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Since 2005 I have been tutoring English, ESL and reading and writing skills at Oakland Community College. My students have invariably given me high marks on the required tutor evaluations. One of my first students was a woman from China who, after passing her TOEFL, returned and gave the arm pumping gesture, saying, “You POWER teacher!” Another recent Arabic student also paid me a sincere and relevant compliment. After several attempts at pronouncing his name, Ghassom, he wrote on his tutor evaluation, “She is the first American to pronounce my name correctly!” I establish a rapport with my students; they are comfortable with my tutoring.
I have a B.S. in English and social studies from Wayne State University. I started teaching ESL when I lived in California. At that time I was the administrative assistant to the president of an electronics company. This was a Japanese-dominated company, and the assemblers in the work room spoke very little English. As an English major, I started an ESL class during the lunch period. This was very successful and many of the workers found their communication skills much improved and were able to become more friendly with the non-Japanese workers.
I have always been a devotee of the English language and find its history and genealogy immensely fascinating. Speakers of English enjoy a language that can convey ideas with great specificity - our word choices are great and multi-national, and I try to impart some of this love for the language to my students.
When working with ESL students I use the English Yes! curriculum. I incorporate reading magazines, newspapers and books into my lessons. I also incorporate reading of restaurant menus, map reading and "how to" instructions. I create relevant field trips for students and opportunities for experiences exchanging ideas and interacting with native U.S. American English speakers in a friendly home atmosphere. I have been teaching ESL and helping with TOEFL tests for over seven years at Oakland Community College, and have been privately tutoring students for over twenty years.
Reading is an inexpensive way to experience many adventures from the daily news to make believe travel to secrets of the heart. By finding out the level and capacity of the student, I start where they are and select material of gradually increasing difficulty to increase their comprehension. Sometimes the difficulty is because of a limited vocabulary, so that is what we would work on at the beginning.
The lessons will be composed of a reading with questions of vocabulary knowledge and understanding of the characters and the ideas behind the words. I compare reading to art in that the words we read paint a word picture that stimulates the imagination, and this is where new worlds open for the reader.
My goal for my students is to help them open that world, and experience the joy of accomplishment.
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