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Neil B.

German and English language and lit, for natives and non-natives

Chicago, IL (60614)

Travel radius
20 miles
Hourly fee
$40.00
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I got my first taste of teaching when I had just finished college and taught some adult ESL classes in northern Virginia, where I grew up. Later, in the Peace Corps, I taught English to high school students in Kyrgyzstan. Since I returned to the United States in 2001, I've done some volunteer tutoring, but I've mainly been a paralegal and, for the last few years, a lawyer. I've missed building relationships with students and working with them, though, and I'm very glad that it's now a part of my life again.

As a tutor, I see my job as filling in blank spaces. Teachers with a set curriculum, 30 or more students, and less than an hour per day sometimes aren't able to explain material in depth, and students can leave class not understanding everything necessary to really grasp the material they're supposed to be learning. I believe in spending the time to make sure my students have the whole picture and don't just learn a bunch of words or a process by rote. There's always a reason why things are the way they are, whether it's the grammar of a language, a metaphor in a work of literature, or the order things are done in solving an algebra problem, and every subject becomes easier once the student understands the reasons behind the material on the page.

I am especially eager to to once again help speakers of other languages master English, and to work with students who want to learn German, which was my major in college and which I continue to use in both my professional and personal lives. I also love to help people improve their writing, and, having struggled to learn algebra years ago, I would really like to help students who are frustrated with algebra today learn to become comfortable with it.

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Neil’s subjects

Math:
Algebra 1, Prealgebra
English:
Language:
Elementary Education:
Homeschool:
Algebra 1, English, ESL/ESOL, Prealgebra, Writing
Corporate Training:

Algebra 1

Algebra made my life miserable in eighth grade, but I was lucky enough to have a dad with a master's degree in Math. He worked through almost every homework assignment with me step by step until I got it. As a result, even though I went on to study literature, and then law, I still remember how to do algebra, and I can explain not only how to do algebra, but exactly WHY it's done the way it is.

English

When I studied German in college, I took many literature classes, and I continue to read literature (mostly from the 19th and 20th centuries) for enjoyment in both German and English. I have spent many hours discussing and writing about the meaning of great books and poetry, and the literary devices used to convey those meanings, and I really enjoy helping other people learn to appreciate literature for themselves. With a teacher who is patient and asks the right questions, even a work that seems boring or ridiculous at first can become a lot more interesting.

ESL/ESOL

I have taught English to adults in the United States, as well as to high school students when I served in the Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan. I have worked with every level of students, from beginners who needed to start with the alphabet to very advanced students who wanted to refine their knowledge of advanced grammar. While I grew up speaking only English, I have learned two other languages- German and Russian- and this experience with other languages often allows me to anticipate what material will be difficult for my students and why.

German

I have a Bachelor's degree in German and keep up my German skills by reading German literature and, occasionally, German blogs and Youtube videos. I also sometimes use German in short-term projects for law firms, in which I review documents to determine which ones the lawyers need to be aware of for litigation. I have been to Germany numerous times as a tourist and a student, and I have a number of German friends, so I can easily consult with a native speaker if that is ever necessary.

Grammar

I have taught English to adults in the United States, as well as to high school students when I served in the Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan. I have worked with every level of students, from beginners who needed to start with the alphabet to very advanced students who wanted to refine their knowledge of advanced grammar. Along the way, I've learned in detail how English works. I can explain not just the right way to express things in English, but WHY it is the right way.

While I grew up speaking only English, I have learned two other languages- German and Russian- and understanding how other languages can be different from English allows me to anticipate what aspects of grammar will be difficult for students who are not native English speakers.

Literature

When I studied German in college, I took many literature classes, and I continue to read literature (mostly from the 19th and 20th centuries) for enjoyment in both German and English. I have spent many hours discussing and writing about the meaning of great books and poetry, and the literary devices used to convey those meanings, and I really enjoy helping other people learn to appreciate literature for themselves. With a teacher who is patient and asks the right questions, even a work that seems boring or ridiculous at first can become a lot more interesting.

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Education

University of Virginia (German)

Chicago Kent College of Law (J.D.)

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $40.00

Cancellation: 4 hours notice required

Travel policy

Neil will travel within 20 miles of Chicago, IL 60614.

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