University of Illinois (English Literature)
Northwestern University (Master's)
I enjoyed a nearly three-decade career as an English teacher of middle school and gifted high school students. During that time, most of which I also served as a department chair at a local Day School, I created and administered material covering every aspect of the English curriculum, including, most importantly, composition and literature, as well as grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and speech. I also inaugurated and led several interdisciplinary initiatives, sometimes administering a program for the entire school, as well as special projects and events within the English department.
My students at L.F.C.D.S. ranged from gifted and talented to members of our Learning Development Department who were main-streamed and invariably went on to great success in high school, often at the honors level. Many of our alumni returned to tell me of their success in high school and college, and a high percentage went on to become English majors. I have established a reputation with a large portion of my students as the individual who gave them their foundational skills of writing as well as sharing my passion for literature. I also enjoyed 16 summers teaching literary analysis to gifted and talented high school students at Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development; a great many of these students have also stayed in touch, many of them tutoring with me. Working with my private clarinet students, their performances and achievement, has also been a staple in my life.
Retirement from one phase of my career was the beginning of another. I continue teaching my English tutorial students and private clarinet students of all ages. I am very enthusiastic about helping students better learn to read, write and think, and my own passion for literature continues to grow. I enjoy the many successes both my English and instrumental students have achieved, including several who have 800's on the SAT or 36's on the ACT, many award winners, and countless with college scholarships.
In addition to tutoring, I currently consult with educational research and test-prep companies, writing ACT-like tests and leading workshops on the ACT for teachers. I have also done free-lance writing and editing, including the editing of a seven-volume grammar series for Perfection Publications. I also recently taught a college composition course at Le Cordon Bleu, an accredited culinary college.
My latest experience, and adventure, has been to work online with middle and high school students in China in several classes on English writing and literature. These are individuals who intend to go to college in the United States. I was privileged to be asked to come to China with my wife in August of 2016 to teach many of these students in person, an experience that I will remember as being educational as well as welcoming and warm.
I have always felt that teaching is the one service profession through which one can help others to grow positively, one that does not depend on a person's previous problems in order for the teacher to contribute. I continue to feel that my life is worthwhile as a teacher. I will never stop being one.
David I enjoyed a nearly three-decade career as an English teacher of middle school and gifted high school students. During that time, most of which I also served as a department chair at a local Day School, I created and administered material covering every aspect of the English curriculum, including, most importantly, composition and literature, as
I initially started working with David after he immensely helped my sister with her reading and writing for the ACT. He taught my sister various tricks on how to scan the passages for the reading portion, as well as reviewed numerous grammatical tactics for the English and writing sections. In the realm of mentally draining ACT prep courses, David’s teaching approach, through the use of humor, sheds his interest to lighten the rigorous practices of the ACT. Which overall make the lessons more enjoyable.
We continued our lessons with David after the ACT to discuss important literary works as well as some poetry (primarily Shakespeare’s pieces). Our lessons sparked thought provoking discussions that broadened our interests in literature. My sister wasn't typically interested to read in her leisure time, though David has helped ignite a curiosity in her to discover books that would pertain to her liking.
Although literature is something I am passionate about, I’m very thankful to have encountered David; for not only has he helped me prepare for the ACT, but our discussions have cultivated me to become a more fruitful learner. David’s ability to teach literature, as well as make the ACT a bit less stressful through light-hearted jokes has ultimately expanded my thinking. Lessons with David became something to look forward to and I certainly would not be intellectually curious, or motivated by the knowledge of literature, without his unique ability to make learning enjoyable.
David is very knowledgeable and uses his wealth of experience and expertise in guiding the students to identify their strengths and areas of opportunities. My daughter felt totally at ease with David's style of teaching and really appreciated the way he came prepared to help her.
David taught me a lot methods and strategies for the act which are very helpful and I think he is a very good tutor.
David is a very knowledgeable teacher who obviously knows how to teach all types of students. Although in almost all cases this is a good thing, he can get distracted.
He is also VERY flexible with time which is very important for me.
Overall I think he is a good teacher to learn English and Reading.
David is excellent at organizing the material so that it does not seem so overwhelming. He is extremely patient and encouraging.
