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During my long and diverse career, I have taught several subjects and grade levels. Actually, I have taught classes from kindergarten through adults, but my primary classroom teaching experience was with students at the middle and high school levels. I have also tutored individual and small groups, mainly to increase their reading, spelling, literature, vocabulary, and writing skills. In addition, I have taught study, reasoning, and test-taking skills in variety of subject areas.
My students have come from a wide spectrum of achievement levels and backgrounds. Generally speaking, I can almost guarantee that the students I work with, especially those I tutor, will increase their grade level scores as well as their interest in learning more about the subject matter or skill sets to the extent possible in the time available. Mutual goal-setting and realistic steps toward the attainment of these goals is an approach that I feel works well with most of my students.
In addition to teaching and tutoring, I have also been actively involved for many years in writing test items and developing scoring methods for some of the most widely used standardized tests in the United States. I have worked as a consultant for some major testing companies, such as ETS, Pearson, and McGraw-Hill. Developing writing test prompts (topics) for both students and teachers, and training those who score their responses has been one of my favorite professional activities. (If you are still in school, perhaps you should keep the teacher testing part of this to yourself!)
How did I get away with testing teachers as well as students, you might ask. Along the way, I earned a B.A. in English, an M.A. in Reading Instruction, and even a Ph.D. in Testing, along with Research and Statistics (or Sadistics, as those in my classes used to call it). Well-versed in the selection of materials that are suitable and at an appropriate level of readability for tutoring and testing specific students, I have participated in the development of many curriculum and instructional programs, as well as presenting a wide range of in-service programs.
Another application of my background was the development of tests for the skill sets required to perform well in various occupations using information from groups of experts in these vocations and professions. I am able to design or access diagnostic tests to determine a specific student's entry level and progress in the areas of tutoring requested, whether academic or job-related.
With all of this "Tutoring, Teaching, and Testing" (the three "T's," as I fondly call them) going on, you might wonder what kind of person I am to work with. I consider myself to be both knowledgeable and nice! Fortunately, the feedback I have received over the years from my students and their families, teachers, and employers has been overwhelmingly positive as well.
I try to incorporate my students' interests in my tutoring and testing materials unless their interests are contradictory to their instructional needs, of course. Since I have been fortunate to have experienced so many applications of the learning process myself, I know first-hand how teachers, test writers, textbook publishers, and employers think and what kinds of skills they are looking for students to demonstrate. I do not, however, consider my style of tutoring to be simply "teaching to the test," unless that is the specific objective of the student.
I strive to meet my students at their individual skill levels and to tutor them at a pace and with the materials that will accomplish our mutually-defined goals. Sometimes a student, for example, will have excellent skills in some areas of a subject area but need to focus and even "unlearn" misunderstandings about other skills. Our goals for the tutoring process may be pragmatic, such as learning how to pass a certain examination, or more general, such as improving their academic achievement levels overall. I feel that I have a wide range of teaching tools available, and that I can use creativity and versatility to spice up my lessons.
Let me also make it clear that the student does not need to learn how to write items or make instructional materials. It is clearly my job to do that kind of selection and development. The student's role is basically to be open to mutual goal-setting, to be receptive to the tutoring process, and to do the work necessary to achieve our goals.
The tutoring process is truly an investment in the future; it is a privilege that is not readily available to all students. At this time, the dividends of this process may not even be clear. But whether over the short or long term, it is my pleasure to pledge to you that you will someday look back and see how this process has helped you, perhaps in ways you cannot even imagine right now! I will be proud if I am able to invest in your future as well!
For a few years, I served the statewide administrator of the CBEST program. This entailed working with the testing company, especially in training their employees in how to score the writing test as intended. I also wrote items, mainly for the reading comprehension test.
Another of my responsibilities was to counsel prospective or current teachers on how to prepare for or retake the CBEST.
During my career, I have been an elementary and middle school Reading Specialist. In these positions, I worked one-on-one and with groups to enhance students' reading comprehension and related skills. In addition, I was responsible for developing materials that were used by other classroom teachers in the district to increase their students' reading skills.
Having an M.A. in Reading Instruction has enabled me to work with students at all levels and in a variety of subject areas. Reading in the Content Areas (i.e., Social Studies, Science, Health and so on)is one of my specialties. Study skills as well as Test-Taking skills are also within the scope of my tutoring.
I have worked with students from K-6 who ranged from pre-reading through remedial reading. Also, I have worked with students who have grade level as well as advanced reading skills and want to build on them by increasing their vocabularies and abilities to read critically. I have also taught speed reading and higher order reading skills.
Thus, teaching from "Phonics through Philosophy," my scope of reading diagnosis and instruction has been a rewarding experience for me. My previous students can attest to my strength in this subject and I believe any new students will benefit from my tutoring as well.
I served as California's statewide coordinator for the development of the Single Subject English Standards Test Specifications team. Other participants on the original committee were content experts from English and subsumed areas, such as literature and writing. These content experts were representatives from the CSUS system, district offices. and teachers from various geographic areas of California. The work of this team was incorporated into the Praxis examination.
During my B.A. and M.A. programs, teaching study skills was an important component of my English and Reading preparation. I have tutored and taught classes in study skills to both middle and high school students. These skills can be applied across a number of subject areas. In some cases, my instruction was targeted to students in need of remediation. Other students were in need of more efficient ways of structuring their strategies for studying and of eliminating
ineffective study habits.
My doctoral dissertation focused on differences in elementary school student achievement levels based on their patterns of attention to teacher cues about what was and was not important to learn during ongoing instruction.
Having a B.A. with Honors in English, I taught language arts and English to elementary, middle, and high school students during my career as a classroom teacher and later as a tutor and test preparation coach.
Writing has always been my favorite activity and subject matter. Having taught various levels and kinds of writing, (i.e., creative writing, essay writing, reports and proposals as well as poetry), I am versatile in meeting student's needs.
I also have a background as a journalist and published author.
Wonderful and Kind — Patricia V. has an exceptional educational background! I would highly recommend Patricia for assistance with critical reading and writing skills. In addition, she has a patient attitude and sincerity. She is very organized and has a wonderfully kind and gentle approach that has really helped my son. ...
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