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Tara T.

Writing, English, French, and All Elementary Subjects

Pasadena, CA (91107)

Travel radius
10 miles
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With ten years of full-time classroom experience, I know how students learn and how to engage their interests. I have current teaching credentials in English, French, and multiple subjects and a master’s degree in education from UCLA. I will bring good lesson plans and a cheery disposition to make the most of your learning time.

My strongest subject is probably anything to do with the English language: writing, reading comprehension, grammar, literature, vocabulary, and spelling. I even started a blog about it! I have taken many classes in different forms of writing, both fiction and non-fiction, and I love to write stories and communicate with language. I know all the obscure little grammar rules, and I am excellent at proofreading and finding those tiny mistakes. I can help you with the mechanics and your accent, if English is not your first language. Or, I can help you create flow and lucidity in advanced writing projects. I have a single-subject credential in English to teach all ages Pre-K through adult.

I have over 30 years of experience speaking French. I lived in France and went to school there for two years, and French natives are always impressed with my accent and vocabulary. I have a single-subject credential in French from the State of California, and I majored in the language at UC Berkeley. I can teach beginners through advanced students in speaking, reading, and writing it.

I taught all subjects to elementary students, kindergarten through fifth, so I can easily tutor those grades (and middle school as well). I have been a substitute teacher in all grades Pre-K through 12th in many different school environments and communities. I love science, math, reading, writing, history, and art. And, I think learning should be fun! In my free time I take painting classes myself; I write poetry, and I sing in a barbershop chorus.

I am a real smarty-pants, and I can help you become one too!

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Tara’s subjects


I have had a long career in business in several different industries, including advertising and marketing, entertainment, insurance, public utilities, publishing, financial services, as well as real estate and law. Therefore, I have advanced experience in business, particularly as it relates to communication in both writing and speaking. I have written training materials, presentations, and correspondence, and I have given speeches and taught lessons to large groups as well.


I took art and art history in college, both at UC Berkeley and while studying abroad in Paris, France. I was also the arts program chair at my previous school and learned wonderful art projects for children from the trained, visual arts teachers. However, my real education in art began in 2010 when I began taking weekly fine arts classes at Mission Renaissance in Pasadena. I started with line drawing, then moved on to tone drawing (with charcoal). I was amazed with the progress I made and the useful skills I gained with regards to drawing. I also took note of the helpful way the instructors guided me to recognize my own errors and to learn how to fix them myself. Eventually I moved on to tone painting in oils, then color, then basic painting in oils, using a variety of techniques and media (glazing, poppy seed oil, linseed oil, beeswax, wet-into-wet, palette-knife painting, alla prima, etc.). I still take these weekly classes and practice drawing in my spare time.

Elementary (K-6th)

I have a multiple-subject teaching credential from the State of California and a master's degree in education from UCLA. I was a full-time classroom teacher in an elementary school for nine years, plus spent an additional year as a substitute teacher and/or student teacher in all grades pre-K through 6th. I taught all subjects in those grades.

Elementary Math

I spent ten years teaching elementary math (among other subjects). It was one of my favorite things to teach! I attended several conferences for math teachers and did lots of professional development in the subject to learn how to make math easier to understand and remember.

I taught a pre-algebra class to gifted fifth graders as an after-school program. We used manipulatives (chess pawns and number cubes) to help them grasp concepts that can otherwise seem very abstract.

With younger grades I used all kinds of other objects and games to help them learn the ideas and then practice them.

I also taught a summer school math review class to ninth graders. They loved the games we played, and their test scores improved more than any of the other three math groups in session that year.

Elementary Science

I taught science in elementary school for ten years (mostly fourth and fifth grade). I took several practical classes in science methods when I was getting my master's degree in education. I also took numerous professional development courses in the F.O.S.S. program for teaching science, developed at U.C. Berkeley. It's an excellent hands-on system that encourages the students to figure things out for themselves and keep records of their discoveries, just like professional scientists. I always encourage my students to consider a future career in the sciences and to appreciate the creativity and problem-solving of the subject, as opposed to merely memorizing facts.


