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Lisa M.

Collegeville, PA

$45/hour

Patient, Knowledgeable, Creative and Enthusiastic Tutor

In-person lessons
100+ Hours
Background check passed as of 10/20/16
4.8 average from 32 ratings
First Lesson
— Mike, Norristown, PA on 10/11/16

$45/Hour


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Smith College
Political Science
Smith College Italian Studies
Master's
University Of Pennsylvania International Relations/Political Science
PhD

Education

Smith College (Political Science)

Smith College Italian Studies (Master's)

University Of Pennsylvania International Relations/Political Science (PhD)

About Lisa

Though I have been teaching for many years, as a college professor (10 years), and as a private tutor (15 years), I still get excited by helping students reach their fullest potential. Learning comes through a teacher's deep knowledge of the material, creative lesson planning, patient instruction, and a persistent willingness to try almost anything to get something across. Students can be visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or combination learners. I switch from one teaching mode to another to find whatever works bests for the student. Sometimes an analogy or question can clarify a murky math or grammar problem, or an anecdote can make history come alive for someone bored by names and dates.

I use technology extensively in my teaching. The textbook's website usually contains quizzes, chapter tests and other supplementary resources that students are usually unaware of. I share files with students through Google Drive of WyzAnt Resources. I text or email them to remind them of assignments. I use Quizlet, the on-line flashcard website - which has Google and IPhone apps - to build vocabulary, reinforce science or math concepts, or review history events and people.

I consider my knowledge, enthusiasm, patience and creativity my hallmark as a tutor. I know my current clients feel the same way.
Though I have been teaching for many years, as a college professor (10 years), and as a private tutor (15 years), I still get excited by helping students reach their fullest potential. Learning comes through a teacher's deep knowledge of the material, creative lesson planning, patient instruction, and a persistent willingness to try almost Read more

Policies
Cancellation
24 hours notice required

SAT, AP and other test prep lessons are $50/hour, as are all college courses. Two people at the same level or grade, taking the same lessons together are charged 1.5 times the hourly rate.

Travel Radius
Travels within 16 miles of Collegeville, PA 19426
Background Check: Passed
In-person lessons

"First Lesson"

- Mike, Norristown, PA on 10/11/16
Science:
PSAT
Test Preparation:
GRE, PSAT, SAT Math,
SAT Reading,
SAT Writing,
SSAT,
TOEFL
Language:
ESL/ESOL,
Italian,
Reading,
TOEFL
Special Needs:
Reading
Elementary Education:
Grammar,
Reading,
Vocabulary
Business:
ESL/ESOL,
GRE

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.

Algebra 1

I have been teaching Algebra 1 for almost 15 years. I make sure to reinforce the basic definitions (variable, exponent, quadratic, etc.) with multiple illustrations and examples, if needed. Finally, I make sure both the student and the parent keep track of assignments and upcoming quizzes and tests. I enjoy the task enormously and find it very rewarding.

Algebra 2

I have tutored Algebra 2 to students of every ability level for over 10 years. the new color graphing calculators are extremely helpful, although many don't know how to use them to the fullest. Depending on the student's preparation and ability level, it may take only a few sessions to clarify issues that previously seemed murky.

American History

I took several courses in American history in college, as part of my political science degree, although I have always been fascinated by the complex patterns of our country's past. Teaching government necessarily entails teaching about American history: the flight from religious persecution, the Constitution, democratization of the suffrage, the festering wound of slavery and the Civil War, the waves of immigration and their impact on American industrialization, how the US began to assert itself in the world.... I could go on, of course. Unfortunately, too many students only learned about American history as a bunch of names and dates, and not as a series of complex, interlocking events with underlying themes. My job as a tutor is to teach students how to use their textbooks more effectively, but also to make history interesting and relevant again,

English

I have tutored English to Americans, as well as English as a foreign language. I’ve used games, online quizzes and visual mind maps to help students understand grammar and diction. In short, I will go to great lengths to teach my students. It's both a job and a pleasure!

