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Thank you for viewing my profile. I'm Troy, and though my love for learning extends to many many areas, I can sum up my "mission statement" easily: I enjoy helping people become better readers, thinkers, and writers. I'm currently an English Teacher at an alternative high school, a place where I enjoy the opportunity to find and nurture talents and abilities that my students may not know they possess.
In addition to entering my sixth year of teaching English this September, I have over five years of experience tutoring all general subjects in small-group and one-on-one situations. The settings in which I've been privileged to work range widely from public pre-, elementary, middle, and high schools to special ed./self-contained/B.D. classrooms to summer school and college-introductory camps to an adolescent educational program in a drug rehab to an ESL program helping brand new Americans learn our complex language to tutoring a 6-year-old nephew with serious behavior disorders. Having experience with such a diversity of people, I say with confidence that I value each unique student in my care; to me, even a class of fifteen is viewed not so much as a class, but as 15 INDIVIDUALS. Whatever my setting, I like to create an open, safe, productive, and fun learning environment, where I can get to know each student's personality, interests, and abilities- encouraging and enhancing strengths, targeting and improving areas of difficulty.
My knowledge of Language Arts content is solid, particularly at the high school level, though my experience in various educational settings affords me the ability to work with students of ANY grade. Further, being a lifelong artist, a writer and poet since age 16, and having performed in theatre and spoken word on countless occasions, I bring to the table an enthusiasm for making literature and writing come alive. (However, I can also COMPLETELY identify with the frustration that Language Arts can present and enjoy working with the student who has NO love for English at all:) In addition, I enjoy drawing and dabbling in all things creative, and can thus relate to those who think "outside the box."
I look forward to the opportunity to help you reach your educational goals. I possess a commitment to any student I work with, and refuse to give up on someone, ESPECIALLY when he/she is struggling. It is my drive and pleasure to successfully help you build confidence and command over whatever subject you seek to pass or excel in. Whatever the reason for your need- whether you simply JUST DON'T GET the subject, love it but get tripped up by it, are bored out your mind by it, or have old learning gaps that need filling- let's find a way to succeed TOGETHER.
Thanks again for your time, and I truly hope to be of service to you.
As a high school English educator, it is my responsibilty to instill within students the tools, the confidence, and the know-how to tackle intense undertakings such as the demonstration of the solid usage, mechanical, and rhetorical skills called for in the ACT English test. My teaching/tutoring experience helping students to prepare for such high-stakes testing as the HSPA, GED, and the SAT has led me to many pointers, activities, and resources I can use to help students approach the ACT with self-assuredness and thinking strategies for optimum performance. In one-on-one situations, I’d draw upon my experience in using diagnostics, charting goals for improvement, and marking progress. Guided by these indicators and drawing from a multitude of resourses at my disposal—activities, graphic organizers, brainteasers, and more—I’d team up with the student to find the best route to enhance proficency with the conventions of punctuation as they relate to a passage’s clarity of meaning, grammar and usage (topics such as agreement of subject-verb, pronoun-antecedent, and modifier-modified; verb formation; and more), sentence structure, evaluation of the effectiveness of an author’s strategy towards his/her audience, compositional organization, and identification and application of the elements of effective style.
For the optional Writing test, I draw from my current experience as an English teacher who uses persuasive and expository writing prompts on a daily basis. I’d provide writing prompts and timed drills to enhance writing sharpness and a sense of personal voice, as well as activities that brush up a student’s ability to take a position on an issue, defend it with solid supporting details, and open and close with unity and cohesion.
As a high school English educator, it is my responsibility to help students prepare for such high-stakes testing as the HSPA, GED, and the SAT. For the ACT Reading Test, I will aim to utilize the many pointers, activities, and resources I’ve acquired to help students approach this achievement test with self-assuredness and thinking strategies for optimum performance. In one-on-one situations, I’d draw upon my experience in using diagnostics, charting goals for improvement, and marking progress. Guided by these indicators, I’d team up with the student to find the best route to enhance proficiency with the complementary, supportive, referring, and reasoning skills that guarantee success on the reading portion of the ACT. Through review, hard work, timed drills, and familiarization with test-taking strategies, the student will gain stronger capabilities for determining main ideas; locating and interpreting significant details; identifying/differentiating between what is directly stated and what is implied in a text; understanding sequences of events; making comparisons; comprehending cause-effect relationships; determining the meaning of context-dependent words, phrases, and statements; drawing generalizations; and analyzing the author's or narrator's voice and method. I’d draw from online resources as well as my personal library—articles, short stories, essays, and more— to create test-caliber challenges on a vast variety of reading material covering such topics as anthropology, history, astronomy, biology, memoirs and personal essays, literary criticism, philosophy, theater, and more—all subjects that fall under ACT Reading’s main categories: social studies, natural sciences, prose fiction, and the humanities.
