Fordham University (English)
Graduate Center CUNY (Master's)
Graduate Center CUNY (PhD)
My expertise is teaching and tutoring college students and high school students. While working on my PhD in English Literature at CUNY Graduate Center, I tutored and taught at La Guardia Community College, where for many of the students English was a second language. The fact that they struggled with writing in English was therefore not a surprise to me.
Having completed my doctorate I joined the faculty at Montclair State University in New Jersey, where the majority of students were native-born speakers. Surprisingly, I discovered that they had the same -- sometimes even more -- difficulty with writing. Upon reflection I acknowledged that I, with all of my education, also have had difficulty setting my ideas to paper. I remembered that completing my dissertation had been no walk in the park. And why would it be? Given that we human beings all learn to speak before we learn to write, it is not surprising that while we may speak our thoughts with ease and flow, writing is, in fact, an artificial and self-conscious form of expression, a difficult, often torturous process. This is more so for students who have not been supplied with the necessary pre-writing tools to access ideas, to analyze the topic, and then taught to organize and develop those ideas in a coherent way.
Good writing comes always from the writer's insight, knowledge, and imagination. For that reason, in the tutoring process, it is important to provide students as much autonomy as possible. My goal then, first and foremost, is to help writers critically evaluate both their own experiences and outside readings, and second, in order to clarify their focus, to engage them in critical dialogue about their assigned topics. Questioning is one method I use to help them access and develop ideas in detail. Outlining and brainstorming are other useful tools. And where understanding the structures of grammar is primary, I teach that as well. The last step is proofreading, which is vital to the writing process. Especially when writers read their own writing aloud, they often hear more clearly what is illogical, what needs to be fleshed out, or what is simply incorrect.
In the classroom, students are used to responding to teachers as authority figures, while the students are deferential. For that reason some students are initially tense when they meet with a tutor - but tension is not conducive to good writing. With this in mind, I begin informally, trying by encouraging an open exchange to relay the message that ours can be a relaxed learning relationship. My expertise is teaching and tutoring college students and high school students. While working on my PhD in English Literature at CUNY Graduate Center, I tutored and taught at La Guardia Community College, where for many of the students English was a second language. The fact that they struggled with writing in English was therefore not a surprise
I have taught English at a Community College, where many students needed remedial instruction in reading comprehension and in writing. The same was true at a State University, where I taught for ten years. Some had second language difficulties but others had simply been deprived of the necessary instruction at an earlier age. I would say that this is the right time for your child to get the help he or she needs.
I also worked as a tutor at universities I taught at, as student conferences usually took the form of tutoring sessions. I am not presently teaching, because I am writing a book.