I am a new American and so I bet I know your history better than you do. First, as a Canadian, we make it a priority to understand what makes our neighbor tick. Second, as a teacher in the LA public school system for the past 12 years, I had the pleasure of teaching high school level U.S. History to teen and adult students and we all had a good time. As one resource, I often used PBS and History Channel documentaries to add another perspective. Third, I read a lot of US history books and biographies for personal entertainment. Knowing what happened in the past helps me understand - or be appalled by - what is happening today.
As a teacher in LA public schools for the past 12 years, I concentrated on teaching English - language and American culture - to ESL students. I also taught high school English from Grade 9 through to Grade 12 subjects - writing, comprehension and grammar - to students still polishing their command of their new language, and to American students who must have fallen asleep in earlier English classes and needed to repeat courses. I have been a tutor with WyzAnt for almost a year and have received good ratings. English language skills and comprehension are crucial to job readiness. I pride myself in filling in educational gaps.
I taught English language to newcomers for 12 years. My students were in the adult school program of the LAUSD, and included people of all ages and all levels of previous education: those with minimal schooling who wanted better work, and foreign professionals who needed US credentials. At the American Language Institute at UCLA I taught young adults trying to qualify for UCLA entrance. There was even a stint at a clothing manufacturer to help improve workers' chances of advancement. Currently, I am a tutor with WyzAnt and a teacher at a private language school in Santa Monica. In all cases, student feedback has been positive. I can help with comprehension, writing and pronunciation. English can seem daunting, but I make your new language accessible with traditional teaching methods but also with entertaining ways to help you pick up vocabulary, idioms and an understanding of American culture.
In my 12 years at a teacher in the LA Adult School program I helped prepare many newcomers (ESL students) and Americans returning to complete high school/GED qualifications. I use practice in reading comprehension to help you understand the GED questions so that you can answer them quickly and correctly. We will do practice tests to assess your progress before investing in the tests themselves. Please note that the GED test in California has changed. In Los Angeles, you now have three options. Please check with your local school board for more information about the GED - also now called the High School Equivalency Test.
Government & Politics
As a teacher, a news "junkie", and because I recently completed the process to get American citizenship - I know US government systems well. I taught the subject to high school and adult students over the course of my 12 years as a teacher in the LA public school Adult Education program. It is a fascinating subject, and I'm sure I can help you understand the mechanics of government and help you become an active and savvy participant in local and national politics.
As an ESL teacher and instructor of high school English grammar, writing, reading and literature for the past 12 years, I am very comfortable explaining grammar rules. I try to get the student to discover the rules rather than to impose them on faith. Before I started teaching English, grammar was just a "given"; thank goodness for a good early education and literate parents. When I studied for my teaching certificate, I had to rationalize the rules for others and found it fun to make them clear. I believe that the "bones" of a language are important. As I learned French and, recently, Spanish, knowing the basic structure of a language was hugely helpful.
My university degree was heavy in English Lit. courses and I remain a voracious reader of classic and contemporary writing. I also taught English and America Literature courses to high school and adult students during my 12 years with the LA public school Adult Education program. Your confidence in this subject may need to be encouraged with practice in comprehension and help identifying an author's theme, style and mood of his/her writing. My experience can help you prepare for tests, write essays or term papers and, ultimately, to become an enthusiast reader of great works.
I have always enjoyed editing written work and remaining friends with the author after I have finished. Proofreading requires not only checking grammar and spelling, but making sure the ideas are clearly presented without cramping the author's creativity. It is a pleasure to see a polished work that does what it needs to do - effectively expressed with the right words for the right audience. My work in public relations required rigorous proofing. In my work as a teacher I edited and proofread students' work with them as a learning opportunity.
From my early career in public relations I wrote speeches for senior government officers and am, therefore, able to assist others craft the words that convey a message effectively. I also have experience on the stage and can advise on posture, breathing and intonation. My years as a teacher included class projects requiring students to make individual presentations. Critique of these presentations was designed to improve a student's ability to overcome stage fright and to deliver a speech in an entertaining and informative manner.
Far too often, problems with reading skills are not discovered until late in our education. Over the course of my 12 years working in the Adult Education program of the LA public schools I would meet high school students nearing graduation who were suddenly diagnosed with a much lower reading level; some at grades 4 or 5 when they were in grade 10 or 11 in school. I also worked with adult ESL students who are learning a new alphabet. While I sympathize with the frustrations, I focus on the end goal and work with students to move forward quickly with improved comprehension, pronunciation and analytical skills.
Word power is key to your employability. You need a good vocabulary to express yourself verbally and to prepare written reports or school assignments. You will get these skills by learning and using new words, understanding how to use a dictionary efficiently and practicing the new words in everyday context. You will also be encouraged to read more and to watch for new words in your environment: on the bus, on TV etc. You might enjoy cross word puzzles and other word games. In my 12 years as a LA public school teacher (Adult Education program) my classes - in all subjects - included vocabulary lists so words become part of the study program.
My work in public relations required me to write a great deal of material - press releases, brochures, radio and TV ads and speeches. As a teacher for the LA Unified School District for 12 years, I was constantly helping students produce clear, interesting essays. My recipe for good writing is to follow a simple process to brainstorm your ideas and then to write within a structured format. You want to use a varied vocabulary and to double check your work to smooth out rough spots. I have edited the work of hundreds of other writers and helped them polish their text to make it readable and entertaining.