Debra Elizabeth’s current tutoring subjects are listed at the left. You
can read more about
Debra Elizabeth’s qualifications in specific subjects below.
As an elementary teacher I taught many ADD/ADHD (medically diagnosed) students, and also subbed at a school specifically for learning disabled kids--qualified to teach the Special Needs class, as certified by the Los Angeles School District. I am well-aware of the definitions and needs, and have successfully worked with over 20 students with such needs.
I have lectured and taught in high schools in Seattle in the area of Career Development, working with a curriculum-based assessment of each person's individual talents and strengths. This course (Life Scene Investigation) I taught for 2 years at a school for highly-gifted -students was based on a positive approach to discovering through former successes and through interests. We also helped youth to determine their individual learning styles and approaches to thinking--are they global or analytic, and teaching how that affects their potential career choices.
I worked as an admissions counselor for a positive youth program for college-aged girls and as a counselor for college students through a volunteer program for over 2 years. We handled issues from course preferences, career development, to personal/interpersonal issues.
I have taught every grade, K-6, over 13 years for both public and private schools. I received recognition from the administration for excellence in teaching and classroom management, as well as a very creative room environment. My classroom was always orderly and productive, and fun!
I have also received awards from parents (PTA) as well as requests from parents to the administration that their child be placed in my classroom the upcoming year. I have always had great rapport with the parents of my students and have sought to spend time with many families over the years at their homes and in their communities. I have worked with many different cultures and have also taught bilingually--both Spanish and English, simultaneously.
Making lessons challenging as well as enjoyable has been a strength I have demonstrated in the classroom, and with a great amount of positive, encouraging input I have watched many kids begin to become more engaged and enthusiastic about school and learning, including kids with learning disabilities and struggles. Success in learning is very much about enjoying the experience while being stretched to do your very best, and to feel good about doing so.
As an elementary teacher of over 15 years I have a cumulative hours total of over 500 in just math lessons alone. Getting kids prepared for all of the standardized testing, using a variety of modalities and hands-on teaching tools, as well as repetition and drills have yielded great test scores from my students in the math arena. Making learning fun is what keeps even the most reticent math student interested and engaged.
I have taught ESL for almost 20 years, as I started teaching elementary school to children from Latin America entirely, for 14 years I have taught cross-culturally. For 10 years I had my own ESL tutoring business, and for another 5 years I worked for the Los Angeles School District as an evening Adult ESL Instructor.
Currently I teach Korean adults, students I have had for over 3 years, and had the privilege of working with a PhD candidate from China who was here to interview for a very important position in cancer research and needed 3 months of study in English before his interview. I tutored him during that time and he was chosen for the position out of several hundred candidates, due to his ability, in part, to being able to communicate his ideas, experience, and expertise in the field, in English.
I have been playing guitar for over 20 years, and at one time was a member of a worship band--playing weekly for a group of over 50 people. I often play now with a group of friends who also play, just for our own entertainment. I may join another band at some point. I am equipped to teach beginning guitar and I have a very good strum pattern repertoire from which to teach.
Currently I own a beautiful Yamaha guitar which has great sound quality. I find that when I teach someone guitar they enjoy using mine because of the superior harmonics. I enjoy teaching basic chords and finger positioning, and watching how quickly a student is able to feel confident enough to play a few simple songs, even with 2 or 3 chords.
I have taught elementary school and pre-school, focusing mostly on phonics and use of phonics in word construction, sounds, letter recognition, for many years. I have used at least 5 different phonics curriculum throughout my teaching career and have been highly successful with the kindergarten, first, and second graders in early reading using phonics.
I have been playing piano since the age of 3. My mother, who had a master's degree in Music Education, was a piano teacher, and I had private lessons throughout my childhood until the age of 17. I have played for large audiences and have accompanied singers for recitals and large events, such as weddings. I have "an ear" for music and play by ear, write music, as well as reading music and playing a wide variety of music styles and genres, from classical to pop to jazz.
I have been a public speaker for 3 major job positions. I currently lecture in schools on various topics related to positive approaches to learning and to self-growth and career choices for the purpose of maximizing each individual student's strengths. I have spoken on a number of topics for sales and recruitment events, over a 5 years period of time. I enjoy helping others to develop interesting and strong speeches, and I am a grammar expert, so I love to help prepare and proofread a public address.
As an elementary teacher of over 15 years I was able to develop a method of teaching reading which I realized was an accelerated approach, based on phonics predominantly. The kids were reading far sooner than the kids in other classes of the same grade, repeatedly, as I used the same curriculum as the other teachers. Two important factors were making reading fun and reducing the stress accompanied with reading aloud in front of classmates, as well as applying the phonics exercises that I developed that proved hugely effective in reading proficiency! I was amazed and received awards for my achievement in the academic success of my students from parents and principals. I use that same method and it still is yielding huge results for most children, saving a lot of time and money for the parents who employ tutors to assist. That is a wonderful joy to me!
I have been speaking Spanish since 5th grade, when I began my training. Over 25 years of study, I visited many Latin countries, including Guatemala where I attended a school daily for a month to gain fluency. I have since taught in East Los Angeles in both Spanish and English daily, as well as having held 2 other full-time job positions where I needed to speak to large groups of people in Spanish (presentations). I currently teach a class twice a week at a school here in Seattle. I am excellent at helping people perfect their pronunciation and making learning Spanish very simple, which leads to a much more rapid process of retaining what I will teach you.
As an elementary teacher, I had over 20 students with a variety of special needs, having been qualified to teach Special Education classes at a school designated just for learning challenges. I have worked with Asberger's, ADD/ADHD, Autism, and Dyslexia in students. My principal recommended me to parents for my success with children with special needs.
I began swimming at the ocean on Long Island, New York, where I was raised, at the age of 1 or 2. As a high school student, I competed on the swim team and I was a Junior Lifeguard and a certified swim teacher. I continue to teach friends how to swim as adults and have worked with many children as well!
I began acting in the 3rd grade and continued in lessons and classes all throughout high school and into college at UCLA, as a Theater major. While in Los Angeles I acted in numerous musicals, dramas, and comedies on-stage, was on a popular soap opera for 2 years, and continued with acting in Grad School for 2 years, having starred in several productions with a large drama troupe. I also have done commercial training and voiced several commercials for 2 radio stations in Seattle.