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I am a recently retired Language Arts/ Literature teacher. My specialty was in the areas of reading for both students with disabilities and students with advanced skills. I have 25 years of experience. I did much work with reading comprehension and writing for standardized tests. My students enjoyed a great deal of success. Upon my retirement a number of my students and parents presented me with a beautiful book of letters thanking me for all I had done. I personally love learning and was able to communicate that to them. When my school introduced "Teacher of the Year" I was the first teacher chosen. I was also in WHO'S WHO OF AMERICAN TEACHERS.
I worked for many years in a Resource Room as a Special Education teacher dealing with students in the K-6 range. I did testing and IEP planning as well as instructing my students. I covered the basics of reading and writing using a multi-disciplinary and multi-sensory approach. I approached math with a basic understanding of numbers and their functions. Again I used a multi-disciplinary approach making use of both manipulative as well as paper and pencil tasks. The work was slow and steady, requiring great patience, but produced results.
The English language is a beautiful thing. I was born with this belief and it was reinforced in my 27 years of teaching. During those years I taught reading, writing, analyzing and the structure of this language. I worked with both students of weak ability and those of high ability. I even had the occasion to work with students for whom English was a second language. The focus of this study is communication, the ability to both receive and express ideas in both written and verbal form. My greatest reward was the beautiful letters my student wrote upon my retirement.
Grammar is the infrastructure of good writing. A good writer must know pronoun agreement. He/she should also know when to use "their" and when to use "there". Sequence of tense is important. It is necessary to understand direct and indirect object. These are just some examples of issues that I have addressed with my students in my years of teaching.
Teaching Reading and Literature was the great love of my life. I had a classroom filled with books. One of my favorite workshops was "What's New in Young Adult Literature". I was a devoted reader of
THE LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS. In addition to the great textbook we had, there was always a book report going on. Some were a progression of increasing complexity. Some of the books we covered were TUCK EVERLASTING (6th), DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL by Anne Frank (7th), and OF MICE AND MEN (8th). We also read THE STORY OF MY LIFE by Helen Keller and the environmental classic SILENT SPRING. I was proud that my students could tackle such sophisticated material and succeed.
I took it very seriously that my students should know the great authors of the past.
I also wanted to make sure they understood poetry. This was why I used to say that I loved my job.
Knowledge of Phonics is essential for many children to learn how to read. I had much occasion to work with Phonics in my years as a resource room teacher. One of my favorite techniques was the use of word families, where I would introduce groups of words with like endings. Flash cards were used to reinforce basic sounds after student were led to realize that every letter has a name and a sound. Stories with controlled vocabulary (the most famous being HOP ON POP ) were also good teaching tools for Phonics.
As a teacher in a NJ public school I was required to teach public speaking in accordance with the NJ Core Standards. I covered such skills as how to have eye contact and present yourself to your audience. How to write a good opening sentence and paragraph. I also covered good length of topic and voice control. My students and I worked on a number of speeches and oral presentations over the years. I remember when this subject was called Rhetoric.
The teaching of Reading and Literature was the great love of my life. I belonged to a number of literacy groups during my twenty seven year career. My experience ranged from teaching children with learning disabilities to children who were gifted. It there is no ability to read there can be no learning. I used to tell my students that one became a better reader by reading. We read constantly in my class. The students read to me and I read to them. We had a fine textbook and were always working on a book report. I stressed fluency and comprehension and the beauty of reading and how it could improve one's life. I was also trained and employed in a number of reading techniques, my favorite being Direct Instruction. I was much respected by my students and their parents as a reading teacher.
In NJ public schools standardized test became increasing important. A great deal of time and expense was invested in staff on methods of teaching success in such tests. My area of expertise is in the disciplines of Reading and Writing. I worked with my students on understanding the finer meanings of words. How to critically read a text. How to read fiction verses nonfiction. How to ascertain what a question is really asking ans so much more.
My students tended to do very well in these areas.
As NJ Public School teacher I became increasingly concerned about my students' success on standardized tests. I went to endless workshops on the teaching of writing and thought a great deal about how to lead my students to success. Good writing is clear and concise. It states a position and supports that position. Knowledge of grammar is also necessary for good writing. I was pleased with the success of my students.
As a middle school Language Arts teacher, it became increasingly apparent that study skills were important and a separate subject in itself. I started to teach my students various techniques to improve their studies. One was the use of word cards for vocabulary.
I also covered various forms of note taking and reviewing notes. I encouraged the formation of study groups as well. My students benefited from this type of instruction on all their subjects.
I came to realize that many of my students got the test questions wrong because they did not understand what the question was asking. I began to seriously stress vocabulary. My spelling program was entwined with vocabulary.
It wasn't enough to know how to spell the word. My students had to know the meaning of that word and how to use it in a sentence. One of my favorite games was whenever a student used a great new word, that student won a penny. I told them I was putting my money where my mouth was. They remembered that at my retirement dinner.
As a NJ public school teacher writing skills were greatly stressed in the various forms of the state test. My district invested much money to have me trained in the teaching of writing. I taught my students the importance of a good opening sentence, to state their question, support their position, and conclude. Good writing is clear and concise. My students had better writing skills because of this instruction.
Mr. "At Ease" — Ken's comfortable at ease manner is perfect for someone who is tense and anxious. This is good for someone trying to do public speaking again after many years. He'll make you relax and at the same time point out your weaknesses to improve upon. You can tell he is experienced and knows what he is doing. I will be going back to him once I get my full speech together. ...
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