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Pat D.

14 years experience teaching English, ESL and Special Education

Cary, IL (60013)

Travel radius
5 miles
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A warm hello to all interested learners.

I have spent 7 years as a full-time high-school teacher specializing in English and later working one-on-one with ESL, LD and gifted students. For the past few years, I've worked with Special Needs students in the District 155 Transition Program. I've also worked for 3 years in the District 219 Homebound Tutoring Program. It has been my good fortune to work with ESL students from all over the world. I find it most rewarding to help these students access our culture and country through their improved language skills.

Over the years, I've learned a great deal from my students about the impact of individual differences on academic success. Some of my students were visual learners, others were auditory and a few needed the hands-on approach. Some of my brightest students struggled to succeed in mainstream public school programs. All, however, benefited enormously from individualized attention.

As your tutor, it is my job to discover your special talents and use them to help you succeed in your classes or your workplace. Along the way, I hope you will come to feel the joy there can be in learning new things. I have tutored students of all ages from 6 to 60 and have enjoyed each experience.

Good luck in finding the tutor that works best for you!

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Pat’s subjects

ACT English, ACT Reading, English, ESL/ESOL, Reading, Vocabulary, Writing
Microsoft PowerPoint
American History, World History
Elementary Education:
Special Needs:
Microsoft PowerPoint
Test Preparation:
ACT English, ACT Reading
Corporate Training:

ACT English

As a high school English teacher of many years, I have helped prepare numerous students for the language arts portions of their ACT and SAT exams, starting as early as the 8th grade. Students that are adequately prepared, approach these exams with greater confidence along with the assurance that their newly acquired test-taking skills will net positive results. A crucial strategy for prepping students for these exams is to have them take a number of practice tests similar to the ACT and SAT. With the information gleaned from these test results, we can determine how to best remediate the deficiencies responsible for most of the errors. This targeted approach consistently results in better performance on subsequent tests.


I have a Master's Degree in Educating Children with Behavior Disorders and Learning Disabilities. I have 10 years experience working with students with a variety of special needs including autism and Aspergers. Currently, I am working in a District 155 program with several students on the autism spectrum, each functioning at a different level and requiring individual instruction to make optimum progress. I have both a Type 09 teaching certificate for teaching English 6-12 and a Type 10 certificate for teaching special needs students K-12.


I am a certified special education teacher with a valid type 10 certificate and 13 years of teaching experience. I have tutored home schooled children before with considerable success. Most recently, I have worked for two and a half years in a Special Needs program for District 155. Most of the students in this program have IEPs requiring reading remediation for a host of reading problems including dyslexia. I am a long time proponent of individualized instruction, which in my view, nets the greatest gains over the shortest time for most students.

Elementary (K-6th)

I have earned a Type 10 Illinois teaching certificate which qualifies me to teach k-12 special education classes. I have worked as a special education teacher and tutor for both District 219 and District 155. I have many years of experience working with children from the ages of 3-1/2 through the high school years. With every student entrusted to my care, I spend some time working on improving their study skills. Regardless of a child's innate abilities, great study habits and good organization are crucial factors in future academic success.


During my tenure as a special education teacher for Niles West High School, I had the pleasure of working with an Asian student whose family had recently emigrated from Korea. He spoke almost no English and yet was expected to function in regular freshman classes taught in a language he did not know. To improve his chances for success at our school, I was assigned to work with him for a 50-minute period every day for one year. I used an approved ESL workbook and a variety of age-appropriate language materials to facilitate his language progress but ultimately, our one-on-one conversations were most beneficial in improving this student's English language skills. I'm happy to report that this young man continued to do well and earned his diploma in four years.

After I left my full-time teaching position, I received community referrals from my district. My first referral was an elderly middle eastern gentleman who had received sanctuary in our country after fleeing the turmoil of his native land. He had been a successful doctor in his country but U.S. laws required him to repeat his internship here. He was self-conscious about his English and believed that he needed a language tutor to improve his prospects in this country. I found him a delight to work with and more fluent than he believed himself to be. When I questioned his need for tutoring given his current skills, he told me that his English was passable but that he wanted to speak the language like I did. And that's when I learned how important one's perspective is when dealing with an ESL student. It was his choice to make not to settle for his current skill level and thus began an 12 month program that was enormously satisfying to both of us. His progress was remarkable.

