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Case Western Reserve University (PhD)
I love tutoring. Even though I have a PhD. and have taught classes at Case Western University and John Carroll University, I think I enjoy tutoring more than teaching in the classroom. I’ve been tutoring for over 16 years and am still friends with many of my students and their families, all of whom are ready to provide glowing recommendations when required. Mastering the academic essay, writing research papers, learning grammar for college prep tests, and completing that all important college essay are not easy tasks even for the most accomplished students. My students range from those who are brilliant in math but struggle with writing to those in Honors and AP English. I’ve worked with students with dyslexia, ADD, Autism, and IEPs, one of whom went from a 14 to a 21 in her ACT writing after 3 weeks of working with me. She was extremely bright but needed help in reading comprehension, and my practical methods for test taking made a big difference. Hers was an exceptional case, since most students need to study at least 10 weeks to prepare for English reading and writing on the ACT and the SAT. I also teach a tutoring “course” I’ve named “ Boot Camp Grammar” in which I teach every single rule and exception known to grammarians with an easy and quick method. Most students have missed entire areas of grammar, as it is not taught in a standardized manner in the schools. They are relieved to finally understand clearly all the grammar rules. I’ve been told that my explanations are so much easier to understand than the ones they received in class. I ask them what they already know and go straight to the areas they never heard of, such as predicate nominatives or object complements and provide sample questions from past SAT tests that require knowledge of those particular rules. Students often take my “Boot Camp” class over the summer, working around vacations and camps.
As for composition, I firmly believe that it is in the re- writing of a paragraph from a past paper that students learn to write better. Without the advantage of a private tutor, students often find notes on their essays telling them that they need clarification or that they lack organization, which they are expected to fix in the following paper. How are they to improve, however, without specific instructions and tips on how to clarify or organize? Teaching has always come naturally to me, but experience in both tutoring and teaching college has taught me that people need a solid repertoire of methods that allows them to tackle any writing or research assignment with complete confidence.
Furthermore, in the last few years it seems that test prep often takes precedent over class assignments. Of course test prep, especially the new SAT, does require one to learn how to read comprehensively, and how to write not only with clarity but also with insight and analysis, and we can work on these skills quickly and efficiently in preparation for the test. I prefer, however, that students come to tutoring regularly to learn to write, analyze and research from their assignments in class rather than try to gain these accomplishments in a few weeks before the test. When teaching college freshman English, I noticed that many students who received A’s in high school English were getting “C’s” in their college English classes. My goal is to teach students to understand literature and to give them the methods needed to write a fine academic essay with confidence. A few semesters of tutoring on the high school level will allow them to make a smooth transition into college writing.
Finally, I don’t want tutoring to be torture. I like to joke and have some fun and write on subjects that the students themselves are interested in. Meeting new students to work with is a pleasure and I look forward to it. I see myself as a friend providing support for tests and class assignments. I want to teach my students to analyze and make associations that result in deeper insights as they go. Most students become eager and more confident as they improve because writing well teaches one to think well. Some even begin to realize the beauty behind consummate writing whether it is literature or prose. And this ability actually deepens character and fans out into perceptions and decisions they will make throughout life. I’m not the first person to observe this. Francis Bacon, a sixteenth century philosopher (who was clueless about gender propriety) wrote, “Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.”
I love tutoring. Even though I have a PhD. and have taught classes at Case Western University and John Carroll University, I think I enjoy tutoring more than teaching in the classroom. I’ve been tutoring for over 16 years and am still friends with many of my students and their families, all of whom are ready to provide glowing recommendations when
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