I practiced accounting for over twenty years, passing the CPA exam and working in corporate accounting. My last few years were spent at the controller level, meaning I oversaw all accounting activities. Not only do I know the theory but I know the shortcuts and real world techniques to make accounting easier.
I majored in history because my grandfather made history come alive for me in spite of my grade school history classes. History is not memorizing dates. Without understanding the whys and hows of our countries development we cannot fully participate as citizen's. American History is an important subject I try to bring to life with materials from outside the textbook, including videos, music and genealogy.
I have always been interested in science and especially astronomy since a attended a seminar by Dr. Sandra Faber from the Lick Observatory on women in science. I was very fortunate to have worked at Space Telescope Science Institute with many prominent astronomers who were responsible for the marvelous images from the Hubble telescope. I read all their research papers with pleasure and interest and learned a great deal.
Painting has been my hobby since I was a child. My father is also an artist and sent me to art camp and provided private art lessons to encourage me. Additionally, I took drawing and design classes while I was at the University of California. I have noticed many of my elementary students have projects and homework assignments that require drawing a picture and I would love to use my experience to help them.
I have been tutoring elementary students for two years in all areas, math, science, social studies, reading and language arts. I try to develop good study habits and basic skills while helping the student master the material. Most of my students prior to becoming a Wyzant tutor came from homes where English was not the first language, creating an additional hurdle for young learners and their parents. I have acted as liaison between teachers and parents who felt their own mastery of English was sufficient to express their concerns and questions.
I am familiar with the curriculum and learning standards for the schools in my area and try to
augment and reinforce the school material rather than duplicate it. I am very, very patient and know how differently each student learns. I can work with every learning style and try to get the students past any difficulties they may have to a point at which learning is a gateway to enjoyment, knowledge and a richer life, regardless of age or grade.
I was asked if I taught math as well as English so often I had to add it to my subjects, especially since the biggest stumbling block for many students is word problems. Understanding what you are reading and thinking logically are part of my English and study skills teachings so it was a natural progression. I myself took calculus and statistics to qualify for the CPA exam so I can understand only to well the frustration of many students.
I love science! When I read for pleasure I read science. Anyone who listens to the news knows we have an educational deficit in science and math. Science covers just about everything and can be a lot of fun to learn so I decided to teach more science and start with elementary science to help kids get beyond the classroom basics and find the excitement.
The subject of English covers a lot of ground. If you ask me to help you improve your English, we will not only work on the mechanics of grammar and pronunciation but will make sure you learn to express what you really want to say. We will improve your vocabulary by learning new words and then you will learn how to use them to communicate effectively. I was a writer and editor, so you will learn writing skills for business or academic work. I will also help you with public speaking skills, so you will feel more confident of yourself and your language.
I first began teaching ESL when I lived in Korea. At that time English was not taught until university. Three years ago I volunteered with the county library as an English tutor and co-taught a weekly class in addition to one-to-one sessions. This very quickly led to my acquiring a number of private students. Many did not have the confidence to take English in a class setting but after working with me went on to classes at the local junior college. One student is now very active in Toastmasters, the public speaking group.
As part of my degree requirement I took several courses in European history, focusing on cultural and intellectual history. I enjoy teaching this subject because it has both depth and breadth. I am able to read several languages other than English, so I have studied original source material. European history covers every thing from ancient Greece to the Crusades, to the voyages of discovery to the Cold War and much of it is essential to understanding the state of the world today. I try to show my students how we arrived at the present state of the world through this past and help them understand the forces taking us into the future.
Did you know the Eiffel tower is in Canada? Did you know Central America doesn't exist? The answers I get to questions I put to middle school and high school students about geography are very interesting. At least no one has told me I would sail off the edge of the world. We are now all so interconnected politically and economically, geography needs to stop being the forgotten subject. Do you know where your food comes from? Learn geography and find out.
I went to school in California so I thought geology courses would be perfect to fill my science requirement for my degree. I took every course I could from Intro to Mineralogy to Field Geology to Earth Materials. I can't promise my students field trips to the San Andreas Fault like I got but I am sure I can make the subject as interesting and enjoyable as it was for me.
I am a reader. I don't even own a television. I am also a book collector. I have read literature in English, French, German and Russian. I read Asian literature for my degree studies and still read it for pleasure. I've studied most periods and places of literature and can make archaic language and unfamiliar settings and ideas more understandable.
So many students struggle with math. I know; my high school algebra class was so awful I quit math for years. However, I love science and got involved with computers and programming. I found the motivation to conquer my math phobia and lean the things I wanted. Then I went into accounting and even more math. I wish it hadn't taken so long but that journey gave me a lot of insight into making math easier to learn.
Now, I even know how to make math fun!
I find reading easy to teach because I love reading. My students are amazed when I tell them I don't own a television. I've collected all sorts of resources to help my students because reading is critical. I give beginning readers lots of practice phonetically sounding out words so they can gain the confidence to read on their own. I make all levels get a real comprehension of what they read with worksheets or oral questions that require them to explain or summarize their lesson.
Most importantly, since I believe reading should be a pleasure, I tailor the reading not only to each student's level but to their interests, motivating them to master the readings skills they need for all their reading.
Spelling in English is a lot harder than many other languages. My ESL students complain and so do my grade school students. But it is very important. Poor spelling on a resume can take you out of the running for a job right at the start. I can always spot the errors the software doesn't get. It's so much easier to make good spelling a habit from the beginning while students are still building vocabulary, so I always tell them spelling counts!
In the course of my tutoring experience I have often found that students are having trouble getting a grasp of the material because they don't know how to approach it. This is especially true in math or reading. Another problem I encounter is homework hastily done and sloppy, thus receiving bad grade. Over time I have learned to integrate study skills into my subject tutoring. These range from test taking strategies (something I needed myself to pass the CPA exam)to different methods for attacking problems in math by identifying key elements and organizing the work clearly to how to analyze and extract the meaning from reading selections. I tell my students no one can do a job well without the right tools and then I fill their toolbox. With the right tools study and homework become easier and both students and parents enjoy the reduced stress and improved grades.
Vocabulary is a fundamental building block of language. This applies to native speakers and ESL students. Without a well-developed vocabulary everything suffers; communication skills, reading comprehension, work effectiveness. Amazingly, people think it's hard to improve vocabulary but I have developed a portfolio of techniques that make it fast and enjoyable. The benefits are apparent very quickly.
My university major was history. In a shrinking world I think history has become even more important to our understanding of the political and social forces around us. Unfortunately most history teaching is reduced to the memorization of dates and names. If my grandfather had not made history alive for me with his stories and explanations I would have remained turned off to the subject forever. So I work hard to increase my students understanding of the why and how of history so that they can use their knowledge to better navigate the modern world.
Good communication skills are essential today but I find so many students cannot effectively express themselves. I use several approaches to developing writing skills, including writing fiction and journaling, to help show that good writing can be very personally rewarding as well make schoolwork easier and improve grades. I also like to explore the differences between written and spoken communication with students so they understand how to be effective in each mode.