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University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA (English)
The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA (Master's)
Saint John's University (Graduate Coursework)
In and out of the classroom I strive to inspire in students an intense curiosity about the world around them: the history of all cultures and peoples, literature from every continent, and a profound respect for all religious traditions.
I also attempt to explain that learning is a lifelong endeavor that only begins in a classroom or tutoring session. In my view, it is the demanding responsibility of a lifelong learner to work diligently and thoroughly to respond intelligently and reasonably to the inevitable hard questions that life poses to us all: the why of suffering; peace and war; what is noble in the human spirit, and its opposite; what are the heights of human achievement, and what are its utter failures, and the causes of both; what is the role of the arts, of religion, of medicine, of science, and of government.
My liberal arts education is concentrated in several areas: literature (North America, Europe, Asia), writing (non-fiction prose, the form of the personal essay, poetry), and religion (world religions, Christianity, social justice). I have taught college and university courses in all of these subjects, and am very able to tutor individual students in each of these areas. In and out of the classroom I strive to inspire in students an intense curiosity about the world around them: the history of all cultures and peoples, literature from every continent, and a profound respect for all religious
We have had two sessions so far and will have two more every week until we can speak Spanish! Michael has been great! He has a great way about himself and has a plan that will get us to our goals. We were very fortunate to find Michael!
My son was very reluctant when I told him I hired a tutor for him, but after spending an hour with Michael he was agreeable to continue with the tutoring. Michael came well prepared with materials that he thought might interest my son and was prepared to discuss topics that he knew my son was interested in. He showed my son some very useful sites online to help him with his grammar. Michael communicated with me before and after the tutoring session to keep me well informed about what his plans were and how the session went.
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I have been reading North American history for more than two decades. Certainly a portion of historical study concerns dates and simple facts. Yet another very important part of studying history is to attempt to discover underlying causes of events, the reasons why "x" happened instead of "y." This means closely studying the known facts, and then attempting to learn whether or not a pattern or precedent exists for the period in question. One must "gather evidence," which requires a willingness to learn constantly, a commitment to the ongoing effort of maintaining a healthy sense of humility, and a readiness to be corrected when necessary. Areas: American Colonial History, the Westward Expansion, Native American History, and Environmental History of the U.S.
My Great Aunt Dorothy, who was a reference librarian at Northwestern University for many years, sent me--throughout my childhood--the very best books for children and adolescents. As a direct result of her foresight, I have been an avid reader and student of language for years. In college, I majored in English (N. American and European Literature) at the University of Iowa, and later returned to Iowa for a Master of Arts in Expository Writing (non-fiction prose). In various settings I have been a journalist, an editor, a speechwriter, and a college teacher of composition classes. I am delighted when I have opportunities to pass along my Great Aunt Dorothy's gifts to me.
Most recently, I taught four ESL courses this past fall (2013) at the University of Houston English Language Institute (grammar, writing, and reading). My students were from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. In addition, for a period of one year, I taught English language skills (reading, writing, speaking, and comprehension) in a private language school in Santander, Spain. Teachers were trained at the school to use the "direct method" of instruction. When I returned from Spain to graduate school in the U.S., I tutored international students in English language acquisition. When I lived in Washington, DC, I volunteered at a language school (Language, ETC) that was specifically established to help new immigrants learn English. My academic qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Iowa, and a Master of Arts in Expository Writing (non-fiction prose), also from Iowa.
I am a published, award-winning essayist and poet. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in Expository Writing (non-fiction prose) from the University of Iowa. The college and university courses I have taught include advanced composition, poetry writing, and fiction writing. I have also taught a grammar and style course to students in an Upward Bound Program at the College of Saint Benedict. In addition, I have tutored many international students in English language acquisition. One of my regular suggestions to students is that they acquire a copy of Ernest Hemingway's short stories and study these carefully: reading them silently and with a dictionary for comprehension, and aloud in the presence of a native English-speaker for immediate correction of their pronunciation. For one year I taught English language skills (reading, writing, comprehension, speaking) in a private language school in Santander, Spain.
