I have a master's degree in Education/Guidance and Counseling and 6 years experience as a counselor. In addition, I also have a master's degree in English. I used this degree to teach Freshman Composition for 4 1/2 years and am highly skilled in teaching and in my own writing and editing, which I do professionally.
I was an elementary-school counselor for six years and am able to establish rapport quickly. During that time, I also helped struggling students (some with ADD, some with special needs, some who just needed additional help and attention) in an after-school tutoring program. Although my teaching strengths are in reading, phonics, grammar, and writing, I also worked with their math skills. (I have an accounting degree and am good with numbers). Working with students in these grade levels is very rewarding for me as I see their skills improve across the board.
For 12 years after earning my master's degree with a focus in English, I taught all levels (Basic through Honors) and all high school grades (9 through 12) of English, covering Reading, Writing, Grammar, Vocabulary, and Test Preparation. I also taught Writing to college freshmen for more than 5 years. In addition to that experience, I have tutored all grade levels from Pre-K through college freshmen. Please read my other relevant subject descriptions for more detail.
Please read my subject description in the Editing and Proofreading box. In addition to this information, I would like to add that when I worked as an elementary school guidance counselor, I tutored elementary students in grammar after school hours; therefore, I can truly say that I have taught grammar to all levels of students.
While working on a graduate degree in English, I took and excelled in 12 hours of Linguistics. I learned the phonetic alphabet and also the rules of spelling and pronunciation, which led to my being skilled in helping students sound out new words.
Although I have been a high achiever in many subjects, writing is my strongest suit. While I was working on my master’s degree in English and writing my thesis, I had the good fortune to have as one of my professors and thesis advisers the author of the then-current edition of the university's Harcourt grammar and writing handbook. Meeting her standards resulted in my committing all those rules and guidelines to memory. This knowledge and my finding and developing a great topic for my thesis resulted in my receiving high acclaim from my major professors. This experience served to mold me into an expert in composition, which I taught on the college level and in high school for sixteen years. Now I use these skills in free-lance editing and proofreading. So far I have edited several educational course manuals and a novel. My next job is to edit an autobiography.
When I was an English teacher in high school, I taught units on preparing for both the PSAT and the SAT. Now that I am tutoring, I find that many students need outside help with this preparation. For the writing portion, I help them improve in the structure, wording, and development of essays. For the multiple choice questions, I help them to reason through the process of ruling out inappropriate answers and selecting the right one. We also discuss the strategies in knowing when to guess and when to skip the question (because of the penalty points). I have had feedback from parents after the actual test telling me how much higher their teenager scored after my tutoring compared to his or her previous efforts.
My range of experience in teaching and/or improving reading skills is very wide: from pre-kindergarten through graduate level and beyond. I myself have always been an avid reader, and I have instilled this love of reading into my own children and grandchildren, plus all ages of students. In addition to helping them enjoy the content of what they read, I have helped many young children with beginning reading through my knowledge of linguistics and phonics. Also, I guide older students in reading comprehension skills and literary analysis.
My tutoring in this area focuses on improving the students’ reading comprehension while teaching them how to step over the stumbling blocks. They learn what to do if the test passage contains a negative or unfamiliar word, how to anticipate a possible good answer, and why they should pay attention to signal words. Furthermore, since I taught SAT test strategies when I was a high-school teacher, I tell students how to increase their chances of a higher score by learning when to answer a question and when to skip it in order to avoid a penalty.
Please read my subject descriptions in the Editing, Grammar, and Writing boxes. They provide the background for my tutoring in SAT Writing. You and I would focus on making logical choices in the writing skills section, covering word order, diction, parallel structure, etc., plus the avoidance of awkward expression and common errors in grammar. Our discussions and preparation for writing a timed essay include the study of strategies, planning, writing conventions, upgrading vocabulary, and practice in writing.
I am an advocate of SOAR Study Skills and its great system. I have used some of these techniques in tutoring students of all ages who had been floundering in this area. Setting goals and organizing is important, as is knowing where to find information that benefits the process of learning. In my graduate studies, I took a semester course in research skills, which helped me (as a graduate student) tremendously and has given me a base to build on according to my students' needs.
I greatly increased my own vocabulary by becoming an avid reader, by taking Latin in high school and linguistics in college, and by becoming a lover of words. I continue to do crossword puzzles, mostly online now. My passion for choosing just the right word rubs off on other people. As a high-school teacher, I allowed my students to play Balderdash on Fridays. They discovered the secret of winning this game lay in determining the correlation of parts of speech with the various choices of definitions for words most students had never heard before. Again, learning can be fun!
Please read my subject description in the Editing and Proofreading box. As a strong writing teacher, I had many students come back to thank me for helping them get into college and/or to excel in writing. In addition to learning structure, organization, elaboration, research skills, grammar, and punctuation, they learned how to make a topic interesting and appropriate for its audience.
One of the methods I use in teaching and tutoring comes out of the process of writing my thesis: it is the three "R's" of wRiting, Reviewing, and Rewriting. Some co-workers and students have described me as interesting, enthusiastic, thorough, patient, kind, and caring: I see myself more as a partner in an academic relationship doing whatever it takes to help a student improve in performance and in attitude toward the art of writing. I am absolutely thrilled when I see the "light bulb" turn on for a student who just "got it."