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I am a local freelance writer.
Currently I freelance a column called Historically Speaking for the south Orange County editions of The Orange County Register. Previously I wrote a community column for the Rancho Santa Margarita community paper published by The Orange County Register. You can also find my online history columns, written over a two year period, at the Lake Forest edition of patch.com.
With regards to tutoring, in the past five years I've assisted a number of children in English and math, initially at Huntington Learning Center in Mission Viejo, and more recently for Healthy Families in Lake Forest. In the past year my private tutoring experience includes working with children living in the Rancho Santa Margarita and Mission Viejo areas. I've also worked with adults, assisting them with letter forms, essays, and term papers.
My goal for each person is to help them discover their own abilities in whatever area is challenging them, and to furnish them with the tools that will help them in that direction.
I am qualified for Elementary K-6th for a number of reasons . . . the first being that I earned a multiple subject teaching credential at UCI!
But in terms of practical application, I have taught in a combination 2/3 classroom, I have substituted in grades 1-8, and currently--through Healthy Families--I am tutoring three kindergartners, one second grader, two third graders, and two fifth graders, while in past years I have also tutored at the first and fourth grade levels.
It should be noted that sometimes the children I work with are not just slightly but FAR from performing at their particular grade level, so in addition I have learned to be flexible in designing my lesson plans. If the child has not already been assessed and I have not been asked, specifically, to help with homework assignments, we start with something basic in the desired subject area, then progress to the level that offers the child a comfortable challenge. The idea is to develop lesson plans that encourage and reinforce the child's confidence levels in what they DO know . . . but also provide level-appropriate challenges!
I am a former English major who has tutored a variety of ages, from pre-Kindergarten to adult college level, in language arts. This would include, for the beginners, letter and word recognition, vowel and consonant sounds, reading outloud, etc., and for elementary level, reading comprehension,
I have coached many people — from kindergarten age to adult — in how to speak, read, and write in English, and I have been complimented that I make the process fun. Perhaps this is because I agree that English is a strange, frustrating, and amusing language!
I was initially trained as a multiplie subject teacher for grades K-6. In more recent times, I have tutored for Healthy Families and worked with children, grades K-5, in language arts, including the development and understanding of phonics-based learning. I have a variety of materials for helping a student to develop their phonics skills, including workbooks, worksheets, and flash cards.
I am an experienced proofreader, as well as an editor and writer. I have proofed term papers, magazine and newspaper articles, and business proposals and correspondence. Recently I proofed a manuscript for a children's book about local history. I consider proofreading an exciting challenge. It also is a wonderful opportunity to help make a good item of writing even better. And as a writer, I appreciate how important it is to have a second pair of eyes review what already has been written!
As is the case with so many people, I used to have a fear of public speaking. Then I went to work for a public speaking organization and a few months late joined one of the organization’s clubs. Soon I was learning how to prepare for a speech by following a number of very necessary steps, including 1) understanding the nature of the assignment, in terms of topic, length, and audience expectations; 2) carefully constructing the speech so that it would meet all necessary requirements; and 3) practicing the speech so as to attain a level of comfort prior to stepping onto the podium and up to the lectern. I also learned how to employ techniques such as vocal variety and body language. So when the opportunity presented itself to become a docent (tour guide) at a local historic site, I did not hesitate. Almost ten years later, I continue to lead and speak before tour groups on a regular basis. I also have been invited to speak at a number of local organizations . . . and accept with pleasure! In short, I have learned that a fear of public speaking can be mastered. I’ve also learned that with the right speaking tools and at least one person to provide feedback and support, all those butterflies fluttering around in one's tummy can be made to fly in formation!
As an English major, tutor, freelance writer, and ominvorous reader, I know how to review a paragraph both for practical reasons as well as reading pleasure. I've also successfully taken the SAT--despite pre-test jitters!--and am familiar with test-taking strategies.
Strong study skills are a huge part of the success equation! And while many students are inherently talented in math, reading, and other subjects, if they haven't yet honed these skills, their grades and test-taking abilities are likely to suffer. That's why the development of excellent study skills is the key to achieving not just scholastic success, but also success in other life disciplines.
I have worked with both children and adults in areas of math and language arts, as a teacher and, most currently, as a tutor. Along with reviewing the material with the person--helping them to understand and eventually master that material--I emphasize the development of skills that will help them achieve their goals. It could be something as simple as good posture, taking a break midway to stretch and relax, and effective time management, i.e., suggesting that "We should complete this activity within 10 minutes, then move on to the next activity. But if the first activity is not completed in 15 minutes, we will return to it before the end of the session and review it before bringing it to completion."
Another skill I encourage students to develop is that of mnemonics. I demonstrate how it can be a fun part of learning, i.e. noting that since here and hear are homophones, the way you can tell them apart is that you "hear" with your "ear"! Or, I encourage students to look for patterns. In trying to remember times tables, for example, we work on a chart and note that 0 times another number is ALWAYS 0; 1 times a number is ALWAYS that number; 2 times a number is related to skip counting; and that if you know how to count by fives, you'll find multiplying by fives a cinch!
When it comes to writing, I encourage the student to brainstorm their ideas about the topic with me. This involves discussing the topic, then recording--on a piece of scratch paper, or possibly a computer screen--the ideas discussed. Next the ideas can be arranged in the order to be written about, so that when pencil (or pen) is committed to paper, there's a strong sense of confidence regarding how the story will begin and end, as well as what ideas (or facts) will be featured in the middle of the story.
Organization, of course, is key to study. During our first minute or two of a sesssion the student and I take time to review what is to be worked on during that session. Then we agree as to what order we will work on each task. For example, the first task--depending on the student and the situation--may be the easiest task, or the most challenging; such criteria, however, may be overruled by whatever has the most immediate need for completion! When applicable, we also think about working on tasks in the order that best support each other. Whatever the case, the idea is to have a plan in place from the beginning, so that by sessions' end we feel a sense of achievement!
As a freelance writer, I know what it is to deal with writer's block, but also how terrific it can be to successfully express one's thoughts and feelings via the written (or typed) word.
I currently write two weekly columns, so I am someone who is definitely aware of deadlines, not to mention writing to specs.
My own personal philosophy about writing is that if you know how to talk, you'll know how to write, and that grammar, pacing, etc., can be applied after you've written down those initial thoughts. Writing, after all, is simply having a conversation with your reading audience!
Practical tutor. — Janet has a very good grasp of what I want to accomplish and I think the "game plan" we discussed will get me to where I want to be as a writer. Looking forward to our relationship. ...
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