I was a high school teacher searching for a way to stay relevant in an indifferent world. When I discovered tutoring and WyzAnt, I found my true calling! I will never go back to classroom teaching again. There is no finer, more satisfying feeling than seeing that flash of recognition brighten my student’s face when he or she understands what was unfathomable only a moment before. There’s simply no way in classrooms today to reach every student. The last time I was in the school system, I had 130 students every day. Every day! Students need more. I am here to give it to them... one student at a time.
Over the past six years as a tutor, I’ve had students from 5 years old to 60, from beginning phonetics to preparing for graduate school. Here are a few of my favorites:
"C" was having trouble with punctuation and sentence structure. He came to me with very low self-esteem. He didn’t know what a comma was. After only one session, during which he learned among other things how to use a semi-colon (something even adults have trouble with), his confidence soared.
"L" had poor handwriting skills. Even though he could write an interesting, cogent essay, he routinely received low grades because his teachers couldn't read his handwriting. He was incorrectly diagnosed as below grade level. We started from the beginning and learned how to properly form letters. When he took his state’s standardized writing test he placed squarely in the center of “Fantastic!”
“B” was my first private tutoring student. His father was a well known lawyer, and even though B was of above-average intelligence and did quite well in school, his father constantly corrected his lazy English grammar. B just needed to understand that there are times to use informal slang, and other times (like talking to Dad!) that call for more formal language.
Of course, those are oversimplifications, but I feel certain that WyzAnt students will benefit in the same way from my tutoring. What I hear most is, “you aren’t like my other teachers…you actually LISTEN to me!”
This past winter I had two ESL students. Both were from China. They did not know each other. One had lived in this country for 40 years, and now, at 60, wanted to learn what she called "proper English." The other student was 19 and struggling to stay afloat in college after arriving in America not knowing any English at all only two years before.
For the first student, I had to undo 40 years of poorly learned grammar skills. We became good friends and are still in contact today. She practices “cocktail talk” with me so that when she and her husband give parties she can converse with her guests comfortably and with confidence about a variety of subjects.
With the second student, I had to practically attend class with him to understand what skills he needed to succeed in college. Going over his assignments with him helped him learn English and succeed in college.
I have experience tutoring grades 6-12 remedial, curative, and corrective Language Arts, English as a Second Language (ESL) for all ages, k12.com online learning, and STAR-, SAT-, ACT-, GED-, and GRE preparation.
I believe that every person can learn. My goal is not to teach, but for my student to learn. I am a facilitator. I am ardent, enthusiastic, funny and genuine when I am with a student. At least I try to be. I value every student as I value myself, and I try to be empathic always. ESL students, teens, and adult students especially have pressures and outside influences that may weigh them down and hinder the learning experience. Facilitative learning leads to growth and development of both the student and teacher. It is the whole person concept, self-directed and student-focused, in which teaching is designed to stress human potential and to enable the student to be involved in the process of becoming a learner. Facilitative learning experiences help students achieve their goals.
I know that students learn better when the subject matter is about them; it must be relevant, and students learn by doing. While it's also important to provide a safe, secure learning environment, and not embarrass or make the students feel uncomfortable in front of the teacher or their peers, it's of utmost importance that they can make themselves understood and to communicate in the language they are learning (even if it’s their native language). It's not enough for students to be able to read and write English. They have to know how to use it in the real world... to speak and be understood, to feel confidence, and to fit in.
Also, students’ cultural traditions and values must be respected. When I was a classroom teacher, I always asked my students to write a paragraph telling a story about their family’s customs or culture. People love to talk about themselves, and students are no different. It’s a way to open them up, relax them, and allow them to share their backgrounds with pride.
Using a student-centered approach encourages communication. Facilitative learning strategies give confidence and allow students to take control of their own educations. The teacher is a facilitator who provides a safe, non-threatening environment. I believe everyone is capable of learning. It’s my duty, honor and vocation to help each person unlock his or her potential.
back to top