ESL/ESOL

Being a good ESL teacher requires patience, creativity and enthusiasm. I first tutored English to Italians when I was a graduate student in Florence. I didn't know then about the importance of speaking only in English, and emphasizing conversation over grammar and vocabulary memorization. Since then, I've had a number of ESL students and learned a lot about ESL teaching methods,
ESL students are all unique, with their own needs and goals. Are they beginners or advanced? Learning for school or to get a job? Their needs must be assessed and the best texts for the job chosen. One good resource is the Oxford Picture Dictionary because it's organized thematically, and is a good conversation starter. I have put many chapters of this invaluable resource on Quizlet, the online flashcard site that also has Google and IPhone apps. I also have many "icebreaker" questions: about education, food, or travel in the home country, or their reasons for learning English.
In short, I will go to great lengths to get my students talking and learning. It's both a job and a pleasure!

European History

I have had a deep interest in European history since I was a teenager. I had an great teacher when I took European AP history and got a 5 on the test. I also took the European history SAT subject test, receiving a 760 out of 800. Probably the only reason I didn't become a history major in college was that I had an excellent political science professor who got me interested in politics, which is, after all future history. (And history is past politics.) My political science courses in college and later graduate school had a strong European focus, and my PhD was on historical patterns in Italian foreign policy. I've taught European Area studies and European politics at the college level a number of times, so I'm well qualified to teach European AP. So my knowledge base in the subject is quite deep. I have also tutored students in World AP history and American AP history, so I'm familiar with the broad thematic approach in AP history, as well as the DBQs (document-based questions) required for some of the AP essays required for some of the essay answers. As you can see from my profile, I have considerable college level teaching experience, which means I know what kind of reading and writing are required of a course like this. Finally, I am, a caring, patient, and creative instructor well-versed in finding whatever material is available in books and online, if it will help my students learn.

Geography

Although we are living in an era of global connectedness, 3 out of 5 Americans cannot locate Iraq on a Middle Eastern map, or think English is the most widely spoken native language in the world. Only 9% of Americans can speak a foreign language, compared to more about 50% of the people in Europe. There are real consequences to low American geographic literacy. in trade, contracts often go to those fluent in the local or a shared language. In defense, unfamiliarity with Iraq and Afghanistan led to costly decisions in blood and treasure. In diplomacy, immigration, the Arctic, and cyber terrorism get twisted into campaign issues. If we understand geography, we can make better decisions about our world.

Geometry

I begin any tutoring assignment by reviewing the student’s algebra 1 basics, because students need good algebra skills to do well in geometry. I also make sure to reinforce the basic definitions (line, angle, triangle, etc.) with multiple illustrations and examples, if needed. Finally, I make sure both the student and the parent keep track of assignments and upcoming quizzes and tests. Being a good geometry teacher requires patience, creativity and enthusiasm. But I much enjoy the task and find it very rewarding.

Government & Politics

I have a BA in political science and a Ph.D. in International Relations/Political Science. I have taught many political courses, multiple times, including: American Politics, Congress, The Presidency, The Media & Politics, International Politics, War & Politics, and courses in Immigration, Democratization, European, and Middle East Politics. I've developed tools to help students understand how politics here and elsewhere work, how history and culture shape politics, why so many don't vote in the US, and what motivates some groups to act within the system, and others to pursue a more radical or reactionary agenda.

Although most Americans have access to multiple sources of information, they often don't see the need to keep themselves consistently informed on the issues of the day. This makes them more vulnerable to well-crafted, sometimes secretly funded, political ads. The flood of negative ads turns many people off politics, harming our democracy. My job is to show how politics and government do in fact matter.

Grammar

Though grammar isn't taught much these days, it's essential for clear, concise communication. I go back to basics (subject verb agreement, run-on sentences, parallel construction) sometimes with games, sometimes with contests to improve the student's ability to communicate in writing and speaking. Teaching is both challenging and rewarding, and I really enjoy every minute of it.

