Having been tutoring for nearly eighteen years now, and comparing my students' progress with their former "progress" in school, I can truly say that the service I offer is the most effective private instruction in the subjects of English, Spanish, Latin, Math, Chess, and Photography. I have found that using my own methods, which I have developed over the years and continue to update as I discover yet more effective techniques, has given me an edge over other tutors who simply allow themselves to be guided by a published text. Creating one's own method, makes one a better teacher. Indeed, being self-taught, I haven't been fettered by the status quo of state guidelines, and -hence-- have been able to probe into the science of teaching to a degree that wouldn't have been possible otherwise.
A great teacher is a born teacher. Of course, the ability to teach effectively must be developed and honed, but no amount of training or education can compensate for the lack of that innate gift which distinguishes the best teachers from the rest.
I have seen that most students who are having trouble in language and math are struggling at a level where they don't belong --almost always because they were promoted from grade to grade over the years without having learned what they were supposed to. Therefore I bring them back to where the problem began, even if that means restudying what they were supposedly taught three or four years previously. If a building is cracked in several places, the whole thing must be demolished and rebuilt from the foundation up. A scary number of students --even college students-- have no real foundation in these subjects: they are forced to write essays and compositions when what they should be studying is grammar, punctuation, and style; they are learning algebra and trigonometry without having mastered basic math and learned to do simple calculations in their heads. For example, after testing one particular student who had been brought to me for tutoring in algebra, I discovered that she was incapable of doing any basic mental math, and that she couldn't even name or write correctly a number in any place higher than the ten thousands. So I told the parents flat out that the only way to remedy this situation was to go back to third grade math where the problem started, and --step by step-- work her way up from there. Of course, that may embarrass both the child and the parents, and may utterly contradict the "no child left behind" policy, but what is really important here is that the child LEARN -- forget about schedules and keeping up with the Jones'. Why, the majority of college students are incapable of writing a decent composition --most don't even speak English well (and is it any wonder when they hear their teachers themselves constantly saying "you guys" among a slew of other atrocities?) Therefore, when they come to me for tutoring, I say to hell with their college curriculum, and tell them flat out again that what they really need to study is basic English. How in the dickens did they ever make it to college? I suspect either "affirmative action," a lowering of standards so as to accommodate those who "learn differently," or --again-- the "no child left behind" policy.
I have always preferred to teach one-on-one, and hate having to divide my attention among more than one student. I want every pupil to receive one hundred percent of me, rather than a small percentage as would be the case in a school setting, and for which reason public education will always be inferior --at least in the academics. Too many students do not fare well with the diffused instruction of the classroom, and require the intense laser-focused attention that an expert tutor is capable of providing.
ANY subject must be taught in a straight line one step at a time, with precise, unhurried, unambiguous explanations that I find lacking, not only among people in general, but among too many salaried teachers as well; and the teacher must have the student demonstrate a solid grasp of the underlying PRINCIPLES rather than be content with a superficial understanding.
Also, I have seen that in most classes the element of INTENSITY is lacking --that constant clamping imposed on the student's mind to keep it focused and locked in as if in a vice, so to speak, which is crucial to sharpening the student's power of reasoning. Such a manner of teaching can be exhausting --often more for the teacher than the student-- but it yields results.
Of course, if the student refuses to apply himself, the teacher must then find a way to instill in him a desire to learn, assuming that the parents have been either unsuccessful or unwilling in this regard.
During the eighteen years that I have been teaching, I have worked comfortably with all age groups. The lessons are always intensive (and intense!), leaving no room for the mind to wander, so as to inculcate the subject matter to the maximum.
My best credentials are my students, who would be happy to serve as references.
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