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As both as an educator and a writer, I've discovered that so much of life involves communication; not only bringing thoughts and feelings "to the surface," but learning how best to articulate and express them, both in written form and verbally. I love to see students gain confidence as they master concepts, integrate ideas, discover truths about themselves and become emotionally invested in the learning process. After all, learning is a blast: it's a lot of fun to learn!

To that end, I have taught students from age 5 to 98, in a wide variety of settings and under quite a range of circumstances for more than forty years. Aside from teaching English Composition and ESL at four California community colleges, in Japan for a year, and briefly at The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), I taught poetry reading in over fifty schools to students in three states (K-12) for 25 years through California Poets in the Schools. For over three years, I worked as a High School substitute, subbing in English, History, Biology, Foreign Language and PE classes. When opportunities to teach Screenplay, Fiction and Poetry Writing in California prisons, juvenile detention facilities and a State Hospital arose, I immediately took them up! Such challenges were wonderfully gratifying and provided me with plenty of opportunities to hone my teaching skills.

With regards to my education, as an undergraduate in search of a Creative Writing degree, I attended The University of Oregon, The University of California, Santa Barbara and The University of California, Santa Cruz. As a graduate student, I attended The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) for my ESL studies and The University of Southern California (USC) for my graduate school work in Creative Writing.

I attained a Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing and Art (Aesthetic Studies) from UC Santa Cruz. I attained my ESL certification and three other forms of licensure from UCLA and my master's degree in Professional Writing (Fiction and Poetry) from The University of Southern California (USC).

Over the last twenty years I have tutored English Composition, English grammar and all levels of ESL, primarily reading, writing and conversation. In terms of special subjects, I tutor Poetry Writing, Fiction Writing and Screenplay. I also have a great deal of experience editing other people's work.

The easy answer to my favorite subject is whatever I'm tutoring or teaching at the present time. I love teaching all of the earlier subjects I mentioned, though ESL probably provides the most immediate gratification. Mastering a new language, though difficult, is so rewarding and, at times, thrilling. English is quite challenging for non-native speakers and it always feels like a real privilege to try and guide such students through.

In terms of my teaching philosophy and tutoring style, I very much believe in what used to be called the affective domain encouraging students to invest themselves emotionally in subjects that interest them and helping emotionally engage students in subjects that they must "master," but resist. My approach is sort of soft-sell Socratic, in that I pose lots of questions to my students. This helps them learn through the use of critical thinking, reasoning and logic, though we seldom venture into the terminology!

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Michael’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of California-Santa Cruz - Bachelor of Fine Arts, Creative Writing

Graduate Degree: University of Southern California - Master of Arts, Professional, Technical, Business, and Scientific Writing


Outside of academia, I’m a victim of enthusiasms. I love writing, reading, music, film, hiking, traveling, meditation and exercise. I follow a number of sports (particularly basketball) and I love the arts.

Tutoring Subjects

Adult Literacy

American Literature

College English

College Level American Literature

Creative Writing


English Grammar and Syntax


Essay Editing

GED Prep

GED Reasoning Through Language Arts

High School English

High School Level American Literature

High School Writing

Introduction to Poetry

Middle School Reading Comprehension

Middle School Writing

Test Prep



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