As a published writer, I have won awards for my prose and poetry. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in English (N. American and European Literature) from the University of Iowa, and a Master of Arts in Expository Writing (non-fiction prose) also from the University of Iowa. In addition, I have studied the literature of Eastern Europe, China and Japan, and some literature of Africa and Latin America. I am quite familiar with the literary history of N. America, and I have taught literature courses at the college and university level.
I have worked as a proofreader in multiple settings which include two newspapers, an academic journal (many of the authors were international), a medical textbook (again, many of the authors were from outside the U.S.), and a university press. In addition, I have written official correspondence, speeches, and other documents for senior level administrators in academia and government. As a published, award-winning essayist and poet, the precise use of language is of paramount importance to me.
While experience has been an important "teacher" of mine, much if not most of my learning has been acquired through reading. As a child, books were my introduction to different cultures and religions, different geographies and histories. My early reading included Native American stories of the Pacific Northwest, novels about the Hungarian Plains prior to the First World War, and science-based novels. In college, I majored in English (N. American and European Literature), and I later earned a Master of Arts in Expository Writing (non-fiction prose) where I studied the form and the art of the personal essay from Montaigne to the present day. Reading has been--and will continue to be--an indispensable part of my life. Academically, I have been trained to read closely, to be able to analyze a text, and to understand the author’s intent on multiple levels.
I have completed all of the coursework for a Master of Arts in Theology from Saint John's University, and I have passed my written and oral comprehensive examinations. To obtain the degree, I am required to submit a single final paper. In addition, I have completed one year of coursework toward a Ph.D. in Religion and Religious Education at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Furthermore, I have taught religion classes for one year at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. One effective teaching method I used was the "field trip." I organized student visits to local houses of worship including The Islamic Center of Washington, DC; Washington National Cathedral; and Washington Hebrew Congregation, among others.
After studying Spanish at The University of Iowa, I spent one year in Santander, Spain teaching English in a private language school. More recently, when I lived in Washington, DC, I tutored recent Latin American immigrants in English. In Washington, DC and now in Houston, Texas I use my Spanish frequently when speaking with those whose first language is Spanish. I speak with a near-native accent and have (proudly!) been mistaken for a Latin American.
I have taught at colleges and universities, and have advised a large number of students about ways they could improve their academic performance. Quite often a student will ask for specific assistance while they are taking one of my courses, and I am always available to help. It is also my practice to recommend long-term academic strategies so that students can fully benefit from their years in school. My academic qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Iowa, and a Master of Arts in Expository Writing (non-fiction prose), also from Iowa. For a period of one year, I also taught English language skills in a private school in Santander, Spain.
I have been reading and writing in English from my earliest days. My greatest academic strengths are in the area of language and literature, and I have also studied religion and theology extensively at two graduate schools. My academic qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in Expository Writing (non-fiction prose) from the University of Iowa. For one year I taught English language skills (reading, writing, comprehension, speaking) in a private language school in Santander, Spain. Subjects in which I have a strong interest include Art, Environment, History, Literature, Music, Science, and Religion. Each of these fields has its own particular vocabulary, and I am delighted to continue my studies in these areas. As a consequence, my vocabulary in English steadily increases.
I am a published, award-winning essayist and poet. In previous settings I have written a CEO's official correspondence to heads of state and members of the U.S. Congress, edited and rewritten U.S. Congressional testimony, served as a writer for the president of Georgetown University, and researched and composed major half-hour speeches that were delivered in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and across the U.S. I have also drafted academic chair proposals, news releases, historical articles, and sports briefs for newspapers. My academic qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Iowa and a Master of Arts in Expository Writing (non-fiction prose), also from Iowa. In addition, I am very familiar with the following forms of writing: the personal essay, the poem, the editorial, the column, the interview, and the speech. And finally, I have taught advanced writing courses at the college and university level.