For parents of K-12 English Language Arts students:
Does your child have a writing assignment due? When students see that reading provides a model for their writing, they begin to see the structure of how ideas are presented. Kids are expected to produce simple paragraphs in second grade, so they must master basic reading comprehension first to know how to have a clear topic sentence and main idea. Syntax, grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, spelling, and handwriting are also important at this stage. By the time they finish fifth grade, they should be able to do basic research and reports, write narratives, make persuasive arguments in compare/contrast essays, and develop ideas in a clear way. In middle school, they are introduced to writing for specific topics and audiences. They learn how to make persuasive arguments using the appeals (pathos, ethos, and logos), preparing for the critical thinking that takes place in high schools and universities. In high school, reading comprehension goes beyond identifying main idea, point of view, and purpose to connecting themes, motifs, and events, sometimes tying in historical events.
In the past two years, I have been helping students from kindergarten to eleventh grade make sense of the different types of writing and how they can approach their reading and writing assignments. This includes study skills like planning and prioritizing as well as how to read for gist and for specific information. I am familiar with the state English standards for DC, MD, and VA and explain to students what they will be studying that school year and why it is relevant. I will keep your student on task, I am always patient and encouraging, and I keep my sense of humor at all times. I am committed to your child's success!
For university students:
Have you got a research paper due? Do you have to use MLA or APA style? I'll show you how to do it from planning to final draft. What about your first-year English class? Have you got to write a Rogerian argument? Maybe you have to analyze how someone used pathos, ethos, or logos to influence an audience; maybe you have to make a rhetorical argument to persuade your audience. No matter what kind of writing you encounter, the author's purpose should be clear. I will help you to plan and organize your work, including how to make sure your grammar and punctuation are on point. In the last three years, I have been working with university students to write clear and concise papers. Let me help you do your best work!
For ESL students of any age:
I have ten years of experience teaching English, including classroom and one-to-one tutoring. I have been teaching English to adult immigrants at a local college since January 2017 and tutoring through Varsity for two years. I received my CELTA (Cambridge Certificate in Teaching English) in Budapest in 2004. From there, I spent four years at a British language school in Kiev, Ukraine, where I taught all ages and all levels, including absolute beginners and Cambridge certificate courses. I also tutored individuals and pairs, adults and children, in my free time. Upon returning to the U.S., I completed a master's degree in nonprofit management. I got a second master's in European and Eurasian studies at George Washington University, where I also tutored Kazakh exchange fellows for the Central Asia Program at the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies. My bachelor's degree in international relations is from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. I am an English teacher, but also a language learner. I have taken university-level French, Russian, and German, studied Latin and Spanish in school, and have taken classes in Persian and Arabic. I understand how it is for language learners, so I assess the needs of the student and go from there. I want my students to set the pace for their learning. We can tailor lessons to your needs, addressing your strengths and weaknesses, keeping in mind your individual learning style, whether you prefer learning by doing, listening, writing, reading, or speaking. I can help you make sense of all the grammar, pronunciation, and spelling so that you can speak English confidently!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of NC - Asheville - Bachelors, International Relations
Graduate Degree: George Washington University - Current Grad Student, European and Eurasian Studies
bike riding, exploring new places, trying new vegetarian dishes, taking care of animals, listening to older people talk about history, keeping up with international affairs
What is your teaching philosophy?
The student sets the pace; the teacher adapts to the student’s needs.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First sessions involve speaking, writing, and grammar assessment. We check the pronunciation, comfort level, and grammar knowledge, then talk about the timeline and expectations. After that, we make a plan and decide on the materials we'll use.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I recommend some tried-and-true grammar books with activities and answer keys, but also suggest watching videos and writing down words you recognize. I'm a big fan of word-building; if you don't know a word, but you recognize the root is similar to another word you know, and you know prefixes and suffixes, you can probably guess the meaning and understand whether it is a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb. I encourage students to not fear mistakes. Relax and keep trying. Use every opportunity to communicate, even with strangers, so you can challenge yourself to become fearless. Take charge of your learning!
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Focus on what you have already achieved and how it has gotten you closer to your goals. Don't push yourself too hard; try to relax by watching a movie with subtitles for a while if you have overdone it on the reading and grammar. You can switch off learning actively and passively. This will keep you from burning out.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I design my lessons for the individuals I teach, so even though I bring a lot of experience, I don't push one way of doing things. We regularly assess our progress and adapt the lessons to focus on where the weak areas are. We target the lessons to see improvement as soon as possible so the student doesn't feel we are ignoring any areas they need help with.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
That's easy. I'm motivated and excited, and know how to get students to share their interests with me. I can tie the lessons to what is relevant in their lives so they engage better. I like learning about my students and their cultures, and we can forget sometimes that we are working because we're integrating their lives into the themes of the lessons.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?