I have experience with ADD/ADHD not only career-wise at various grade levels, but in helping to raise a nephew with possibly both disorders. Through these experiences, I’ve developed a keen sensitivity to students’ patterns of difficulty, frustrations, and acting-out behaviors. I make the effort to relate to the student’s interests in order to personalize my instruction, using stimulating visuals and chunking concepts into digestible pieces to make it captivating, effective, and fun, all while modeling a calm and composed personality.
Having been a Christian for 18 years, I have led and contributed to countless Bible studies and would enjoy the pleasure of guiding the hungry seeker to a fuller and deeper understanding of the Bible. In my walk of faith, I’ve also acquired a multitude of resources and references to aid and enhance the study of Scripture, such as multiple versions and commentaries, richly detailed and illustrated reference guides covering the Old and New Testaments, an exhaustive Hebrew-Greek concordance to uncover the original language of the text, glossaries of important terminology, knowledge and resources that describe the cultures and customs of the Bible’s people, and an overall amorous passion for the Good Book. I would also draw upon my experience as an English teacher to explore the poetic and literary value of the Bible’s many unforgettable stories.
My three years+ experience tutoring in Vineland middle schools as a GEAR-UP tutor in addition to my experience in helping students to prepare for such high-stakes testing as the HSPA and the SAT have equipped me to successfully help students prepare for private/Catholic high school entrance exams such as the COOP or the HSPT. Using resources acquired online and from other sources, I’m able to offer pointers, activities, and resources I can use to help students approach the COOP or HSPT with self-assuredness and thinking strategies for optimum performance. In one-on-one situations, I’d draw upon my experience in using diagnostics, charting goals for improvement, and marking progress. Guided by these indicators, we’d review, drill, and practice test-sampling exercises that will target the cognitive skills assessed by these tests - skills involving the concepts of memory,sequence, vocabulary, verbal reasoning, language expression, and reading comprehension. Further, I offer a solid proficiency in quantitative skills and of mathematical topics such as the algebra, integers, and geometry that will be assessed on the COOP and HSPT.
I LOVE to draw. Having inherited illustrational talent from my grandfather, it’s nearly all I wanted to do when I was younger. I’d often forego days outside playing for the time to use my imagination and create my own world through drawing. As a high school student and young adult, I’ve had my art displayed in several different settings, such as school and small gallery venues. And now in my adult years, I’m still honing my craft—I’m still creating worlds on sketchpads, the margins of composition notebooks, and bank receipts. I’ve successfully completed art classes in high school and in college that served beautifully to keep me drawing and discovering new avenues of art and imagination. Because of this, I offer an understanding of the fundamentals of drawing—composition, effective sketching, perspective drawing, negative space, the human form, shading techniques, proportion, selection of the right drawing materials, cartooning, and more. Embracing the therapeutic, soothing, and cathartic value of art, I can also appreciate deviation from convention. I’m a pretty organic artist who understands that great discoveries often happen by accident; thus, as a teacher, I’d encourage an out-of-the-box approach that values exploration and experimentation. However, I’m also just as content sharing technique and helping a student work towards mastery (I’m still working on that myself!)
So, whether you just want to explore drawing as a hobby, wish to fine-tune your technique to add to your skillset, or aspire to be the next Picasso, I’m willing to continue to show you what I can, and grow and practice with you!
Going into my sixth year of teaching English and having over five years of tutoring experience, I’m well-equipped to assist the struggling student of English—whether the hurdle is reading comprehension, writing, grammar, or simply boredom or intimidation with the subject. Please see my other descriptions—Grammar, Literature,Proofreading, Reading, Spelling, Vocabulary, Writing, and ESL/ESOL—for more specific information.
