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Valerie P.

Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade Tutor Specializing in Language Arts

Santa Monica, CA (90411)

Travel radius
5 miles
Hourly fee
$60.00
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My philosophy, which has been the overriding goal in my teaching, is to engender in my students a love of learning, for this enables them to master any subject they are taught.

I have taught in the private California school system for 20 years, and my focus and strength is in developing strong writing skills,the basis of communication throughout the student's life,as well as reading and math skills. Having taught English and Literature to middle school students, my belief is that the writing skills are critical to the success of each student's future. I hold a California Clear Teaching Credential. My most recent position was teaching Advanced Math to Kindergarten through Sixth grade where I discovered that my love for teaching language and thinking skills could be applied to solving word problems.

I believe that working one-on-one with students is the most effective way to inspire confidence in their innate abilities so that they can master the skills they need to become successful in school and throughout life. Working one-on-one also increases their focus and results in mastery: 100% accuracy in Math has always been my goal and greatest joy and strength.

Since I have worked with all age groups, from Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade, I have realized that I am comfortable with them all! When I worked with middle and high school aged students, I found that my love of writing and English was even contagious, and this is a great asset for overcoming any reluctance they may have had in being tutored. Also, since I worked for many years with elementary aged students, I have become extremely adept at teaching and reinforcing the important basic skills.

My success in teaching students is evident in their test scores, which usually improve dramatically within a year. Last but not least is the intangible gift of passion I share with all of my students. My greatest joy in life is teaching and inspiring the love of learning in my young subjects, and this is not something that can be taught; it is experienced.

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Valerie’s subjects

Corporate Training:
Grammar, Greek
Test Preparation:
ACT English, ACT Reading, CBEST, ISEE, PSAT, SAT Reading, SAT Writing
Homeschool:
Elementary (K-6th), English, Reading, SAT Reading, Study Skills, Writing
Special Needs:
Elementary Education:
Elementary (K-6th), Elementary Math, Elementary Science, Grammar, Phonics, Reading, Spelling, Study Skills, Vocabulary
Language:
English:
ACT English, ACT Reading, English, Grammar, Reading, SAT Reading, SAT Writing, Vocabulary, Writing

Elementary (K-6th)

I am an experienced Elementary School Teacher who truly enjoys working with young children. I taught First Grade as Lead Teacher for three years and Second Grade for two, so am well aware of what the children are learning in all of the subject areas and am familiar with all of the varying abilities and characteristics of this age group.
When I began my career as an Assistant Teacher in First, Second and Fourth Grades I assisted in all of the Language Arts and Math classes. After moving on to teach all grades K-12, as a Substitute Teacher and Tutor, I found Elementary students to be the ones that I prefer to teach and currently work as a Substitute Teacher and Tutor in Santa Monica at the Elementary level.

My focus with the very young students and especially with Kindergarteners is in teaching concepts about print and awareness of sounds, words, letters and that print carries meaning.
Fluency in both Reading and Writing is my greatest goal with all of the elementary school students because it has been discovered that students who have trouble decoding, spend their time trying to conquer this skill to the detriment of comprehension skills! The sooner they are more fluent in Reading and Writing, the less they will struggle, and will instead, be thinking about and understanding what they are reading no matter what the subject. This is what enables them to become independent learners and thinkers.

In order to make sure they become confident students in all areas of the curriculum, their level of literacy needs to be high which means they need to be skilled in both Reading and in the Art of Writing. Reading and Writing are absolutely interwoven and support each other. They are key to success!

While it is important to me to foster a love of learning in my students by making learning fun and interesting, I also require high standards so that they become confident, proud and comfortable with the learning process and take ownership of their own learning. The strategies I use to teach my students include great consideration for their individual needs, interests and abilities. Whether it be Math or Language Arts, Social Studies or Science, Organizational Skills or Thinking skills, Study Skills or Listening Skills, Reading Directions or Following Directions, we will work hard together and be successful in these scholarly endeavors.

Elementary Math

Due to the fact that Mathematics is used in our daily lives and throughout the world as a necessary tool in many fields of study, it is of critical importance to make sure my students become proficient and confident in their math studies. I expect my students to correct all of their mistakes to 100% as I view each and every opportunity to do so, a chance to make sure they do not miss any valuable steps on the ladder of learning math. What I have found is that if a student has not fully grasped each step, he does not benefit by proceeding further.

