Throughout my many years of teaching Introduction to Literature, British Literature and American Literature, one essential, ongoing component of my classes was always centered on the skills necessary to achieve high scores on all the National Exams; I tried to teach them how to think. Regardless of what we were reading at the time, my approach always brought close attention to the process of increased comprehension through perceptive and active reading strategies. Certainly, the management of complex passages and their questions was a regular component of our weekly efforts. Year after year, my students achieved scores in excess of their expectations, and this, of course, opened many windows in the area of college admissions. It was hard work; but it paid off in a grand fashion!
My experience in teaching English ranges from the rudiments of Grammar to the heights of Literary Analysis. During my years in the classroom, my students learned to love to learn; that was my approach. While keeping a keen eye on the skills to be developed, whether we were diagramming sentences, analyzing poetry, or practicing for the ACT, I sought to foster an atmosphere of both discovery and enjoyment. My classroom environment emphasized the direct correlation between honest hard work and sterling results. From 6th grade to Senior year, my students discovered hidden talents and appreciated the work it took to achieve their highest potential!
Currently, I am assisting several students who are on their journey toward English Mastery. Some have already taken the TOEFL and are seeking greater understanding of English idioms and cultural references, especially in social interactions that contain humor. Others are preparing to advance their scores on specific sections of the test. I have greatly enjoyed all these lessons, particularly when it is clear that sudden understanding has taken place.
My twenty-eight years of experience in teaching English for grades six through twelve have equipped me with the diverse approaches, clever explanations, and light-hearted encouragement mannerisms that seem to be a perfect fit for students of all ages who want to gain greater skill and confidence in communicating and comprehending our complex language.
Back in 1981, I began a Grammar instruction program at a small boys school and it has been paying enormous dividends for decades. Throughout the Middle School the young men were mastering the essentials of formal English Usage, Diagramming and all elements of Grammar. As they entered High School, they had a command of proper English that set them above their peers, especially in the areas of sophisticated and correct sentence and paragraph construction. The hard work definitely paid off for all of them!
My experience with the rigors of high school reading include quite a few years of instructing Freshmen, Sophomores and Juniors in the fine art of looking closely at the text. Our selections varied quite a bit from classic American tales to Medieval selections to semi-modern British pieces. I always stressed the importance of becoming an active reader, one who is engaged with the text and is always asking questions so that his mind remains focused. Invariable, the students would leave the class with a greater appreciation for not only the craft of writing but also the skill of reading.
For all the years that I taught Sophomores and Juniors, one of the ongoing disciplines in my class was preparation for the national exams: ACT. SAT and AP. Regardless of what genre, time period, or native country we were studying the fine-tuning of accurate reading habits and sensible literary analysis were always imbedded in my approach. By year's end each student had increased both his skill and confidence in reading more actively, analyzing more intelligently and writing more eloquently.
By the time the day of the test had arrived, all the students were much better prepared than even they thought possible. Their admirably high scores were always a satisfying dividend for their hard work.
The blank page. Nothing is more intimidating to a young or reluctant writer. After decades of working with students from grade 6 to 12, I have acquired the insights and techniques that can be of great help to struggling writers of all ages. Starting with the basics of Grammar Mastery and progressing though Advance Placement analysis and composition my classes have given a tremendous boost to all of my students. Using a variety of literary sources, as well as some imaginative exercises, I have been able to increase both the skill and confidence of my students.