Dianne Z.

Boston, MA


ESL/ESOL Tutor with 7 years experience

In-person lessons
Background check passed as of 5/15/13
5.0 average from 3 ratings


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Simmons College
UMass Boston


Simmons College

UMass Boston (Master's)

About Dianne

I'm a creative, thoughtful, and patient tutor, with over 30 years of experience in the fields of early childhood, elementary, and adult education. I graduated from a masters program in applied linguistics at UMass Boston in 2015, and I earned a certificate in ESL math pedagogy. My undergraduate studies at Simmons College included nutrition and life sciences, African history and literature, children's literature, Spanish, and a concentration in studio art: drawing and painting. Because of 20 years experience as a home-school parent, and my work as an artist and educator, I often think and search "outside the box" for creative solutions, and I strengthen students' ability to grow confidently and independently.

My most recent experience includes tutoring elementary school students at the Boston Public Library during after-school hours, and offering student-centered academic support in reading, writing, math, and appreciation of various subjects. These subjects include math, applied life-science, social studies, functional art, music, dance, yoga, and theatre. I also have over four years experience teaching GED math, science, writing, and ESL to adults.

During the years leading up to and immediately following a month-long cultural visit to Mali, West Africa, I studied and reached advanced Intermediate level French in speaking, reading, and writing. Through lessons at the French Cultural Center of Boston, and private lessons, my communicative competence grew over a seven year period. By auditing advanced courses in French linguistics and translation as well as French classical theatre at Simmons College, my knowledge and experience of French history, culture, and language usage developed in a way that has influenced the way I perceive cultural interaction among people I come in contact with.

To summarize my qualifications and experience: I am an education specialist, working with English Language Learners and Native Speakers of English. I offer learner-centered basic academic support and "meaning-making" to students at all age levels, but I work most frequently with elementary school students, and adults at the GED and ESL levels. Some techniques that I employ include: journaling, reading aloud, book-walks/previews, and consideration of multicultural myths, music, and children's literature. My hobbies include print-making, poetry readings, and the enjoyment of walking in nature, even urban nature, and I am familiar with many native plants, insects, and other wildlife, both local and global.
I'm a creative, thoughtful, and patient tutor, with over 30 years of experience in the fields of early childhood, elementary, and adult education. I graduated from a masters program in applied linguistics at UMass Boston in 2015, and I earned a certificate in ESL math pedagogy. My undergraduate studies at Simmons College included nutrition and Read more

3 hours notice required

My rate is negotiable, and there is a 10% discount for a prepaid ten hour package. I am also open to discussing the location of the tutoring session.

Travel Radius
Travels within 5 miles of Boston, MA 02119
Background Check: Passed
In-person lessons
Differential Equations, Elementary (K-6th), Elementary Math, GED, Geometry, Prealgebra
Biology, Botany,
Ecology, Elementary Science, Microbiology, Nutrition, Physiology, Sociology
Music History, Music Theory
Grammar, Literature, Public Speaking, Reading,
SAT Reading,
SAT Writing, Vocabulary, Writing
Test Preparation:
GED, SAT Reading,
SAT Writing
Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Word, Photography
French, Reading,
Geography, Music History, Social Studies, World History, Writing
Special Needs:
Elementary (K-6th), Elementary Math, Elementary Science, Phonics,
Study Skills
Elementary Education:
Elementary (K-6th), Elementary Math, Elementary Science, Grammar, Phonics,
Spelling, Study Skills, Vocabulary, Writing
Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, Public Speaking, Writing
Cooking, Sewing, Yoga

Approved subjects are in bold.

Approved subjects

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 trained and studied life sciences and healing modalities, and the visual and choreographic arts. I attended practical nurse's training, then transferred to an undergraduate college program in human nutrition. I changed my concentration to visual arts and worked from live models for 2 years. I followed up with acupuncture studies, direct entry midwifery training, and a vigorous folkloric dance and yoga practice with music accompaniment for 20 years now.


Since I was an elementary school student, I have studied the life cycle of seed-bearing plants and trees, and I know the parts of these plants from the roots to the stem, branches, leaves, flowers, fruit, and seeds. I know that many plants multiply more successfully by sending runners, either through the air like spider plants or underground which emerge in a new area, or, like bananas, which do not multiply by seed, the "suckers" come up right next to the parent plant.
I have sprouted and grown my own vegetables and legumes, and I am aware that the first leaves of a new plant such as a bean or a maple tree, are the cotyledons which nestle in the cover of the seed until sprouting. Mushrooms, ferns, conifers, and succulents appear to be older forms of plant life in the life of the planet. Mushrooms and ferns multiply by spores, conifers, of course by the seeds on the cones, and succulents by roots.
Some domesticated varieties of plants such as maize, no longer reproduce themselves without the help of the planter. A gardener will grow corn in square patches of rows in order to assist the plants in pollinating each other. Bees and ants are also important in increasing the successful pollination of flowers and produce for consumption.
I have looked at cells in the leaves of green plants and know that they contain chloroplasts. Sunlight with ultra-violet is important for photosynthesis to occur. The green plants convert this solar radiation into food.