Italian

My mother was Italian, and I often spent summers speaking with many Italian relatives. I took Italian in college, spent my junior year in Florence, and took courses in Italian at the University of Florence. Although I was a politics major, the Smith Italian Dept. gave me a scholarship to Florence as their first Italian studies Masters student. I wrote my Masters thesis in Italian and my Penn Ph.D. thesis in International Relations/Political Science on Italy, conducting interviews and research in there in Italian.

But that wouldn't necessarily make me a good Italian tutor. I'm good at teaching Italian because I understand how the language works (grammar), as well as how people talk to each other in different situations, whether at home with friends, shopping, or in a restaurant. The lessons I teach are driven by the student's requirements, and the enjoyment I get from watching the learning process is icing on the cake.

Political Science

I have a BA in political science and a Ph.D. in International Relations/Political Science. I have taught many political courses, multiple times, including: American Politics, Congress, The Presidency, The Media & Politics, International Politics, War & Politics, and courses in Immigration, Democratization , European, and Middle East Politics. I've developed tools to help students understand how politics here and elsewhere work, how history and culture shape politics, why so many don't vote in the US, and what motivates some groups to act within the system, and others to pursue a more radical or reactionary agenda.

Although most Americans have access to multiple sources of information, they often don't see the need to keep themselves consistently informed on the issues of the day. This makes them more vulnerable to well-crafted, sometimes secretly funded, political ads. The flood of negative ads turns many people off politics, harming our democracy. My job is to show how politics and government do in fact matter.

Prealgebra

I have been teaching preAlgebra to middle school students for at least 10 years. At this age, students have their basic math skills (multiplication, division, place values, fractions, decimals, negative numbers, etc.) reinforced, and learn important skills in ratios, proportions, working with unknowns, algebraic expressions, exponents and other concepts. I've developed my own games and techniques to help students of all ability levels improve their basic skills and new ones. Being a good math teacher at this level requires, patience, enthusiasm, and creativity, and I'm proud to say my students enjoy working with me.

Reading

Being a good reading teacher requires patience, creativity and enthusiasm. I really enjoy helping students improve reading skills, as well as their ability to answer the easier and harder reading comprehension questions: the main idea questions, the author's tone and use of literary techniques, inferences questions, vocabulary in context, etc. Usually reading problems are linked to problems with vocabulary. I help students improve their vocabulary skills through word groups (10 words about "stubborn," about "challenging," etc.), then I add a visual cue on its meaning. I also work with the student to write about what he or she is reading, using appropriate vocabulary. Better reading speed and comprehension will improve high school grades and open more doors for college.

SAT Math

I have been teaching SAT Math for the last 15 years. The new SAT Math test is longer. harder, and heavily focused on Algebra II, especially quadratics, word problems, logarithms, and trigonometry. Students may need help in some areas to perform to their full potential. First, they need to understand the new types of problems (algebra, numbers and operations, etc.). Those with weaker math skills will need practice to improve performance in the no-calculator and grid-in sections. The removal of the penalty for guessing changes test strategies considerably. Students also need practice on full length tests to learn how much time to spend on each answer. There is one 55 minute calculator section, (38 questions) and one 25 minute no calculator section (20 questions). Timing is everything! Practice tests also help increase student confidence and performance.

Despite the changes in the test, students who diligently do their homework and strive to learn can post significant gains in their math scores. In the recent past, students have seen good improvement, from 370 to 520 in Math, or from 460 to 600.