My daughter said he was great in helping her review for the ACT. But more than that she said he really listened to her, was patient and took his time when he saw she was still puzzled by something. She really liked him and this - more than anything is what I look for in a tutor - their connection with my teenage daughter - doesn't matter how qualified someone is if they can't make that connection and make them feel important and that they are there to help. David did all this and his background is stellar to boot! ... I would recommend David to anyone and this is only after one session!
David is proving to be a great coach and patient advisor as my daughter works to assemble her college essays
David teaches my son ACT English and other subjects my son (11th) grader needs help with. He is learning and has improved over last few months.
Although I only saw David a couple of times, he gave me some helpful hints that I was able to use for the reading section of the ACT.
I am very happy I found him. My daughter usually dislikes tutoring and tutors in general, but she really enjoys having lessons with David. I think this is the first time she really likes her tutor. He is very dedicated to his job and devoted to his student. He really knows what he is doing.
My daughter is very very picky about tutors. Furthermore, she had not been willing to put the time into ACT test practicing in the past. Since she started working with David, she has become motivated to practice the ACT tests he assigns for the week and she wants to do them perfectly! After every lesson, she tells me how much she likes David. He is patient, understanding and has a sense of humor. I am so happy that we found David K. and highly recommend him!
David not only gave a good tutoring lesson, but was very understanding when our au pair accidentally bumped his car. (David, send that estimate any time!)
David was a great tutor. He is very supportive and engaging. My son's English grade went from a D to a B. Thank you David.
I see our son eager to learn form David and a strong interest at improving his skills - this is a passion that both David and our son share.
David K. was able to pinpoint my strengths and weaknesses from the start. I had taken the ACT twice and could not get over a 28. Even though I knew the work, there were times when I would lose my concentration. David not only helped me in certain areas where I was weak, but also prepared me physically and mentally. My confidence was high going into the test because he was very thorough. Each time I took a practice test we reviewed all the difficult topics and his techniques helped me master the skills required for the ACT. I really appreciated his patience, good humor, and knowledge of all the subjects.
Most importantly, my score went up to a 31 with a 34 in reading. This helped me tremendously with my college search. I will always be grateful to David for his help and support. I highly recommend his services.
My biggest complaint is that David’s services did not help me improve my Reading scores and in some ways worsened them. My mom asked David to be my tutor, hoping that he would help me increase my ACT Reading and Science scores from a 33 in Reading and a 28 in Science. After working with David for 4 lessons over 4 weeks, my scores on the state-administered ACT were 25 reading and 31 Science. When I applied the strategies again in the June ACT, I got a 27 in Reading. David taught me to use some strategies in the Reading section such as doing the passages out of order. This I believe worsened my score. When I hired him, I had hoped that he would help me increase my reading speed to help me fare better on timing with the passages, an issue I had at that time. But, David did not do that and instead focused on the strategic aspect in tackling both the Reading and Science passages. His strategies I believe were ineffective and often caused me to mistime my passages.
Another thing that I was unsatisfied with was David's unprofessional conduct. I had my lessons in the morning with David at his house because I lived pretty nearby. On multiple occasions David would show up late. Furthermore, on our last lesson, I stayed about 30 minutes after our usual scheduled class for him to speak to me on what he admitted to be "a blatant attempt at self-advertisement" during which he offered me his further services in Reading and Writing beyond the ACT. He ended up charging me an additional 25 bucks for this additional time which I at the time thought was just a gratuitous discussion rather than costly lesson time. At $1 a minute, David's services are not cheap and I didn't appreciate him taking the opportunity to make a little more money off my last lesson.
After reading the initial version of this review, David sent me an apologetic email and offered me a $30 refund in compensation for the extra charge. I have accepted it and have received payment. He also offered me a free 2 hour lesson on Writing and Literature. I appreciated the gesture but declined because I needed to focus on my ACT studies.
Furthermore, David wastes a lot of time telling jokes and making uneducational banter. I would say at least 25% of my lesson time was spent talking about useless things with him. I wish I had hired someone more serious about their work.
These are my experiences with Mr. K and my opinions of the quality of his services.
We have had 2 sessions with him now, then my kids are very enthusiastic in reading with him.
He provided them note books and rewarding stickers making session more interesting for kids.
Always quality sessions with David, he truly wants the children to learn and do well. My daughter was struggling to read the book Hunger Games, she just wasn't able to connect. She was frustrated because all her friends loved the book. She was going to give up and choose another book and David was determined to get her to understand and want to continue with the book. After working with her, he was successful, she is now almost done with the book and loves it and can't wait to read the sequels.
