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Emily S.'s Resources

Blogs

What a Writing Tutor can and can't do for you.

As a writing tutor for both adults and senior high school students, I sometimes get requests or face students with expectations, that I can't meet. If you ask a tutor for this kind of service, you might get refused, for good reason. First, if you are writing on a highly technical or specialized subject, such as engineering, psychiatry, or biotechnology, and expect a tutor to help you conceive... read more

Blogs

Contacts don't always work

Although everyone wants to make a successful contact, find the right tutor or right student, sometimes it just doesn't work out. This happens to me occasionally, and my lesson has been--just move on, gracefully, politely, without hard feelings. Don't take it personally, it's a professional contact that sometimes misses. For tutors, you should know your requirements, your limits, your preferences... read more

Blogs

NYT: Making New Graduates Employable!

In a NYT article of June 29, 2013, a recent report on employment from researchers at USC was quoted as follows: “When it comes to the skills most needed by employers, job candidates are lacking most in written and oral communication skills, adaptability and managing multiple priorities, and making decisions and problem solving,” the report said. As an English and writing teacher, I found... read more

Blogs

How to make your first tutor contact

I have sometimes received inquiries about my tutoring work, with very limited information about the intended student, their current status and needs. If you are going to request information from a tutor or ask about their availability, I would suggest you write a thorough note and include this kind of information in it: * the student's first name, age, school level or working status (job... read more

Blogs

Ethical English tutoring

We have all read news stories about American students' poor reading and writing skills, about plagiarism at the highest levels, about functional illiteracy. Anyone who tutors in any English subjects is on the front line of trying to improve our literacy and communication skills for all citizens. Therefore, we might receive requests to help students in "going over their papers", "cramming... read more

Blogs

Professional Fees

Every tutor at WyzAnt sets his/her own fee for services, and every client choosing a tutor must decide how much he is willing to spend on education for himself or his/her child. The setting of fees involves many factors, including the local economy, competition, personal needs, and a view of professional value based on the skills offered. Clients determine how much they are willing to spend... read more

Blogs

How much tutoring is enough

Students may wonder, when they begin private tutoring, how much time they need to "improve their skills". In the case of English, either writing, or improving their foreign language skills, I have found that 15-20 hours is a good initial target for both students and tutors. This is enough time to become familiar with the tutor's methods and style, to relax and get into a learning... read more

Blogs

One-on-One Tutoring is Intense

I find that nearly all private tutoring is quite intensive for both me and my students. The concentration, focus, attention, demands are often more than the students are prepared for when they seek tutoring. It's hard for someone who's never received private instruction to know how difficult it can be. Maybe for this reason, many students don't last beyond 10-20 hours of instruction. Especially... read more

Blogs

Sometimes Confidence is Enough

In working with higher-level (usually adult) students in my field of ESL, sometimes I have noticed that they seem to actually need little help, yet they request services for what they feel are their deficiencies. Even after I listen to them carefully and assess their oral skills as quite good to excellent, with few or no obvious errors except for an accent, they insist they face difficulties... read more

Blogs

Tutoring is Not Exactly a Business

I sometimes teach advanced ESL to business professionals in Silicon Valley, where we have a large foreign population. These adult students come to me seeking help with their oral or written language when they face some crisis or deficit at work that they feel must be overcome to advance in their job, profession or field. They are often desperate to improve their skills immediately, even after... read more

Blogs

Why to Seek or Not Seek a Tutor

As a tutor who works with adults, I find that students have various, and sometimes hidden, motives for seeking to hire a tutor. Sometimes these motives seem to have little to do with learning English, for example, and instead are related to such outside factors as a job promotion, a negative job review, an outside income such as blogging, or even as a way to gather inside information about... read more

Blogs

Seeing student progress

Both tutors and students (and maybe their parents) may wonder how to actually see student progress. In the case of English or ESL, there are subtle and indirect signs, but seldom anything stark or quantifiable. Therefore, I have to pay careful attention to notice when a student has actually "learned" something, such as new vocabulary, sentence structure, or how to read a complex article... read more

Blogs

The True Value of Education

A student told me recently that she was only the third person in her family who ever went to college. She has recently finished her B.A. and will soon start an M.A. program, at the age of 50. I told her how proud I was of her achievement and perseverance. But what most impressed me was her answer when I asked, so what do you feel has changed about you now that you have been to college. She answered,... read more