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Harvard College (Classics)
Princeton University (Graduate Coursework)
Are you learning Chinese? Want to get better? I can help!
I took my first Chinese lesson when I was seven. I don't know why I wanted to learn. I just did. I still get a thrill when I remember the smell of the fresh practice booklet that first day, the look of the characters on the page. Since then, I have sat through hundreds of hours of Chinese classes. I've paid attention every minute. Not just to the content of the lessons, but to the way they were being taught. I've seen some truly first-class practices, and I've seen some lesson plans that didn't work so well. I've listened and remembered, hoping to be in a position to use what I learned one day. The teaching of language is my passion, and I would love to be able to share it with you.
Though I am certainly qualified to serve as a Chinese tutor in a general sense, there are two areas in which I can offer special expertise.
The first of these is pronunciation. I've spent several years in Beijing (broken up over a four different trips). During that time, dozens of locals have asked me whether I grew up in China, or, when speaking to me on the telephone, have assumed that I was a Chinese national. Native-quality pronunciation is becoming more and more common among Chinese-language learners, and for good reason -- it's important, fun to master, and really not that hard! It just takes practice and patience. And, of course, guidance. On that score, I have one advantage over tutors with native-speaker backgrounds: since I had to acquire pronunciation skills myself, not being born to them, I know exactly what it takes to learn them.
Second, my experience with Chinese is extremely varied. In addition to standard Mandarin, I have worked with a great deal of Classical Chinese, the early language in which much of China's vast literary tradition is recorded. Knowledge of Classical Chinese is very helpful for a true understanding of modern Mandarin, because it is the language from which modern Chinese developed and is still in large part based. I have also worked as a volunteer translator of technical documents for the Natural Resources Defense Council, collaborated on the translation of an anthology of modern poetry and, most recently, become qualified as a medical interpreter. These different pursuits have furnished me with a number of different perspectives on the Chinese language.
In addition, I have a good deal of experience as a language teacher. Most recently, from 2008 to 2010, I lived with a Chinese family in Beijing and taught ESL and Latin to their children. It was a blast.
I wish you the best of luck with your studies. If you would like me to help you, please get in touch! Are you learning Chinese? Want to get better? I can help!
I took my first Chinese lesson when I was seven. I don't know why I wanted to learn. I just did. I still get a thrill when I remember the smell of the fresh practice booklet that first day, the look of the characters on
Caitlin is an excellent teacher. She's very knowledgeable, gives constructive feedback, and is approachable. Points for preparedness too - she even had an easel and whiteboard setup to demonstrate Chinese calligraphy!
My son has had 5 lessons with Caitlin. He is a challenging student - very bright but very disorganized and uncommitted. I let Caitlin know that he would be a challenge at the outset, and she dug in. She has adapted and re-adapted her approach to find the best path to success, including listening to my son and considering his input carefully as well as mine. In a situation where she could have focused on the content and left my son to sink or swim, she has gone the extra mile to address his learning challenges. We will continue with Caitlin as long as my son takes Chinese in school.
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 have extensive training in both spoken and written Chinese. I have studied advanced Mandarin at Harvard College, the Middlebury Summer Language Schools and Princeton-in-Beijing. I have also studied the earlier, literary form of Chinese, often known as Classical Chinese, both as an undergraduate at Harvard College and as a doctoral candidate at Princeton University. I am in the midst of writing my doctoral dissertation now.
In addition, I have a good deal of practical experience using Mandarin. I have lived and worked in Beijing for several years, I am a qualified Chinese-English medical interpreter and I have considerable experience as a translator for environmental organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council.
I have several years of experience teaching ESL to both children and adults. My first job out of college was at Beijing Normal University in the People's Republic of China, where I taught ESL to graduate students. More recently, I spent a couple of years living with a Chinese family in Beijing, where I taught ESL and Latin to their twin children. We had a wonderful time.
I studied Latin as an undergraduate at Harvard College, where I had a combined major in Classics and East Asian Studies. When I went on to graduate school, I turned my focus to Chinese literature, but I continue to rely on Classical literary theory in my research. And between 2008 and 2010, I found myself putting my Classical studies to use in an entirely different way as I lived with a Chinese family in Beijing and tutored their twin children in ESL and Latin. I had the time of my life.