Having taught it in the evenings for two years, I’ve found ESL to be an absolute joy! I like to work with constant English dialogue right away to build confidence, proficiency, and alertness. However, since I’m a Spanish speaker as well as an appreciator of all languages, I can completely empathize with the difficulty and complexity that the English language can present. Due to this, I ALWAYS aim to make ESL/ESOL students feel comfortable, welcome, and free to take risks and learn in a non-intimidating fashion. I try to gauge the student's comfort level with English, and work from there. Whenever possible, I also tend to make the effort to gain an understanding of the learner’s native language so that I can better identify syntax errors and spelling confusion, and more effectively relate concepts related to translation and transfer. Further, I work through constant phonetic review, repetition, and visuals. Utilizing the Internet and my own personal materials, I gear my ESL/ESOL instruction towards real-life situations.
As a teacher of adolescents in a rehabilitation facility, I had many opportunities to work one-on-one with students preparing to take the GED. Using the facility’s GED resources (workbooks, handouts, diagnostics), we would complete sample activities that cover all major high school subjects and simulate the 6 major multiple-choice question-types explored on the GED: knowledge, comprehension, analysis, application, synthesis, and evaluation. We would troubleshoot, reteach, and work to refine skills necessary to achieve success on this intense assessment.
I would take this same approach in further one-on-one sessions, first gauging the particular subject/area in which my student needs help. I would utilize or create exercises and lessons that simulate the actual GED, while tracking progress and zeroing in on areas in need of improvement. I’d also review and practice exercises that tackle the critical elements to the clear and effective written English that the GED calls for. Further, I’m more than willing to take time to revisit forgotten or unmastered basic skills/concepts that could be vital to success (“educational gaps”, I call them). With all test-preparatory tutoring—I would also incorporate the teaching of test-taking strategies and time management, as needed.
As a writer, sound grammar is essential towards communicating your thoughts; as a reader, it’s crucial to hearing the thoughts and voice of the writer or storyteller. Having dramatically excelled at American English grammar work both in school and college, I bring with me not only excellent content knowledge, but a somewhat comical approach towards this subject that can be so bothersome to so many students. To instill accuracy, confidence, and know-how, I have access to many materials and activities that will lead a student to a greater understanding and command of grammar—covering topics such as review of the 8 parts of speech, application of the form and function of words, the teaching tool called sentences diagramming, as well as countless manipulatives on capitalization, punctuation, and every other mechanical aspect of English grammar. In addition, I provide games and activities (such as Jeopardy and Madlibs) as a fun and non-intimidating way to enhance memory of grammatical rules and value.
From my educatory experience in all age and grade levels, I offer an extensive repertoire of content knowledge in regards to the subject of Literature. My profound passion for literature can be seen in my personal library of diverse books, magazines, plays, sacred scriptures, graphic novels, and comic books—material from American classics to the works of the world’s finest poets to the literature of Asian and other Non-Western cultures to nonfiction to philosophical essays to history to religion to Dr. Seuss. Further, my schooling and teaching experience have equipped me with diverse methods and approaches of literary analysis, criticism, and application. That being said, whether a student’s challenge is within children’s literature, in general reading comprehension, or in exploring themes, genres, or styles, I believe I have MUCH to bring to the table.
Microsoft Word is perhaps one of the most vital tools I use in life. I’ve come to understand that its functions are virtually limitless. At home, I’m constantly using Word to draft memoirs, poems, stories, essays, and to create calendars and charts. In my classroom, it’s a priceless go-to for creating glossaries, worksheets, graphic organizers, reports, study guides, test, quizzes, award certificates, puzzles, class prompts, and more--all with the freedom of creating with my own signature style. I’d be glad to share my knowledge of Microsoft Word’s vast functions, capabilities for building eye-catching presentations, and even its many shortcuts (many of which I learned by accident!) .
Whether I’m helping a student revise/edit a paper, a family member write an important letter, or another writer achieve clearer expression, I utilize a solid command of grammar/mechanics in addition to the skills and habits of mind I’ve acquired (both as a student and a teacher). Proofreading is where these skills and knowledge merge to make a difference. As a writer preparing for publication, I’m not only savvy about the technical issues that might interfere with a writer’s message; I’m also very sensitive about what the writer means to say in the first place. I teach my students audience-mindfulness, proofreading symbols when revising and editing, peer-grading, and the practice of reading aloud what they’ve actually written (rather than “what they meant”). These are all taught with the intent of ensuring that communication has the sharpest accuracy, tact, style, and purpose.
