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I make an extraordinary teacher, mentor, tutor, and coach because of a strong combination of human empathy and a deep love of learning. I specialize in the English language and its various literatures, vocabulary, and grammar, as well as creative and critical thinking skills.
As an undergraduate, I majored in philosophy and English, with a minor in creative writing. I was known in my English department as a keen analytic thinker and lively conversationalist. I was known in my philosophy department for an exceptional ability to render difficult concepts into everyday language. Across the board, I was recognized as an independent thinker and a talented essayist. I won the Haynes Prize for Essays in Philosophy in 2002.
In addition, I bring to the table the perspective gained through considerable real-world and professional experience. While I worked my way through university as a residential care provider for adults with severe developmental disabilities, I have also employed my written and verbal communications skills in fields as diverse as radio broadcasting, journalism, sales, and as Director of Education for a start-up dot com company delivering online creative writing classes.
I am eager to work with gifted and bright traditional students concerned with vocabulary and reading comprehension for the ACT, SAT, or GRE. I am equally at home with adult learners pursuing a GED or a return to studies after considerable absence and in balance with adult responsibilities.
I look forward to e-mailing or chatting with you soon to learn how I can best serve your learning needs or those of a child or loved one.
I am very familiar with the symptoms and special needs associated with Attention Deficit Disorder -- both with and without the hyperactivity component. I've encountered and dealt with it successfully in my own life. I've also read leading popular books on the subject. I am aware that there is no definitive or laboratory test that confirms ADD/ADHD, but there are characteristic differences in the way the brain of a person with ADD/ADHD functions. These differences show up clearly through magnetic resonance imaging. As a tutor, educator, or counselor, of course, the behavioral manifestations are more important than the hard science around this disorder, which is still in its infancy. More than anything else, it is important to be patient and understanding, to realize that the ADD/ADHD student is not "bad," and to offer special accommodations that will enhance and reinforce the student's ability, joy, and satisfaction in learning. Many people underestimate the love of learning that can be found and cultivated in a student with ADD/ADHD. I don't. I know that the right strategies for time and attention management and just a little individualized help and coaching can make all the difference.
I've kept up with changes to the GRE. When I first approached this exam, each of the major sections was scored on a scale of 200 to 800 points; as of August, 2011, the scale is now 130 - 170 points. My own skills are in the top 2 percent for the verbal section, analytical writing section, and argument task. My skills are respectable and above average in the quantitative section.
In my experience, there are five major areas to address for improving study skills: extrinsic motivations versus intrinsic motivations, self-image factors, minimizing distractions, clearing up misunderstoods, and addressing missed or failed gradients.
Students with an external locus of control will respond best to extrinsic motivations, like the punishment and reward factor of grades or how parents might respond to those external markers. Students with an internal locus of control will respond best to intrinsic motivations, like making a meaningful personal connection to subject matter of particular interest. Many study-blocked students have only been pushed and prodded along external lines. I've found that almost everyone can develop powerful intrinsic motivations when other barriers to study are cleared away.
Self-image features prominently in a student's ability to study. Has the student become identified with academic achievement and able to take joy in it or has the student identified with negative role models who don't consider study time to be "cool?" A good tutor can present a positive role model.
Distractions come in all shapes and sizes. A student with a loud home environment and many siblings, for example, may need to learn to love the nearest public library.
Misunderstoods (misunderstood words or concepts) and missed or failed gradients are closely related. A student goes blank or feels antagonistic to study when thrust into deep water before learning the basic strokes. It's usually as easy as spotting the confusion and working backward to the last point where the student's comprehension was good, and then defining the misunderstood term or concept that was introduced without clear definition.
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