In most cases, tutors gain approval in a subject by passing a proficiency exam. For some subject areas, like music and art, tutors submit written requests to demonstrate their proficiency to potential students. If a tutor is interested but not yet approved in a subject, the subject will appear in non-bold font. Tutors need to be approved in a subject prior to beginning lessons.
I spent three decades teaching and leading an English department in a highly regarded independent school that had very strong writing and grammar components. I have also edited a seven-volume grammar textbook series, written for a weekly suburban newspaper, and edited many pieces for a not-for-profit organization and also many individuals.
I currently work for two educational consulting companies for whom I analyze real ACT English and reading tests and write practice ACT-like English and reading tests. I have worked with many students on thousands of their ACT tests, teaching them the tests' format, strategies, contents, and, significantly, the standards on which the test questions are based.
I taught English in the classroom for three decades, and I was department chair for more than 20 years. I also taught literature to gifted and talented high school students at Northwestern University each summer for 16 years.
Since leaving the classroom, I have tutored many students on the ACT test, with reading students generally improving anywhere from 5 to 10 points. Overall, my students generally gain at least 4-5 points in their composite scores even after taking classes on the ACT before I meet them. I also have worked for GAINS Education Group, as well as other educational consulting firms. I have written ACT-like reading tests, analyzed real retired ACT tests for the College Readiness Standards of each question, and led workshops for teachers on how to teach the test. I have also edited a grammar book series, taught a college composition course, and worked with many students on general language arts writing, reading, grammar, and vocabulary skills.
My Clarinet Teaching Tradition
I have been teaching aspiring clarinet players since I was in high school. Throughout my university and professional careers, even while in other fields, clarinet playing and teaching have been constants in my life. I even met my wife, who plays oboe, in a university concert band. The pure enjoyment of the music it plays and the instrument itself has prompted me to perform in several orchestras and to start two performing woodwind quintets. I find my increasing knowledge of the literature for clarinet to be fascinating, and my personal library of solos, ensembles, clarinet choirs and fundamental books is growing quite vast. I use this library to ensure my students will play a challenging yet developmentally sound repertoire. I also enjoy the sound and technique of the clarinet; I don't think that any other instrument can quite achieve the acoustical thrill of the rich, ringing resonance of a clarinet singing its way through a lyrical run.
I've also appreciated the relationships that have developed through my music teaching. I've started students as young as second grade, and most my students return from college to take lessons during their vacations. Most have attained scholarships. I'm proud that of the many students who have continued lessons with university instructors, virtually all of them have been told that the quality of tone we worked to achieve would not be touched. I've played for and attended their weddings and remained friends with many. My current primary accompanist is a former clarinet student who also performs with me. Most of my students have gone through junior and senior high school in one of three outstanding systems: Elk Grove, Deerfield, and Lake Park High Schools, with most of my current students in the latter two. I have also taught several, including first chairs in both, in The Chicago Youth Symphony and Midwest Young Artists. In the high schools we yearly perform several solos, ensembles, and clarinet choirs. I have had hundreds receive I.M.E.A. district honors and several reach state. One year (1996) six Lake Park clarinetists all made I.M.E.A. Watching students grow and achieve is a joy of my life. Teaching is both an honor and a quest!
My experience in teaching English is wide and varied. Not only was I a classroom teacher and department chair at a prestigious and rigorous independent school for many years, but I taught both middle school through ninth grade as well as summer school literature for gifted and talented high school students at Northwestern University for 16 summers. I designed curriculum in writing, literature, speech, grammar, and vocabulary, inaugurated a visiting author's program, organized interdisciplinary studies for the division, planned a school-wide "Year of Chicago" program, and began many other programs, such as a yearly writing assessment and various writing contests.
I am proud that more than half of my students returned to credit me for their prowess in writing and passion for literature. I am even prouder that my work during all of those decades could make the difference in the lives of so many individuals.
My academic qualifications, including my masters in education from Northwestern University, are supplemented by professional experience as a newspaper reporter, as a print shop job operator, as an academic editor, as editor of a seven-volume grammar series, as instructor of a college level writing class, as a professional editor and proofreader for various kinds of writing pieces, and as an educational consultant.
