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Aside from tutoring, I currently work as a professional test scorer, evaluating essays written by students for standardized tests.

I received my bachelor's degree in Japanese Language and Literature from The University of Iowa, where I also focused my studies on creative writing, taking undergraduate poetry workshops almost every semester, as well as two summer sessions of graduate poetry workshops, which allowed me to study under the professors of one of the nation's top-rated creative writing MFA programs. I also spent a year studying Japanese at Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan.

My studies in both Japanese and creative writing began in high school, during which time I was the Editor-in-chief of both the school newspaper and the school literary magazine, and I took a short exchange trip to a high school in Okinawa, Japan.

Between writing, editing, and work-shopping, I have abundant experience in the writing process, and am excited to help with anything from essay editing to interpretation of literature. These skills also supplement my Japanese language knowledge, and allow me to teach students not only how to speak Japanese, but how to understand it as a language.

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Justin’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Iowa - Bachelors, Japanese Language and Literature

Test Scores

ACT Reading: 34


Travel, film, history, reading, writing

Tutoring Subjects

ACT Reading

College English

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Writing


English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

High School English

High School Writing



Middle School Reading

Middle School Writing


Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization

Test Prep


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe that teaching is more than the act of imparting knowledge, and that learning is more than memorization. Especially when it comes to language, be it English literature or conversational Japanese, there are an uncountable number of correct answers. As with art, which correct answer to give is an aesthetic choice. The job of a teacher is to give the student the tools and skills not only to communicate effectively, but to find a way to communicate in a style that is distinctly their own.

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

I would begin by gauging both the student’s goals and current skill level. I would do this by having the student go over their syllabus or explain what they hope to achieve through tutoring. I would then have a conversation with the student about the subject, possibly asking questions meant to gauge their current skill level. Next, I would explain to them what I believe I can do to increase their skill level and try to give them a general idea of how I would like to tutor them to give maximum results. Finally, I would jump right into the tutoring, so that the student can get a good sense of my style and techniques right away.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

One can help a student become an independent learner by teaching them learning skills, both general and specific to the subject they are learning. These overall learning strategies include such techniques as the use of mnemonic devices, and specific learning strategies include things like how to learn Kanji as fragments, and how to think of them as "pictures" to come together to form larger pictures.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

The most important strategy to keep a student motivated is to teach to their particular learning style. For example, if the repetition of learning through pure memorization is causing a student to lose interest or feel unable to learn, it might be a good idea to allow them to learn by doing. For example, when teaching Japanese, let the student practice target grammar through conversation instead of through drills, or, in the case of writing, have the student write a piece that includes use of grammatical styles that the student is having trouble understanding.

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