Drawing was so successful for me in college that I eventually switched my major from nutrition to studio art. I began with an intensive double semester studio class - 3 hours each class, 2 classes each week. I used Ebony pencil, a pad of 18" x 24" newsprint paper and owned a kneaded eraser but was not allowed to erase anything in class or at home. I practiced gradations of light and shadow with the Ebony pencil and kept practicing all year long until I could produce 16 boxes from very black to barely white, and from very light to very dark. I found that challenges made me a better, stronger and more confident artist. I learned to use light and shadow with the Ebony pencil to draw leaves that would virtually "fall off the page". For perspective, I began by making line drawings of the corners of the room, and was eventually introduced to 1 and 2 point perspective, along with the horizon line, and maintaining a perpendicular orientation with that line. Self-portraits and portraits of each other (students) were challenging and fun activities, and this was followed by life-drawing. Learning to view mistakes as opportunities for creativity is one of the big lessons of that year. Another lesson is that patience, persistence, preparation and lots of hard work yield positive results. So when an assignment requires 4 drawings, I make at least 8. Most importantly, I realize that when someone practices drawing hundreds of times, their style begins to emerge, and beginners look on that style as being "artistic." So love what you are doing, and forget about judging and contrasting your abilities with whatever is in the museums.


I have a master's degree in Applied Linguistics, which prepared me to teach and tutor English for Speakers of Other Languages [ESOL]. I have also been teaching English for over 10 years, and I center my lessons around the student's specific needs.


I studied Applied Linguistics at UMass Boston, for 5 years and earned an M.A. in 2015. During that time I co-taught adult English learners and tutored several multilingual elementary school students in the library after their school day. At UMass Boston, I tutored undergraduate and graduate students who needed help in reading, writing, and interpretation for their coursework. I have been working as a teacher and tutor ever since.


Like many children in the US, I began painting at a very early age, using toy store watercolor sets. Being exposed to musicians in my family, gave me a keen chromatic sense of energy which I was able to translate into visual and colorful works from time to time throughout elementary and secondary education. My formal education in acrylic painting began as a sophomore at Simmons College, where I studied color and the use of acrylics.

My first impulses with acrylics were to use them sparingly to obtain a washed-watercolor effect. Then I was pushed into experimenting with the full effects of undiluted color afforded by this versatile 2-dimensional medium. I passed through color and life-drawing classes with very interesting and realistic pieces. This led to a couple of years of independent study in rendering photographs into parallel acrylic portraits.

The final academic challenge was to "stop drawing with the paintbrush and just paint". That led to on-canvas blending that seems to work better with certain pigment combinations than others which seem to grey-out or brown-out. I've since arrived at using the acrylics as a very satisfying print-making medium.


Phonics was the way successful literacy skills were imparted to me at the early elementary school level. It enabled me to associate sounds to the alphabetic English code. This in turn allowed me to move beyond sight-word recognition to reading and writing words and eventually larger chunks of visual language such as sentences and paragraphs with a fair amount of contextualized comprehension. I must caution, however, that critical thinking and conceptual skills came later as a result of higher education endeavors.

One important cognitive aspect of phonics is that it helps a potential reader learn to decode and recode or encode meaning of written texts. Thus one is given the opportunity to learn to read and write more independently and creatively. I used workbooks such as "Primary Phonics" and "Explode the Code" while teaching a kindergarten class for a year, as well as with all 4 of my home-schooled children. Another successful experience with phonics took place as a home-based reading tutor using the 3-letter combination flash cards that come with the Orton-Gillingham textbook on remedial reading, and high-interest story and poetry books by Dr. Seuss and Lee Bennett Hopkins. Although not trained in the Orton-Gillingham methods, I met with a measurable amount of success with reluctant and delayed readers aged 7 - 11 years old by relying on a combination of approaches, including group work - reading aloud and playing "Boggle" - and just talking together about the activity of reading and what it means to each one of us.

More recent study and work experiences with Phonics have been realized through Applied Linguistics courses in Literacy and Phonetics at UMass Boston in 2012, and simultaneously with 3 years of experience co-teaching and tutoring adult English language learners and their children in the Boston area, under the advising of faculty in the Applied Linguistics Department.


I worked as a kindergarten teacher with children whose literacy was beginning to emerge. This was from 1986 to 1987 and 2015 to 2016. I also took graduate courses in teaching reading and writing to English learners from 2012-2013. I was a temporary ESL specialist for 9 weeks in 2011, which included working in kindergarten and first grade classrooms with children who were beginning to read and write.

SAT Reading

I have been using practice books to help students prepare for MCAS, ISEE, and SSAT for 5 years. I've also helped my son prepare for the SAT, which he took a second time, and successfully raised his math scores. I have taken graduate courses in Reading, Writing, and Math pedagogy, and found them helpful in developing critical thinking skills for all subjects where reading is involved. As an artist, I look for matching patterns as evidence between multiple choice questions and answers. As an ESL specialist, I'm aware that standardized tests can be challenging because they are not always bias-free.


I have tutored students from elementary and middle school to college level writing, for homework and test prep. I have studied children's literature in college, comparing books and articles for composition, style, and ease of reading aloud versus silent reading. I have worked diligently to raise my own level of academic and professional essay writing, most importantly in providing evidence for my opinions and overall cohesiveness in composition.

Simmons College
UMass Boston


Simmons College

UMass Boston (Master's)

Hourly rate

Standard Hourly Rate: $40.00

Cancellation: 3 hours notice required

My rate is negotiable, and there is a 10% discount for a prepaid ten hour package. I am also open to discussing the location of the tutoring session.

Travel policy

Dianne will travel within 5 miles of Boston, MA 02119.