I have ten years experience teaching English at the elementary level. I have also taken courses to teach English at the secondary level. I have advanced knowledge of English grammar and vocabulary, to the point that other teachers often come to consult me on such issues. And, I have a deep love of English literature, poetry, and especially Shakespeare.

I earned a master's degree in education, so I have a good understanding of how people learn. And, I have a bachelor's degree in French, which included a fair amount of literary criticism, although in another language. Learning a second language, however, helped me develop a deeper knowledge and understand of English, my first language.

I am capable of teaching all aspects of English language arts.


I am a native English speaker with an excellent understanding of the mechanics of the language. Even other teachers come to me to ask questions about grammar and syntax. I pronounce my words nicely and clearly, with no strong accent, and I have tons of patience!

I taught school for ten years, and most of my students were second-language learners. I also took several classes in graduate school that focused on how to teach English as a second language.

I speak a second language myself (French), which actually helps me know my first language better. I also remember what it was like to first struggle with and then master that language.


I've been speaking French for over 30 years. I lived in France for two years and studied the language in school for eight years. I have a bachelor's degree in French from UC Berkeley. Native speakers always compliment my accent, and I am fluent at speaking, reading, and writing.

I attended L'Ecole Internationale Européene de Paris in high school, and in college I spent a year at Le Centre Parisien d'Etudes Critiques and L'Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris III, Censier.

On top of that, I have ten years of teaching experience, a multiple-subject teaching credential, and a master's degree from UCLA, so I know how to help someone understand a subject, organize study materials, and retain information in an engaging way.


I was an expert at grammar long before I became a teacher. In fact, it was one of the driving forces in my pursuing teaching. My parents had taught me how to speak and write correctly (and to this day they won't allow me to break those rules), but I found that other adults did not appreciate being corrected. However, younger people are still willing and able to learn such things, and I felt it could be so useful to them to be able to make the right impression by speaking and writing standard English. I also mastered many of the more technical aspects of English by learning French and other languages because I had to become aware of the rules that govern English grammar and not just what sounds right. I also benefited from some excellent English teachers in middle school and high school who gave me a solid foundation in the subject.


I have been an avid reader all my life. I love a good story well told. In high school and college I gained a good understanding of how to evaluate what an author was trying to communicate and the techniques he or she used to do so. After college I have been studying writing as a craft, which gives me fresh insight into whatever I read now. In my ten years of teaching experience, I helped my students think about and analyze what they read in order to be able to draw conclusions and be critical thinkers.


I first learned to paint in acrylics in college at UC Berkeley, and I have been doing that ever since. More recently I learned how to finish my pieces by covering them in epoxy resin, which looks like 50 layers of varnish and makes a great effect.

Since 2011, however, I have also learned how to paint in oils at Mission Renaissance, using some of the same techniques that the old European masters have employed for centuries. They first required me to improve my drawing skills, but then I was able to start painting in tone, using only two colors (raw umber and white). This helped me grasp how to manipulate the paint and establish the different values, before adding the next layer of difficulty with color.

Learning the principles of color mixing and choosing a limited palette really opened my eyes. I learned to "grey down" a color using its compliment and how to blend almost any color using only the three primaries. Then in the basic painting course, I started working with different media, in addition to linseed oil, such as glazing medium, beeswax, poppy seed oil, and stand oil. I also got to try different techniques like palette-knife painting and wet-into-wet.

I continue to take these weekly classes, and I'm excited to see my skills develop.


I have a multiple-subject teaching credential from the State of California and a master's degree in education from UCLA. I was a full-time classroom teacher in an elementary school for nine years, plus spent an additional year as a substitute teacher and/or student teacher in all grades pre-K through 6th. I was teaching the Open Court Reading program, which places an enormous emphasis on phonics. I also had to attend multiple trainings and professional development classes in how to teach the subject.


I have ten years of teaching experience (in all subjects), but I especially enjoy teaching math.

I attended several conferences for math teachers and did lots of professional development in the subject to learn how to make math easier to understand and remember.

I taught a summer school math review class to ninth graders. They loved the games we played, and their test scores improved more than any of the other three math groups in session that year.

I also taught a pre-algebra class to gifted fifth graders as an after-school program. We used manipulatives (chess pawns and number cubes) to help them grasp concepts that can otherwise seem very abstract.


