Most students have more strengths in some areas than in others. The ACT is a predictable test that challenges those particular areas. I have boiled away the fat of some of the most popular test prep programs and have rendered six effective practice cards for the ACT English test that can be applied individually based on a client's areas of strength. I have several practice tests, so the client does not need to purchase a prep program. I can also work with a prep program if the client already has one.
The Reading section is the most widely despised section on the ACT--perhaps because the passages are dull, and the questions are sneaky and deceptive. My students learn to identify and to avoid the wrong answers on the Reading section and to take control of the reading passages with confidence. The Reading section actually tests the student's confidence and critical thinking. I build those virtues in my students.
The two main rules in algebra are never try to save paper, and never try to save time. Start early on assignments, and complete each step carefully. If a student has not developed habits of neat penmanship, I begin with exercises in neatness. I present students with several flash cards which summarize particular lists of facts and formulas that students often forget and cannot find in their textbooks. I also stress the importance of repetitive drill in algebra. Once a student learns a procedure, we repeat, repeat, and repeat until it is EASY!
Bachelor of Arts in English, Benedictine College, 1989
Master of Arts in English, Emporia State University, 1991
Taught English from seventh grade through sophomores in college. Tutored in Emporia State University Writing Lab.
My native language is English. I have studied other languages: Spanish, French, Latin, Greek, Icelandic, Irish, and Japanese. I am familiar with the process of learning a language non-natively. At the university level, I taught English to many speakers of other languages.
I use cardio kick-boxing, yoga, and taiji as part of my fitness program behind my karate studies. I discourage the purchase of expensive equipment and learning materials. I help students develop their own fitness regimen in whatever space they have and with a minimum of equipment. I will also allow them to use my equipment.
Most people preparing for the GED need to spend time on math and writing. If algebra and geometry are not your strengths, I can help you work around the algebra and review the basics of geometry sufficiently to pass the GED. If writing is not your strength, I will help you build the skills to write the five-paragraph essay and cover the topic sufficiently to earn a passing grade. Other topics in English, science, government, and world history are covered as needed.
Standard English, whether written or spoken, gives my students an edge in job interviews and in leadership positions on the job. Correct grammar and usage project confidence in oneself and invite confidence from others. All my exercises on grammar and usage focus on these advantages for the student.
I use a great deal of reading aloud when discussing literature. Tone and character come to life much better to the student when the works are read aloud. I have a rather extensive collection of audio recordings of classics that I have shared with students over the years.
I am available for sparring practice in karate/kickboxing. I do not allow full contact, but I can tolerate mistakes from beginners and intermediate students. My style of karate is Okinawan Shorin-ryu (Matsubayashi-ryu), but I am willing to train with fighters from other styles. I hold a first degree black belt from Midwest Martial Arts in Topeka, Kansas. I have competed at dozens of tournaments over the years in both exercise forms and sparring matches. As an older practitioner, I emphasize safety and the importance of process in skill development.
Pre-Algebra is a crucial point for all modern learners. It challenges the critical thinking skills of applying algebra in life. It is the jumping-off place for those who choose not to seek a professional career. But it is still required for any modern, educated person. Even the GED requires a familiarity with algebra. I expect all my students to face algebra with "street sense." When my students master pre-algebra, they gain confidence for life. No one who comes to me is left behind.
Reading for information requires an approach quite different from reading for pleasure. My students perform exercises in taking charge of a passage before it grows intimidating or tedious. Students gain confidence through this "sizing up" process.
The SAT math test is in three separate sections throughout the nine-section SAT. My students build speed through interactive drills on my website. They also choose from several alternative strategies for answering multiple-choice questions. I have several practice tests which students can use. I will work with any practice tests or program the student wishes to use.
The best way to improve your score on a reading test is to practice taking reading tests. My students have access to several practice tests which are arranged in the complex SAT format. My students also practice quick vocabulary drills of words that are typically on the SAT. The SAT Reading section also tests reasoning skills and reading comprehension. I offer instant guidance during preparation so that students do not have to wade through a vast book for explanations.
The SAT Writing section consists of an essay portion and two multiple-choice portions. My students review the writing process under pressure using real SAT writing prompts. The essay is a short 25-minute exercise and requires clarity of thought and structure rather than length. My students gain speed and confidence by reviewing sentence and paragraph structure problems in multiple-choice format. They get instant explanations from me rather than paging through a huge book.
I took my Spanish in high school and quizzed out of the college requirements. I remained conversant in Spanish over the years by using it socially and in the workplace. I am very comfortable with grammar and vocabulary review, as well as conversational practice.
I served as the At-Risk Coordinator at Anderson County High School. I planned units in courses titled Applied English for Freshmen through Seniors. These courses focused on long-term and short-term goal setting, time management, and self review of action plans. My students were expected to contribute during discussions on reading strategies, math methods, and mnemonic devices for memorization.
My current duties as a martial arts instructor pay particular attention to leadership skills and positive self-motivation. Every student has had some sort of negative academic experience. My students recognize that everyone feels down and discouraged now and then. They also practice techniques to redirect discouragement toward positive awareness, direction, and projection.
My students practice with the TOEFL IBT (internet-based test) since the paper-based test is being phased out. The TOEFL requires a good understanding and usage of standard English-- including conversational styles and idioms. I can take a student from the very basics of English (learning the Roman alphabet) through basic grammar to advanced speaking and writing. It is a long process and requires dedication. A private tutor is the best way for any individual to work at top speed.
Flash cards with words on the front and definitions on the back serve to build vocabulary and keep rarely-used words ready in a student's repertoire. We begin with a standard list of powerful but not-so-common words that demonstrate word power. Then students build on that list with words that they find interesting.
Proper writing techniques can be learned rather easily. However, learning proper technique without regular practice is like learning to swim without water. I write essays, fiction, and poetry extensively and even submit for publication now and then. I expect students to practice writing technique as they would practice a martial art or any other skill. Those who practice always develop an individual voice and style.