I am a subject matter expert in reading and writing, as well as a tutor with an 18-year track record of turning students around--many very quickly.
Student grades depend on student effort and where the student is starting, but some recent marks of my students include A's on college papers, 100% on an IB poetry assignment (up from an 80 average), and A's on elementary reading and writing tests.
Not only do my students improve their grades; they also learn how to learn. My goal is that they will eventually no longer need my help.
My approach is hands-on and eclectic; rather than lecturing, I prefer to discover each student's strengths and interests and work from them.
I have successfully tutored for 18 years in grades K-12, as well as adults. In particular, I enjoy working with students who have been labeled ADD, ADHD, dyslexic, dyspraxic, or told they have learning disabilities. Many times, those who have not been progressing with the school's method will make good progress with the methods that I use. These methods include hands-on techniques that use various senses to help the student get the information.
I also teach conversational ESL classes to students with some English background. My ESL experience includes teaching conversational English by internet phone to students overseas.
With a B.A. in English Literature, I've also been a writer and editor for military contractors. Another of my jobs was to edit curriculum and books for a major specialty publisher. Outside of tutoring, I am an artist with gallery representation, and I sell vintage furniture and home goods in an online shop.
I started tutoring with a remedial English teaching assistantship while at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. My children were dyslexic and had other learning struggles, so I understand students' and parents' challenges. Under the mentorship of a pioneering reading specialist, I home schooled them, learning to write custom curriculum with a holistic approach to learning (hands-on, reaching all of the senses). One of our sons--who had struggled a great deal--went on to get a master's degree at a highly respected university. Afterward, I tutored for Volusia County Public Schools and individual clients.
From a writing method used by Ben Franklin, to newer methods developed to teach adults to read, I use creative avenues to reach my students. Besides one-on-one time, every student gets personal lesson plans geared to his or her interests, abilities, and learning style. It's easier to learn something we like, so we use materials that appeal to each student and play games when appropriate.
My students usually progress more quickly than they would with traditional teaching methods. However, every student is different, and a few simply need a lot of repetition.
I offer online tutoring by video conference because it can be extremely convenient for both sides. Some families don't live near a tutor with the particular expertise they need, but online access makes it possible. For parents, there is no driving to another location, no last-minute straightening of the house, no concern about a stranger in the home, and less inconvenience to other family members than with another person in the home. Other family activities can continue a little more smoothly than they might otherwise. Also, there are probably fewer cancellations on either side, because tutoring can continue in poor weather or when either student, parent, or teacher has a cold or other minor health issue.
I always enjoy discussing solutions with students and parents, and I make a point of responding quickly to messages and phone calls.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Hood College - Bachelors, English Literature
SAT Verbal: 710
My hobbies/interests are painting Florida landscapes and selling fine vintage furniture online
CLEP American Government
CLEP American Literature
CLEP College Composition
CLEP English Literature
CLEP History of the United States II: 1865 to the Present
College Application Essays
College Level American Literature
College World History
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Science
Elementary School Writing
GED Reasoning Through Language Arts
High School Business
High School Economics
High School English
High School Geography
High School Level American Literature
High School Political Science
High School World History
High School Writing
HSPT Language Skills Prep
IB Business & Management
IB Language A: Language and Literature
IB Language A: Literature
IB Language B
ISEE-Lower Level Reading Comprehension
ISEE-Lower Level Verbal Reasoning
ISEE-Lower Level Writing
ISEE-Middle Level Reading Comprehension
ISEE-Middle Level Verbal Reasoning
ISEE-Middle Level Writing
ISEE-Upper Level Reading Comprehension
ISEE-Upper Level Verbal Reasoning
ISEE-Upper Level Writing
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Science
Middle School Writing
Technology and Computer Science
US Constitutional History
Q & A
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I will evaluate where the student is and find out what he (or the parents) want to accomplish. Next on the list would be finding out the student's interests, strengths, and weaknesses. Then, we would talk about next steps and make a plan of attack.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
First, I think it's essential for the student to understand why something is important to learn. The next thing is to learn some study skills, if necessary. Learning to set achievable goals and meet them is the final step to success.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I like to work within their interests and strengths. No one wants to work on something that seems dull and impossible.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would determine whether I need to approach the skill or concept differently. Sometimes, the student just needs a lot of drill or repetition. We can make that fun and achievable, too.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I have them listen to me read a lot at first. We may work on phonics or reading mechanics, if that's necessary. It's very important when reading or listening to learn to make pictures in our minds of what is being described, so we would work on that, too.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
It varies by the student. What is most important to me is to appeal to the student's interests, goals, and strengths. We can use these to build up or work around the weaknesses.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
We'd talk about what he likes to do and what he wants to be able to do. When appropriate, we'd talk about career goals and life goals and how that subject fits in. The other thing I like to do is put things in an understandable context. History can be very dry if we focus on dates alone, but it comes alive if we focus on the stories of individuals and find ways to connect with the time and place (pictures, biographies, maps...even field trips, if possible).
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
This really depends on the subject. If quizzing is needed, we'd do that. I can usually tell by the work going on in our sessions where the student is.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Getting the skill or concept is key to building confidence, so we would focus on small, achievable goals.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
It depends on the subject. I like to see some recent work by the student. I may do a little quiz or have the student read for me, if appropriate.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I write or choose curriculum for each student from scratch. I don't believe in one size fits all. This is something I do that I believe is unique. I've been trained to write curriculum that appeals to various learning styles, and I don't hesitate to do that. Also, if what we are using doesn't work, I will try something else.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
This would completely depend on the subject. Sometimes, a pen or pencil and paper are enough. We might use hands-on items, if appropriate. Games and flashcards are other things I use in some subjects. Sometimes, workbooks are appropriate. I do prefer real books to textbooks when we can use them.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe in using the interests and strengths of the student to build up and/or work around the weaknesses. I like to find out the way(s) that a student learns best and appeal to them. Finally, it always helps to have fun.