My name is John. I am a highly educated, richly experienced, energetic teacher and tutor, who guided the skills development, and formed warm relationships with more than a thousand children of all ages and diverse backgrounds in the 11th Street East KUMON Learning Center that I owned for 15 years until March 2009.
During that period and since, I have also successfully tutored students preparing for entrance examinations, Regents' examinations,or the SAT or ACT.
Since 2009 I have been teaching, tutoring, and mentoring students in charter schools, giving tutoring, homework help, and test preparation in the homes of children and youths, and helping adults with writing and ESL practice.
In addition to my work as a professional tutor, I helped in the homework of my two sons (now in their early twenties) through gifted-and-talented programs and into Stuyvesant High School, and was a parent representative on the School Based Management Team at MS 104.
I also tutored my Korean wife as she learned English, studying grammar, reading and writing first at an ESL school, then with a one-on-one tutor, and finally in a vocational college (and, of course, in guiding her daily in English conversation skills.
When helping a child, I show interest in the child and the child's immediate situation. I express warmth, responsiveness and appreciation. I nicely encourage a child for a given activity or one that I create. I am always upbeat, positive, and enthusiastic.
MY WORK IN THE LEARNING CENTER
In the KUMON Center I assessed each entering student to determine the necessary starting point and, in cooperation with the student, developed an individuated learning plan for the remediation or enrichment of mathematical or English skills. The plan was shared with parents, recorded and charted, and available to teachers upon request.
In the KUMON curriculum, progress is determined according to strict standards of both accuracy and efficiency. As the instructor, I assessed daily each student's knowledge and ability in order to determine classwork, and accordingly guided him or her individually or in a small group. Before a child left, further assessment determined the fine-tuning of homework assignments. Parents were involved when appropriate.
At the close of each Center day, I made a record of work done, results, and assignments given. Before the next Center day I prepared a chart showing my expectations for each child on that day, and their role in my overall plan for him or her. I reported to a parent and to the franchiser each student's work and level of achievement,
I soon found out that few schools in Manhattan teach the fundamentals of English, namely, grammar and syntax and rigorous techniques for comprehension, and that this becomes more a more a hindrance to comprehension and correct writing, especially into the seventh grade. Furthermore, children are rarely led to correct errors in English usage and reporting. In Math, while there is a wonderful emphasis on helping children understand math, there is a woeful lack of will to help them perform mathematical operations efficiently. Accordingly, a key to helping an average or struggling student is to find the exact weak point in a foundation and start remediation from there. For successful students all that is needed is to find new and challenging material. Of course, for some students the cause of struggle is psychological. I found that I have, at least, power to get a student to focus on work to be done.
For English skills, remediation was called for where a student's writing and/or decoding had indicated the need for grade-level-appropriate mastery of elements of sentence analysis, syntax, and/or rigorous techniques for comprehension-- including decoding, finding the main point, inference, and locating the referent of a pronoun. For example, a boy entering in the sixth grade might have excelled in all aspects of the elementary school English Language Arts curriculum and seemed ready for more complex comprehension work, yet not have been taught sufficient sentence analysis to be properly prepared for finding the referents of pronouns required for sixth grade comprehension. In a KUMON Center, he would start with the subject-verb-object analysis that he should have been taught in third grade and continue with the analysis of clauses.
In Math, remediation sometimes involved developing speed in basic arithmetical operations, so as to afford more time for practicing higher-level tasks. In other cases, inadequate mastery of a recently-learned process needed to be remedied. For example, a math student struggling with four operations might need review of the individual operations with fractions before resuming the struggle (or, if necessary, during it).
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