SAT Reading

The new SAT Reading/Language sections is longer, harder and evidence based, with a single 65 minute, 52 question reading section, and a 35 minute, 44 question grammar section. With no penalty for guessing and more questions to answer in less time, students must have good test strategies, especially practice on test sections and full-length tests to gauge how much time to spend on each answer. Depending on individual ability and effort, Reading/Writing can be covered in 10-12 75-minute sessions, The optional essay requires an additional 4-6 hours tutoring.
The new reading section has 5 long passages on academic subjects such as literature, history, and science, some with tables or graphs. Each passage has 10-11 questions: on main ideas, passage details, the author’s tone, inferences, etc. There are about 10 “evidence-based" questions; students justify their answer by citing a particular part of the passage. There are also 10 “vocabulary in context” questions. I have proven methods to help students improve comprehension, reasoning, and vocabulary skills.
There new writing (grammar) section has 4 passages on academic subjects, some with graphics, where the student chooses the best way to improve a passage or correct its grammar. There are also "best word choice" questions - essentially vocabulary questions., I also have many techniques to improve student grammar.
Despite the changes in the test, diligent students who do their homework and strive to learn can post significant gains in their scores. More important, they acquire college level reading and writing skills they will need in the future.

SAT Writing

I've taught SAT writing since the test was revamped in 2005. I really enjoy teaching both the essay and grammar sections. For the essay, I have the student review 8-10 plays, books, historical events, etc and brainstorm themes. For example, Macbeth and Great Gatsby are about ambition. A thesis statement could be "Too much ambition is a corrupting force" and then the student needs 2 sentences about each work. This approach encourages abstract thinking, and gives the student confidence when walking into the exam.

Though grammar isn't taught much these days, it's essential for clear, concise communication. By going back to basics (subject verb agreement, run-on sentences, parallel construction) sometimes with games, sometimes with contests, I improve the student's ability to communicate.

Social Studies

In college, I took 10 courses in political science, and eight additional courses in history, psychology, and sociology. I have a Ph.D. in international relations/political science and have taught many courses in Middle Eastern, European, American and international politics at the college level. I have also taken courses in teaching social studies to middle school and high school students. Finally, over the last 15 years, I have tutored many students in grades 5-12 in social studies, helping them become more interested in the world around them.

SSAT

The SSAT is a test used for entrance to private schools. I have tutored a number of students for admission to area private schools, and the outcomes have frequently been positive. The test, given at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels, can be rather challenging. It resembles the old SAT in that there are penalties for guessing, analogies, quantitative comparisons, and other question types. I've developed a number of study techniques to help students master such material.

Vocabulary

I have been teaching vocabulary skills to middle school, high school, college and ESL learners since I started tutoring fifteen years ago. I have built a vocabulary database of over 10,000 words, organized by grade level, prefixes, word roots, synonyms, and sentence completion exercises. This lets me pull together exercises and share them on Quizlet. I also use image based word maps for visual learners, organized around a central concept such as happy (exuberant, ebullient, ecstatic) or harmful (noxious, detrimental, virulent)

World History

I have been fascinated by World history since I was a child and created a diorama of a medieval banquet hall, just for fun. I read biographies of Alexander the Great, Cleopatra and Charlemagne, and belonged to a History Book of the month club when I was in high school. I began collecting history and map books to deepen my knowledge. I took European AP history in high school, receiving a 5 on the exam, as well as a 760 out of 800 in the European history SAT subject exam. Last year, I tutored a student in World History AP, and he got a 4 on the exam, even though he was just a sophomore.
But passionate knowledge alone does not make a great tutor. I am also a caring, creative and well-versed in the different teaching methods needed to make history come alive. I will do almost anything to help my students reach their full potential, and most of the parents I work with appreciate my commitment.

Smith College
Political Science
Smith College Italian Studies
Master's
University Of Pennsylvania International Relations/Political Science
PhD

Education

Smith College (Political Science)

Smith College Italian Studies (Master's)

University Of Pennsylvania International Relations/Political Science (PhD)

First Lesson

My first lesson went very well. I have been trying to self teach for many years. Within the first hour of our meeting I was able to clear up some confusion I've had for many years in regards to the use of my grammar. I look forward to future lessons with Lisa.

— Mike, Norristown, PA on 10/11/16

Hourly rate

Standard Hourly Rate: $45.00

Cancellation: 24 hours notice required

SAT, AP and other test prep lessons are $50/hour, as are all college courses. Two people at the same level or grade, taking the same lessons together are charged 1.5 times the hourly rate.

Travel policy

Lisa will travel within 16 miles of Collegeville, PA 19426.