Hello, bonjour, privyet, yiasou, hola! I'm a published author of fiction and nonfiction, an alumni of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, and also the University of Paris IV, La Sorbonne, in France. I'm fluent in several languages, have traveled the globe as an IT contractor, programmer and (certified) project manager, and, after 20 years, left technology behind for a career in storytelling. I now write full-time, mostly fiction. As an ordained Buddhist priest, I also teach classes in meditation and Zen. I'm 'integrally informed', empathic, culturally sensitive, and appreciative of the individual talents and perspectives that each person brings to the table. I tutor in reading and writing of English, all forms, and also French, all levels. Please see list of approved subjects for a list of what I'm able to assist with. I aim to bring each student's own gifts forth into greater definition and clarity, and to build curiosity and enthusiasm for the subject at hand. I look forward to working with you!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Arts - Bachelor in Arts, French
meditation, buddhism, music, art, animals & animal welfare, hiking, nature, critical thinking
10th Grade Reading
10th Grade Writing
11th Grade Reading
11th Grade Writing
12th Grade Reading
12th Grade Writing
High School English
High School Writing
US Constitutional History
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Critical thinking is the key to success. It's taught by asking the right questions. I try to guide the student by asking the questions, and then they learn to do it for themselves, following my example. I think people learn by answering questions, not by being told.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
We would go over the platform and make sure technically we are ready. We would go over the course syllabus (if extant) and identify the areas where the student is confident or less confident. We choose a focus, or we progress alongside the class together, working on homework and reviewing lessons. It is different for every student, depending on their strengths and weaknesses regarding the subject.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I am an independent researcher and learner, so I pass on my querying skills. Asking the right questions is the key to understanding new material, or finding things on the Internet.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I am generally enthusiastic with my students and find that this motivates them. I also take the time to notice and comment on every improvement I see. I point out incorrect things, but don't focus on them.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I come up with metaphors until I find one that resonates, and then we practice together.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Have them read out loud, read out loud to them, see if sound works better than letters, work on word stems and patterns of word meanings.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Having a common text to work with helps immensely.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Give them a wider perspective of how that subject is relevant to their world and life with examples.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I ask questions and surprise the student with questions from older lessons to ensure that the foundation is strong.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
By being really congratulatory and encouraging at everything they do right. People focus too much on what they do wrong and not enough on what they do well. It's important to see that, too.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I ask them by phone and email, talk to their parents if that's relevant, and begin to assess their real (versus what's worked in the past for them to get by in subjects they're weak in) level of aptitude. Then I work on repetition and in depth knowledge of basics, while meeting the student's stated needs, which are often superficial (test taking success) compared to real learning. I try to make sure they feel they've truly been educated more deeply on the subject and walked away with a better liking of it. But I also help them ace their tests. :)
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use whatever the student is using for class. So they need to provide texts, copies, and rules around sources that are allowed to be cited. (Eg, Wikipedia is a great dictionary/atlas/oracle, but it's not kosher at many universities as a citation for research papers.) I work within those rules. I have an extensive personal library in the subjects I teach, and access to the public library and certain research organizations.