I first developed my strength at proofreading in my early career in advertising. I had to check print ads and circulars, especially for detail-heavy computer hardware, and I trained myself to spot missing commas or inconsistent descriptions. Naturally taking pride in my work, I made it a habit to notice anything amiss in written material, however minor, and try to fix it. This also improved my general writing skill, as frequent proofreading allowed me to check the flow of my work as well as the technical aspects. It takes practice and discipline, but it is a useful tool for making a good impression.

Public Speaking

I first took a speech class when I was in high school, where I was also on the speech team and participated in competitions, both in English and French. I also took a lot of drama classes both in high school and at a community theatre, where I performed in several plays and musicals. I currently sing with a women's barbershop chorus, where I am regularly the emcee, hosting shows and introducing songs and other performers. I taught elementary school for ten years, so I am comfortable talking in front of a group, whether it's children or adults. I originally gained this confidence from my church, where speaking in front of the congregation is a regular practice, even for young children.


I have always been good at reading comprehension because I visualize what I read. I also stop and analyze the text as I go along, whether it's theoretical non-fiction or just an entertaining story, and then I go back and re-read if there was anything I missed. I know how to pass along these skills to others because I did it for ten years teaching elementary school. As a teacher, I learned many strategies to break down all language arts concepts to make them easier for students to understand. I also took classes in teaching reading to secondary students, and I have a master's degree in education.


I first got involved in speech and drama in middle school and high school. I competed in speech tournaments in both English and French and performed in many plays and musicals. I also took speech class. I enjoy doing dramatic readings and reciting Shakespeare. Currently, I am a regular master of ceremonies (emcee) for my women's barbershop chorus, so I have the privilege of introducing performers or individual songs to large audiences, using sometimes humorous, sometimes serious scripts that I write myself. I articulate my words clearly and professionally, but I can also imitate a few regional accents for more dramatic effect.

Study Skills

I have a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's degree from UCLA, both demanding universities where I was able to maintain an excellent grade-point average. This was due in part to my organizational skills, planning, and self-discipline, as well as to a determination to meet my short and long-term goals.

I was an elementary school teacher for ten years, so I know what is necessary for a student to be able to manage homework and prepare for tests. I also had to help my students gradually increase their abilities to sit still and read for progressively longer periods of time.

I went to school in France for two years, where students are much more on their own to learn the material and to prepare for intensive, end-of-year exams. Being fairly observant, I took in their various methods for preparing themselves.

In all of my working life, which has included several different careers to date, I have implemented my talent for structure, time-management, and focus to help me stay on top of my workload.


I have spent a lifetime developing a rich and extensive vocabulary. This was first fostered by my parents, who are both great readers and gave me a love of words. I added to it by my own reading habits and by learning other languages, which actually added to my understanding of my native tongue and the origin of many words. Being able to break down words into their affixes and roots or knowing their cognates in another language are two of the vocabulary strategies I teach my students, along with using context.


I have considered myself a writer all my life. Of all my many hobbies and pursuits, it's probably the one I do best. I have taken classes in both fiction and non-fiction writing (screenwriting, novel writing, and journalism). I spent a considerable amount of time on academic writing, including a master's thesis. And, I love writing sonnets!

As I teacher I learned a number of helpful techniques for students to structure their thinking using graphic organizers. I believe in guiding their brainstorming without stifling their creativity. I can show them how to vary their sentences, check the flow of their writing, and how to revise and proofread effectively. I can also teach them how to write for different purposes, to persuade, to inform, or to entertain, for example.

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UC Berkeley (French)


Very patient! Tara has been simply superb in helping our 10 year old son with his English. Expert, patient and clear, she has taught her a considerable amount in areas such as sentence construction, the various styles of writing, the correct use of grammar and how to use a richer vocabulary. The results have been significant and our son's skills in English have gone from strength to strength and he is now doing ...

— Chris from San Gabriel, CA on 10/17/13);

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $45.00

Cancellation: 12 hours notice required

Special discounts for regular/long-term or multiple hour lessons.

Travel policy

Tara will travel within 10 miles of Pasadena, CA 91107.

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