At just the age when young people need the greatest guidance—typically sometime around 9th grade—they also need to feel somewhat independent from their parents. I hope to provide students a safe place to reveal and explore their successes and challenges as writers, readers, critical thinkers and learners.
As I help students understand how writing, reading, and thinking are all inextricably linked, I show students the skills they will need to succeed in middle- and high school, college and the workplace. While I do intend to provide students with a certain degree of triage to survive particular academic crises, I want to work more toward providing students with the skills and habits that will allow them to succeed in larger contexts than any particular assignment or course.
I hope to help students reach their highest potential both in the classroom and beyond into joyful, life-long learning:
•I will help students to view class time as test preparation, showing students how to take effective notes, read actively and make efficient use of teacher help when provided by asking specific questions, even working to solve personality conflicts in anticipation of and preparation for particular assignments.
•I will show young learners how to break projects into component parts and take responsibility by using appropriate supports, such as wall calendars and check-ins from parents, teachers and/or myself as learners move toward success as students and individuals.
•I will assist students in reading for retention as they learn such strategies as previewing, note-taking, summarizing, making connections, drawing inferences and uncovering meaning; coming to understand the importance of such habits as reading with a pencil and asking questions.
In addition, I attempt to provide parents with useful strategies to support students on their journeys toward success. Often a student’s academic difficulty arises not out of something endemic to their personality but rather something external that can be ameliorated with, for example, better time management or simply by finding a quiet place at or away from home to learn more effectively.
It is not only my goal that students better understand criteria for successful essays—including topic development, organization, style and “grammar”—I assist learners to set up routines and prioritize, helping them to develop focus and initiative as they battle those harmful feelings of failure that arise. I provide students with strategies to face their writing fears and manage occasional blocks as we together address particular "problems" with writing not as illnesses but merely fluid stages through which every writer must pass in the process of reaching that highest potential.
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