I most recently taught math to Third through Sixth Graders for five years and taught the very basics to them; from computation skills to word problems and simply following directions. I was quite fortunate to be able to watch my students grow mathematically as they returned to me after graduating to the next level of elementary school. Each year my students moved on to the following level with notable self-confidence and even excitement at the thought of learning new and challenging math skills.

Greek

The Greek language is one that I hold near and dear to my heart. Having grown up in a family where it was spoken daily, I was required to learn it. Through interaction with my family members who were native to Greece and then attending classes at "Greek School" given at our church, I learned the basics of the spoken and written language and am now able to converse with Greek people while traveling abroad about simple and everyday matters.

During my college years I was also fortunate to be able to study Ancient Greek which taught the derivation of so many vocabulary words used in the English language today. Studying Ancient Greek gave me the opportunity to observe the subtle changes in the language that occurred throughout the centuries and satisfied my interest in words and how they evolve. Since many of our English root words derive from the Greek language, the study of Greek not only enables one to elevate his/her English vocabulary but to remember and then apply the root meanings to so many of our English words today. It is my experience that only by using these words, whether written or spoken, does one enhance his/her grasp of the language.

While teaching the Greek language is one of my great joys, the introduction to the history, mythology and culture of the Greek people is an integral part of my lessons and learning about Greece. Therefore, pictures and stories are used as an enjoyable aspect of each learning unit.

ISEE

Since having had two years experience as an Assistant Director at the Huntington Learning Center in Westlake Village, California, I was very fortunate to have had the experience of tutoring and administering practice versions of the ISEE. I know exactly what to focus on with my students when preparing them for the test. The ISEE is specifically designed to measure the verbal and quantitative reasoning and achievement of students seeking admission into independent schools. Practicing all basic skills acquired during elementary school, including writing skills and test taking strategies, is therefore of paramount importance and the focus of all my lessons.

Phonics

Teaching the sounds of the English language is one of my favorite subjects to work closely with my students on and have always had very remarkable success in doing. Since language is the foundation of reading and therefore all subjects, it has always been my goal to make great progress in this area of paramount importance.

Language is the key that allows the student to unlock all knowledge so that once the student understands this, he or she can then enjoy the process of figuring out the sounds that when combined make all the words we use an easy and enjoyable thing to do. Teaching phonics to my students is truly one of my greatest joys!

Study Skills

Study Skills are the essential components that enable a student to build a foundation for success in whatever subject he or she may choose to learn and master. Since organizational skills are key to the learning process and are not always taught, my main focus is on building and developing them first. By assessing specific areas and pinpointing difficulties, I will provide an individualized plan for one- on-one instruction that will support your child's development in this area. I hold a Preliminary California Credential and will obtain my Clear California Credential by the end of 2012. My experience in the area of study skills has always been an integral part of my particular teaching style as I believe it is critical to learning well which is after all my goal as an educator. Whether a student is in Kindergarten or Twelfth Grade, study skills must and will be very clearly explained with each and every new subject.

Successful learning depends on the student's ability to plan ahead and then follow through on those tasks and plans. Sticking to a schedule and completing tasks on time serve to help build competence and confidence. Projects, when broken down into manageable pieces can be an enjoyable learning experience instead of one to stress over.

In order to develop really good study habits, students must practice. This practice should be enjoyable and can be found at the core of my instruction with many mnemonic devices, or fun tricks to help memorize their facts and lessons. Whether preparing for a test or just doing homework on a daily basis, practice serves this purpose well. From using an assignment notebook in class to taking thorough and useful notes to study from at home, educating my students to become proficient at studying and learning is extremely important and one of my favorite areas to guide my students for it goes hand in hand with teaching a love for learning. When learning is fun, success is inevitable.

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Education

College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA (Classics)

Mount Sant Mary's, Los Angeles, CA (Graduate Coursework)

UCSD La Jolla, CA (Enrolled)

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $60.00

Cancellation: 6 hours notice required

Travel policy

Valerie will travel within 5 miles of Santa Monica, CA 90403.

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