Reading can be an incredible challenge for many people—whether it’s sounding out the words, not having English as a native language, maintaining interest in a lengthy passage or book, finding the motivation to read regularly, or simply connecting with the author and his/her perspective. Unfortunately, this challenge can be a great detriment to many people; many not proficient in this priceless skill may even avoid dealing with it or hide it well into their adulthood and beyond, limiting their own education, future opportunities, and even the quality of their lives.
Through my long experience in diverse educational settings of all age and grade levels—not only as a teacher but as an uncle of 6—I’m willing and well-equipped to assist any struggling student of reading. My experience working with elementary school children as a substitute teacher, as a middle school Language Arts tutor with many assignments in special education classes, and with non-native English speakers in an ESL program have all granted me the capability to work through the fundamentals of phonics and word memory with beginning or struggling readers.
For students reaching for stronger reading comprehension and proficiency, I’d draw upon my experience and library of resources for teaching complex reading skills such as determining main ideas; locating and interpreting significant details; identifying/differentiating between what is directly stated and what is implied in a text; identifying elements of the plot; understanding sequences of events; making comparisons; comprehending cause-effect relationships; determining the meaning of context-dependent words, phrases, and statements; drawing generalizations; analyzing the author's or narrator's voice and method; identifying bias; evaluating point of view; and many more.
To help students enhance their concentration and retention of read information, in addition to other activities and drills, I’d use materials and knowledge I’ve acquired from a speed-reading course I’d taken several years ago. Despite its name, speed-reading is not only meant to enhance a reader’s speed but his/her absorption of what is being read, making reading more fruitful, effective, and enjoyable. I found that through using the techniques I’d learned from this course, my focus and recall became even sharper. I, in turn, aim to pass this on to my students.
Lastly, for the hungry student eager to expand his/her knowledge of genres and authors, I offer not only my enthusiasm but a large and diverse library of content. For more information pertaining to this, please see my section on Literature.
My experience in helping students to prepare for such high-stakes testing as the HSPA and the SAT has led me to many pointers, activities, and resources I can use to help students approach the Reading portions of the SAT with self-assuredness and thinking strategies for optimum performance. In one-on-one situations, I’d provide pre-reading strategies to teach the student textual preparation and to engage him/herself in the reading by noting important key passages referred to in the questions. I’d draw upon my experience in using diagnostics and charting goals for improvement, and continually mark progress on test-simulated exercises and lessons related to identifying main idea, supporting details, elements of the author's tone, and other important aspects of the long and short reading passages offered on the SAT. Guided by these indicators, we’d review and practice test-simulating exercises that teach thinking and testing strategies that ensure stronger accuracy on the SAT’s multiple choice questions. With the SAT student, my goal is to troubleshoot and improve deficient performance areas, and, most importantly, give the student the tools to be able to thoroughly and successfully view and tackle long and short reading passages and their accompanying questions with coolness, clarity, and confidence in the face the pressingly tight time frame of the SAT (in my opinion the most difficult aspect of the test).
My experience in helping students to prepare for high-stakes tests like the HSPA and the SAT has led me to many pointers, activities, and resources I can use to help students approach the Writing portions of the SAT with self-assuredness and thinking strategies for optimum performance. In one-on-one situations, I’d draw upon my experience in using diagnostics, charting goals for improvement, and marking progress. Guided by these indicators, we’d review and practice test-simulating exercises that teach strategies that offer stronger accuracy on the SAT’s multiple choice Writing sections, which are designed to gauge a student’s proficiency in word choice, vocabulary, and writing fluency.
As an English teacher who uses persuasive and expository writing prompts on a daily basis, I can offer many tools for the student preparing for the SAT Essay segment. I’d generate writing prompts and timed drills to enhance writing focus, unity, and a sense of personal voice, as well as activities that brush up a student’s sentence construction/variety, composition unity, coherence, mechanics, and fluidity. Progress in these areas would also be gauged with rubrics and charted— with the goal to troubleshoot and improve deficient performance areas, and, most importantly, help the student develop clarity, confidence, and poise in the face of the SAT's pressingly tight time frame (in my opinion the most difficult aspect of the test).
