University of Texas at Austin (AmericanStudies--BS Journalism,LamarU)
Texas State University -- San Marcos (Graduate Coursework)
University of Texas, San Antonio (Graduate Coursework)
Since retiring after 26 years of teaching high school English and speech, I've worked several years (six total) as a part-time tutor for a couple of community colleges. I love dealing with the written word, and I love working with teenagers and college students. I will help you become better at improving your thinking and writing--and I'll almost assuredly make you laugh, at least some, while we work together. (I mean, if I can make 9th-graders laugh, I can deal with just about anybody.) I've worked with students from all over the world, from those struggling to learn English to accomplished poets and authors, from middle schoolers to grad students.
I can help with things like study skills, reading strategies, crafting and practicing for a speech--and, of course, writing. I know that writing can be a frustrating process. Part of the way past that frustration is the word "process." I can almost always help students discover some ways to make writing more approachable (among these: errors are definitely OK in a first draft, there is more than one way to state something well, you know more than you think you do, and even though I'm not one of those "blue-haired grammarians," I can help you find and reduce those errors for the final draft).
I'm easy to work with and am a good listener. I have a good sense of humor and a good understanding toward problem-solving almost any aspect of writing, from breaking down a topic to figuring out some key ideas and giving specific proof to back them up . . . to revising and editing so it makes sense to the writer and the reader. (One more thing: I'm a writer too; my novel and dozen or so short stories are mostly unpublished, but I'm working on that.)
Please contact me about scheduling a session. I love doing this kind of work. Usually one of the first things I do when we sit down is to ask you to tell me 2, 3, or maybe 4 things you're having trouble with for an assignment or project. Since retiring after 26 years of teaching high school English and speech, I've worked several years (six total) as a part-time tutor for a couple of community colleges. I love dealing with the written word, and I love working with teenagers and college students. I will help you become better at improving your thinking and writing--and I'll almost
$40 per each additional hour of a session; $40 each additional student.
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My degree at UT was in American Studies, which encompasses studying not so much events and dates, but issues and "currents" in U.S. history: their causes and effects, not only at the time these happened but also upon our lives today. If a student is studying the American revolution, for example, I want students to see what the kinds of thinking then is still active today, to see that King George III or the Salem witch trials affect our sense of independence, and our approach to being governed, today.
I've studied the Bible as something to be understood, questioned, and considered as literature, history, story, poetry--and as a moral guide (and not as something to be merely memorized by isolated verses). I was educated for 13 years at Catholic schools and have served as a lector at Mass for more than 30, an experience that has forced me to read and consider these readings deeply.
I taught HS English 26 years, mostly 9th and 11th grades, two years of "AP" or "pre-AP" as well as specific courses for students who'd failed multiple classes. I've also tutored college students a total of six years.
I've always loved maps. I would help quiz my two older brothers when they were learning states and capitals in 4th-grade. I still would rather look at a full map or atlas rather than a map on a phone or GPS because the former gives a bigger view. I also love to travel: as soon as I got out of college, I bought a Chevy van, built it up where I could "live" in it, and took two long trips through the U.S.
In my 32 years of teaching and tutoring literature, one of my strongest approaches is to emphasize that stories are a huge part of what makes us human. And this: literature is not about a bunch of "characters" or other people--instead, it's really about us. Thus, I urge any student to look for ways to put him/herself into the story. Sure, this won't work for all stories, but it's a way to deeper understanding of that story and also oneself and those around us.
I try to teach my students to improve their proofreading skills by emphasizing this habit: always always always read over and then re-read any piece of writing before sending it out or turning it in. This may not catch all errors or make it "perfect," but it eliminates most dumb mistakes that make you "look like an idiot." I have a few basic tricks for doing this reasonably well, and work with students to develop these.
I taught speech in high school for nine years and I've been a lector in Catholic masses for more than 30 years (to congregations of 1,000 or more). Plus, some of the most fun I've had in teaching HS English was to read aloud to my students some of the literature we were studying: To Kill a Mockingbird or Romeo and Juliet, the Declaration of Independence or the Gettysburg Address.
In my high school classes, I had my students do lots of writing--and re-writing: journals, essays, book reviews, and short formal pieces. All my tests had essays and short answers in addition to objective questions. And I shared my own writing with them, ugly rough drafts with scratch-outs, deletions, and additions in the margins, always with the goal of working through a draft to make it better (not necessarily "perfect"). I continually emphasize that good writing comes in a process of steps, but not the same set of steps or same order for everyone. What works for one doesn't for everybody. I often allow my tutees time to work 10-15 minutes on their own and then discuss with me what is working and what isn't.