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Desdra D.

Learn to Creatively Communicate in English with Desdra

Olympia, WA (98599)

Travel radius
15 miles
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Hi there! Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I have taught children in every setting from preschool playtime, through elementary and high school, to college English Composition, with a lot of creative writing workshops for kids and a large dose of art thrown into the mix. My experience with public education has taught me that we humans learn a whole lot easier when fun and creative thinking are involved. We express ourselves best when encouraged to explore the world around us, investigating fully our precious Present Moments. It is from that place of simply Being that we find our true inner voices, and feel encouragement to express that. English is a tricky language, with its twists and turns in grammar and spelling, but when given half a chance, it can become a most amazing vehicle for allowing us to share with others, and ourselves, who we really are and what we have come here to share. I believe that once our passionate fire to be heard is sparked, we will grab our language, and hop on it as if it were a rocket ship headed for the stars!

Of course, our language rocket needs fuel and solid construction in order to help it blast its way out into the Universe, and that is where the mechanics of language comes in. Ah yes, the vocabulary and grammar, the spelling and punctuation...the composition of all those words! But, dry as that may sound, it need not be, for the jet fuel of our desire to be heard and seen and appreciated and, well yes, even loved, ignites our forward motion.

So, if you, or your child, are struggling in any way with your ability to use and play with the English language, give me a try. Together, through community field trips, sharing our thoughts in journals, haiku writing, photography, perhaps even splashing paint around or building forest fairy villages, we will find out what makes us tick and how we can use words to let those around us know what we have seen, heard, touched and smelled. It will be an adventure we can both go on, for I am eternal student myself!

Of course, if your need is specific to your school course work, we can find ways to bring that work to its excellent completion. Our ability to explore the English language is limited only by our own imaginations!

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Desdra’s subjects

Corporate Training:
ESL/ESOL, Grammar, Proofreading
Test Preparation:


I have been cooking nutritional food for my family for many years. I consider nutrition, with organic foods whenever possible, to be a bedrock of good health. By teaching about our food sources, how our food is produced, transported, packaged and sold, we can help our children learn not only abut nutrition, but also about the math involved, the ecology and economics, and the political and cultural geography that are involved. I belong to Slow Food Olympia, an organization that supports school gardens and the study of growing and cooking food as an integral part of any school curriculum. I would follow their lead in teaching all the various aspects of the subject so close to most of our hearts: our food!


I worked for a time with an organization called Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ. Our section was the Environmental Education Outreach Program. We worked setting up studies on the environment and ecology with native tribes throughout the state, and in particular the Navajo and Hopi tribes. Through that experience, I developed a strong appreciation for the study of environmental science in the schools. This is an excellent way to help students become conscientious citizens, aware of the world around them, and how the way they live so closely affects that world. Great stuff for field trips, too!

Elementary (K-6th)

I have taught children in grades ranging from pre-school through high school, with many years working with elementary age students. I had two kindergarten classes, one of them with a group of Navajo students on the reservation in AZ, the other at an alternative elementary school in Paradise Valley, AZ. I support experiential education as much as possible, believing that it is through the DOING that we learn far more than we can sitting at a desk with a book, although sometimes that can be an appropriate mode of learning too.


Communication has always been important to me. English is my native language, so early on I developed a caring for how I use it. It is a tool that allows me to share what I think, feel, and have learned, with others. There are many ways to go about learning a language, but by far the best way is simply by using it, examining how we use it, learning some basic ground rules, and, without a whole lot of pressure, exploring what works best.


As a native speaker of English, I for many years took the mechanics of the language for granted. Then I hit graduate school and was thrown into a grammar class. I was smug at first, then began to realize how much I didn't know about my own language. I just spoke it and wrote it! My best grammar teacher was a man from Korea, who, because English was his second language, had come to know how words fit together, and why, from the inside out. What started out as a dry subject came to life for me as I saw clarity of communication come from knowing how my language works. I would like to inspire this appreciation for grammar in my students.


Since as far back as recorded history, and no doubt before, humans have questioned their existence. Who we are. Why we are here. What sets us apart from other animals. In some ways, it is the logical side of religion, looking to the human mind for answers to the big "Who am I?" question. Many thinkers from the past have contributed to this conversation, and many newer, more recent contributors, who are often overlooked in today's studies, particularly those from the Beat Generation. It is a fascinating exploration of the human mind. And while sometimes taught in a way that speaks of boredom, when taught with the spirit of adventure, it has the potential to bring students into a deeper exploration of their own inner workings.


Photo journalism is part of my creative outlet. I find coupling words and images to be an excellent way to more fully communicate an idea. It is also a great tool in learning language, and I try to include it in my "bag of tricks" whenever I can. If a student has a digital camera they like to play with, this can become part of our lesson. Books can spring from this process!


I have taught English Composition to college students at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, and San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico. I came away from my years of experience teaching writing, and the many hours grading papers and counseling students, with very strong editing skills. I now have my own business, Epiphany Editing, and have done the copy editing/proofreading for several published authors. It is something I do well. It is impossible for me to read anything, either online or on paper, without seeing copy errors if they are there. Of course, the more one uses the language, the easier it becomes to see mistakes in grammar and punctuation. I believe that it is through the continued exploration of English by speaking, reading and writing, that one becomes competent in proofreading.


There is a world out there that resides in our imaginations and is nourished by the written words of others. Books. Reading. When students discover this magical world, a whole new aspect to life opens up for them. But if the reading process is in any way crushed with criticism, shaming, hurriedness, comparison or anxiety, that world recedes from sight. Opening back up to the wonders of the written word can take time, but with patience and creativity it is entirely possible.


Human beings learn in a number of ways. Some learn by visual stimulus, depending on having seen something in order to have it register on the brain. Others get cognitive connection through auditory means, relying on their hearing for memory retention. Some also benefit from tactile learning, using their sense of touch to help them understand. Spelling can be taught from any of these modes of learning. It is up to me to determine which system works best for each student.


I taught my own children to swim and taught swimming lessons at a local pool for several years. It is my personal favorite sport. It is an excellent way to develop balance, grace, stamina and endurance, and better muscle tone. It is excellent for physical therapy, and is wonderful for pregnant moms. Children gain a sense of well-being, accomplishment and empowerment when they learn that they can not only save themselves if they are in water, but can actually have a whole lot of fun learning to swim. Another great field trip option!


Take a peek at an unabridged dictionary and you will see the vast number or words available to us as we use our English language. It would be impossible for any one person to be a walking dictionary, but by using and playing with one it is possible to grow the list of usable words in our memory banks. Just listen to "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell" on NPR radio and you will see how very many words you don't know. Learning new ones is a fun and playful challenge, even for tutors!


Words, when captured on paper or in cyberspace, take on a life of their own. Spoken, they are ephemeral, evaporating from hearing and memory on the air upon which they ride. Once committed to the more solid world of the visual, words have the ability to convince, clarify, justify, emote, condemn, forgive...well, you get the picture. There is a power in the written word. And once students discover that, there will be no stopping them. Learning to express yourself clearly is empowering and creatively joyful. It is my hope that I can help others to discover this for themselves.

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Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona

Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona (Master's)

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $35.00

Cancellation: 24 hours notice required

Travel policy

Desdra will travel within 15 miles of Olympia, WA 98502.

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