I started teaching a few years ago when I realized I got a lot more satisfaction from informal, one-on-one relationships than from climbing the professional ladder -- and with degrees from Yale, Yale Law, and UC Berkeley, I was climbing pretty well. I had been a legal reporter, journalist, and book writer -- still am, sometimes -- but after writing a book on Habitat for Humanity, I was hooked on doing meaningful work...and that meant project-based work like teaching and tutoring. I've taught scores of classes with the University of Phoenix -- courses like Communications, Critical Thinking, Decision Making -- and when not teaching or tutoring or writing, you'll find me traveling...usually, leading build trips with Habitat or my own non-profit in the Dominican Republic.
My teaching style is low-key -- I'm from California! -- but back-door rigorous, because I'm convinced that students learn better, and retain more, when they're *engaged* with the material. It's a two-way street between the student and tutor: the teacher has to try (no, it's not always possible) to make the material *interesting*, *relevant*, *accessible*, and even sometimes *entertaining*, so he or she gets students 'where they live.' Whether students are learning about the Declaration of Independence or writing a paper on Mexico, distinguishing between 'whose' and 'who's' or memorizing the countries in Latin America, they have to feel that what they're learning is significant -- that it will have relevance later in their lives.
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