Recently, I have had a most rewarding experience working with a very talented young man who lived over a thousand miles away from me. I must admit that it was his idea that the distance would be no problem because we could work online using Skype. At first I was skeptical that the sound and visuals would have sufficient clarity to achieve the fluency he was seeking. I am delighted to report that this method worked extremely well. I was able to both see and hear any anomaly that was impeding his fluency and thus make targeted suggestions for tongue placement and mouth positioning in order to perfect his speech.

Special Needs

During my first year as a high school English teacher, I was assigned to a class with an inordinately high number of students having trouble with the curriculum and educational environment. As the semester progressed, I discovered that I enjoyed working with these “special” students and in fact, seemed to have special bond with them. Mid-year, the head of my department recommended me to the director of Secondary Special Education, to work in a pilot program off campus, where three teachers would provide for all the educational needs of a select group of students.

For me, that was a great year, a year of discovering a new direction in my teaching career. I subsequently returned to school and earned a MA in Special Education. My next teaching position was part of a mainstream program called the Individualized Instruction Center (IIC), administering to the needs of a variety of “special” students whose challenges included everything from dyslexia to behavioral problems. Students were matriculated into regular high school classes with the ongoing support of his or her IIC instructor who served as a mediator, tutor, confidant, and cheerleader.

After my stint in the classroom, I worked for the Homebound Program for District 219. I tutored students, who for physical or emotional reasons could not attend regular classes. In every instance, I had the good fortune to get to know these “special” youngsters on a personal level and experienced with them, the joys of their remarkable accomplishments.

Study Skills

With fourteen years of experience teaching students in every age group, I’ve developed a keen insight into the many stumbling blocks learners face when acquiring new material. While there are innumerable study guides available to students, I have found that one size doesn’t fit all. Each student is uniquely wired for optimal learning; the trick is to discover how to best utilize that wiring. When preparing students for their ACT and SAT exams, I frequently find that that they use a scattergun approach or no approach at all, believing that they cannot change the outcome anyway. I’ve never found this to be the case. Invariably, with some targeted training, students can and do learn to study more effectively and build a skill set that they can carry with them into each new learning environment.


I have had a lifelong fascination with words, which has led me to pursue subjects like Latin and Linguistics and to train for a career as a high school English Literature teacher. Along the way, I have experienced firsthand, the side benefits of having an extensive vocabulary from acing an interview to never being at a loss for words. In my five-year tutoring career, I’ve often lamented the deleterious effects a scanty vocabulary has on standardized test scores. While exams like the Miller Analogy Test purport to assess a student’s ability to make intelligent comparisons between words, it is in fact, a glorified vocabulary test. If the word in question is not in a student’s vocabulary, how can he or she decipher the appropriate connections? In similar fashion the ACT and SAT reading comprehension and usage tests are slanted in favor of students with extensive vocabularies. Building a better vocabulary is invariably worth the time and effort.


Writing is quickly becoming a lost art, particularly in the wake of the new technologies like texting and instant messaging. When preparing my students for the ACT and SAT exams, I invariably discover that the written essay is the cause of their greatest concerns. Given an incredibly short 25 or 30 minutes to write a cogent essay taking a position for or against a particular issue, many students experience performance-threatening panic. The good news is that there is a remedy for this problem but it involves a regimen of timed practice writing with critical reviews focusing on both the mechanics of composition and the development of a convincing and logical argument. It takes some time and effort but I’ve seen it make a significant difference in a student’s scores in addition to improving their everyday writing skills.

Read all subject qualifications »

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Dominican College (English Literature)

NorthEastern Illinoi (Master's)

Best tutor I could ever ask for — Before I started tutoring with Pat, I was not the best English student around, in fact I had received a 24 on the English section of the Act. After tutoring with Pat for at least a month, my score score had jumped to a 30. She puts all of her effort in to her student's problems, always suggesting possible solutions and guiding me to my goals and what I wanted to learn. She also helped me with my c ...

— Reji from Carpentersville, IL on 10/15/13

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $45.00

Cancellation: 5 hours notice required

Travel policy

Pat will travel within 5 miles of Cary, IL 60013.

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