I'm half Puerto Rican, but because my father came to the states very early in his life, unfortunately he was in a position where English had to become more of his primary language. So, besides having taken Spanish for seven years in school, I didn't really become proficient in speaking Spanish until I had the pleasure of spending time in Puerto Rico, where my family knows very little English. As with any other subject, you tend to lose what you don't use, but I have to say that that immersion experience I had on the island helped me TREMENDOUSLY to dust those cobwebs off school learning and get to the point where, upon returning home, I'd actually had some bumps in returning back to English-mode! And what helped me achieve such fluidity with the language was the environment my family offered- the freedom to just try and the absence of criticism. And that exploratory and fun approach is what I'd like to offer in my tutoring sessions, because in my experience, the fear of making mistakes is often the main barrier to break through. Beyond that, I like to work with constant refreshers, real-life situations, visuals, and consistent practice to continue to help develop confidence and proficiency in whatever manner works best for YOU. And for help in specified areas, I'm able to access many sites and resources, or make use of whatever resources you may have. So, feel free to give me a try. Y Buena suerte! (Good luck!)
Spelling can often be a great pitfall for students of English, but it doesn’t have to be. For the child, teenager, or adult struggling in this area, I offer a safe, understanding, nonjudgmental approach to correcting bad spelling habits, as well as steady practice to instill the learner with a more definite understanding of the various rules of English spelling (as well as the many exceptions to these rules), of how long and short vowel sounds may influence the spelling of a word, of letter combinations, of methods of pluralizing nouns, and of the rules for changing the tense of a verb.
When it’s time to read plays with my students, I try to bring my theatre heritage to the classroom. In college, I’ve successfully explored the world of theatre by completing such courses as Creative Writing, Acting I and II, Living Theatre, and Contemporary American Drama. Further, my endeavors in theatre have given me the opportunity to act in countless productions, take part backstage in providing music and sound effects, direct several plays, and even lead a small drama troupe. I encourage students to experiment and bring life to plays by engaging them in fun and freeing drama activities; exploring characterization, subtext, and theme; and visualizing settings and background.
Allow me—a writer, a poet, and a teacher of Language Arts—to share my profound passion for words with you! I have many methods at my disposal for teaching and reviewing vocabulary: from memorization techniques like the creation of flash cards, mnemonic devices, illustrations, and games, to more comprehensive vocabulary activities like vocabulary trees and using new words in the creation of a story. In teaching vocabulary expansion, I instill the value of augmenting dictionary/thesaurus skills, utilizing context clues in passages and sentences, and familiarizing students with the many Latin roots, suffixes, and prefixes that construct words (so that unknown vocabulary will become quicker and easier to decipher). A greater vocabulary means the opportunity to absorb and express greater ideas!
Writing is my lifeblood. Not only is it my favorite hobby, it’s one of the things I most love to bring out of my students. I work with reflective, expository, persuasive, and creative writing on a daily basis in my classroom, and offer many diverse options so that my students can explore themselves as writers. Very often, I’m surprised, refreshed, and inspired by what students allow themselves to express, which I in turn encourage and challenge further.
In my teaching experience, I note that most often one of the most intimidating obstacles students face is their tendency to completely edit their thoughts before they make it to paper. Because of this, I always initially strive — through varied writing prompts and exercises — to nurture a student’s sense of freedom to explore and not criticize his/her own thoughts, something in writing that is referred to as the “inner censor”. This builds confidence and a sense of ownership. I validate imagination and perspective, point out strengths, and offer thoughtful and sincere feedback, taking every effort to create a welcoming partnership that encourages the growth of the writer within a student. In a sense, I aim to make writing feel as natural and enjoyable for a student as possible.
I also take the time to reinforce the understanding that writing is a constant process, even for accomplished writers. I familiarize my students with the pieces of this process: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing, and show their applications appropriately. This is especially where the importance of the technical side of writing comes in: grammar, mechanics, structure, and so on. These aspects of the writing ensure its clarity and precision.
Working on a one-on-one basis can be even more beneficial to the improvement of writing. I would first seek to understand the student’s attitude about writing, and then take it from there. And even though I’m a lover of writing and enjoy sharing my enthusiasm about the subject, I’m aware that many students do not share that same love (nor are required to), and I am ultimately most sensitive to their needs, capabilities, and goals, and thus create an improvement plan accordingly—whether to improve fluency, to correct grammatical/mechanical setbacks, to excel on the writing section of the next important test, or to simply become less intimidated by the subject.
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