to elementary students and at Ball State University in Indiana, to international students. Since 2001, I have been teaching various forms of English (composition, speaking, listening, grammar, creative writing). Most recently, I spent nearly two years tutoring grades K-12 in an after-school Homework Help program, assisting with math, science, social studies and English. For me, the most enjoyable part of tutoring and teaching is being able to help students on their journey to achieving their goals, whether it be passing the ACT/SAT with flying colors, improving their communication skills, or preparing for college-level classes.

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Joan’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Southern Illinois University - Carbondale - Bachelor in Arts, English Literature

Graduate Degree: Southern Illinois University - Carbondale - Master of Fine Arts, Writing

Test Scores

ACT English: 31


Spanish language, reading, traveling, writing, knitting

Tutoring Subjects

10th Grade Reading

10th Grade Writing

11th Grade Reading

11th Grade Writing

12th Grade Reading

12th Grade Writing

1st Grade Reading

1st Grade Writing

2nd Grade Reading

2nd Grade Writing

3rd Grade Reading

3rd Grade Writing

4th Grade Reading

4th Grade Writing

5th Grade Reading

5th Grade Writing

6th Grade Reading

6th Grade Science

6th Grade Writing

7th Grade Reading

7th Grade Writing

8th Grade Reading

8th Grade Writing

9th Grade Reading

9th Grade Writing


ACCUPLACER ESL - Listening Prep

ACCUPLACER ESL - Reading Skills Prep

ACCUPLACER ESL - Sentence Meaning Prep

ACCUPLACER Sentence Skills Prep

ACT English

ACT with Writing Prep


Adult Literacy

American Literature

ASPIRE English


CAHSEE English


CLEP Spanish

College English

College Essays

College Level American Literature

Comparative Literature

Conversational Spanish

Creative Writing

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Science

Elementary School Writing


English Grammar and Syntax


Essay Editing

Expository Writing

Graduate Test Prep

GRE Verbal

High School English

High School Level American Literature

High School Writing

Homework Support



Middle School Reading

Middle School Writing




SAT Reading

SAT Verbal

SAT Writing and Language



Spanish 1

Spanish 2

Spanish 3


Test Prep


Q & A

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

During my first session with a student, I like to start by asking them to make a list of goals that they would like to reach within a certain time period, as in, "I would like to improve my writing skills by learning how to organize my essays efficiently. I want to raise my grade from a C to an A." Then I try to come up with a timeline with the student to work on those goals.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I think that all students are responsible for what they learn and do not learn, and tutors are there to help point out what students may be overlooking in terms of what they need to study, or how to study in a way that caters to the students' strengths. I offer advice on test taking, memorization strategies, as well as making sure that the student fully comprehends the topics covered.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Motivation is different for everyone, and I generally ask my students what motivates them to learn, and what is most rewarding for them. I like to show how much a student has improved over the course of tutoring so that they can be proud of their efforts and achievements, no matter how big or small they may be.

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy is "anyone can learn anything, and learn it well!" I have faith that all students can learn and recall the information that they need, as well as develop the analytical skills they need to succeed. I spend a lot of time listening to my students, asking questions and discussing answers so that the material becomes more relevant and memorable to them.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

I try to identify what kind of learning a student prefers; whether or not they are auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and prefer different types of media, such as books, apps, flashcards, etc. If a student has difficulty learning a skill, I try to approach it in several different ways until the student finds their "comfort zone."

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