While I have taught a great variety of subjects, including writing, all others aspects of language arts, test preparation, and music, my greatest passion as a teacher is to see the growth students achieve from their reading, the integration of ideas afforded by literature, and the excitement my students evince when they have discovered such integration. Literature was the centerpiece of the school where I taught and served as a department chair for so many years, and I was blessed to work for 16 summers with gifted students in the literary analysis course I created for the Northwestern University Center for Talent Development. I have continued my own pursuit of literature, and I extract great pleasure from teaching to my tutoring students.
For nearly thirty years in the classroom, I taught correctness in writing and speech to my students. As department chair I wrote the curriculum, which included a great deal of work on grammar and usage, for all the students in our five grades.
Since I have left the classroom, I have tutored all ages and manners of students in writing and test preparation, which on both the ACT and SAT includes a heavy emphasis on rhetoric, grammar, usage, and mechanics. My students always improve greatly in this and other areas. I have also edited a seven-volume grammar text book series and taught a college composition course.
Furthermore, my editing background includes pieces of all lengths, from essay to articles to books. I was also in charge of the newspaper, yearbook, and literary magazine at my school, I worked for printing companies, and I have served as an editor for several organizational newsletters as well as sports editor for a suburban newspaper chain.
I have always enjoyed reading, for pleasure and for growth. The more I've lived and taught, I have come to regard books and reading as a central experience necessary for the fully realized life. Few things give me pleasure as much as seeing my students become excited when they discover the patterns or archetypes or the use of symbols and meaning that allow them to start integrating ideas they have encountered. As Ray Bradbury would say, they are learning to "stitch the fragments of the universe together into one garment." Seldom does one see as much excitement and joy as when a young person makes a connection on a real, intellectual level.
I've been fortunate to both witness this miracle and be a part of it many times during my career as an English teacher and department chair, an summer instructor of a gifted and talented
course in literary analysis, and as a tutor of students of all ages. This can happen with Shakespeare or in great novels, such as by Golding, Fitzgerald, or Dickens; it can happen within the wondrous intensity of impossibly well-crafted poetry. It can happen in young adult literature, short stories, and other pieces to help students gain more enjoyment and understanding in what they read.
Helping my students gain comprehension and meaning in what they read is a significant part of why I continue to teach. I enjoy seeing my students grow.
In addition to scoring well on the SAT verbal (many years ago), I have helped many students to prepare for it. Every student I have worked with on the SAT reading and writing have improved 100 points or more. We work on roots and prefixes and targeted vocabulary lists as well as both reading comprehension and strategies that apply to the test. On the both SAT and ACT reading, my students will grow in ways that apply to but also extend plus the test itself.
My strongest qualification for teaching SAT writing is that I have had great success teaching writing in general. The majority of my Lake Forest students, where I taught for three decades and served as department chair, as well as those whom I taught during my 16 summers at Northwestern University's Center for Talent Development, later returned or contacted me to tell me that I had made the difference in the writings, the appreciation for literature, and their general command of the skills inherent in the English class.
I have honed these skills while teaching writing of all kinds to students of all ages as a tutor, as well as while editing, including a grammar textbook series, and teaching a college writing course.
The somewhat artificial situation required for the SAT essay, mainly the limitation of 25 minutes, is served best by first having a solid approach to writing and then learning to retain these strengths while tightening the scope of and the time given to the essay. I have enjoyed watching my students achieve a great deal of success writing their essays for the SAT.
I taught for 28 years and was the English department chair at a school with a rigorous curriculum that emphasized writing. Most of my students returned to tell me that I had provided them the foundation of their writing skills. Since writing is such an individualized subject, it fits with my desire to help every student grow in skills and in intellectual command within his or her own skills, aptitude, and background. I was also able to apply this principle during 16 summers of teaching a gifted literature and writing course for high school students at Northwestern University. I have continued to help countless students with their writing as a tutor. I also taught a college composition course.
In addition to my teaching experience, I have taken writing workshops at Northwestern, the University of Illinois, and many conferences. I wrote for a suburban newspaper for two years, and I have been editor of several newsletters and other publications. I also was a consulting editor for a seven-volume grammar textbook series. Finally, I edit letters, promotional materials, blogs, papers, and books for businessmen and women, friends, and members of organizations, as well as writing many articles myself.