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I've been in love with words since my 5th grade English teacher inspired me to enter an essay contest and my essay was picked as the winner! I've always been an amateur poet (and by amateur, I do mean amateur) an avid storyteller. I earned my Bachelor's degree in English with an Education minor and my Master's in Professional Writing and Literature. Since then, I've spent most of the last two decades teaching students to read, write, analyze and think critically. I especially love working with students one-on-one because it gives me an opportunity to customize my teaching methods to the particular student's ways of learning. I have experience teaching thousands of students from diverse backgrounds and with a variety of strengths and weaknesses as learners. In the end, I'm interested not just in helping students complete particular assignments well but in providing them with methods and strategies to learn -- to fill up their "writing and reading bag o' tricks! I tutor students in English subjects -- writing and reading. I also tutor in history/world cultures as well as SAT prep.

When I'm not working with students, I spend time with my camera. I'm an amateur photographer and especially love taking pictures of the beautiful PNW landscape and furry four-leggeds (mostly dogs and cats but the occasional wilderness furball too when I encounter them on my hikes). I enjoy hiking (it's more like nature walking with slight inclines occasionally!). I, of course, love to write and read as well as make art (a lot of collage/decoupage/found art).

I look forward to working with Varsity students!

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Tracey’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Old Dominion University - Bachelors, English

Graduate Degree: Old Dominion University - Masters, Professional Writing and Literature


Photography, hiking, making art, reading & writing (no surprise there)

Tutoring Subjects

American Literature

AP English Language and Composition

AP English Literature and Composition

British Literature

CAHSEE English

College Essays

College Level American Literature

Comparative Literature

English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

Graduate Test Prep

GRE Analytical Writing

GRE Subject Test in Literature in English

GRE Subject Tests

GRE Verbal

High School Level American Literature



PSAT Critical Reading

PSAT Writing Skills

Public Speaking

SAT Reading

SAT Writing and Language

Social Studies

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization


Test Prep

World Civilization

World Literature


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

One of the foundations of my teaching philosophy is bringing the material to students where they are. In other words, to find some relevance between the students' lives and the material AND to assess where their current abilities are, and start from there.

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

The first session is not just about covering material but also in introducing ourselves to each other, understanding the student's goal for the session and for tutoring on a broader scale.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Encouraging, encouraging, encouraging, encouraging!! And by pointing to very concrete rewards and reasons for how the material and the task at hand will help them to achieve their longer-term goals, as well as short-term goals of completing their assignments.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Encouraging, coaxing, encouraging, encouraging, encouraging!!

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

Re-present the material in a different way, or in other terms that the student will understand more clearly.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

Walk through the process of reading carefully and analytically sampling texts, and asking them to articulate their understanding of the material as well as asking questions that will get them to a deeper understanding of the material. I also have several concrete reading strategies for reading texts that will give them step-by-step processes for reading critically.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

Putting students at ease and making them comfortable in the session by using humor and getting to know them personally as to what their goals are, what their interests are and what they enjoy doing so that I can more easily make connections between the material they are studying and their own personal interests and goals.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

It depends on the student and what motivates them. If a student dislikes a particular subject (which seems to be the case with English, my area of expertise :), I will attempt to help them to see how the subject is relevant and valuable to them.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

Asking questions, having them rephrase or paraphrase, having them practice a process or analytical strategy with me so I can see where they may be stumbling.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Achievement breeds confidence, so my goal is to walk students through the process of completing an assignment from start to finish -- from understanding what the assignment is asking them to do to turning in the final product and everything in between.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

By asking questions and analyzing where they seem to get stuck in each assignment, and what knowledge and practical strategies they already have in place.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

My tutoring is ALWAYS based on the student's individual needs -- that's the great thing about one-on-one tutoring as opposed to whole-classroom instruction. I am able to assess the student’s abilities and skills and build on them, or adapt them to more successfully achieve their goals.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

I have tons of handouts and materials from my almost 20 years of teaching writing, literature and the humanities at the college level.

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