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  I used to teach engineers how to write. I loved it, but it was challenge; engineers are infamous for arguing a point into the ground. Whenever I taught them Plain Language and urged them to use it, the hair would bristle on the backs of their necks. Generally, the course of events to follow went something like this. They say: • Using Plain Language would be writing down to their readers • Making their writing understandable wasn’t necessary, because their audiences already understood the subject matter • Writing technical documents has always been done this way • This wasn’t the way they were taught to write After which, I stand in front of them. I look at them. I finally speak. I say, “Your teachers were wrong.” And, just short of rending of garments and gnashing of teeth, all hell breaks loose. (Did I mention that engineers love to argue?) Nevertheless, I continue. “It’s all because of a bunch of ancient Roman rhetoricians... read more

My emerging tutoring passion is assisting ESL college students with their coursework. Most of them must also hold full-time jobs to support themselves and often their families as well. Many require online courses to get college educations. They could not earn a college degree any other way. Do textbook publishing companies realize how much cultural bias is written into their online ancillary (supplemental) materials? Do teachers of online college courses realize how hopeless these students feel about merely passing a class when their grades depend on online multiple-choice exams consisting of 60 items to be completed in 60 minutes (60 in 60), for example? This may be a subtle form of cultural bias, but bias it is. Frankly, as a native speaker of American English with a master’s degree in journalism from University of Wisconsin—Madison, I’m not sure I could pass a 60 in 60 exam. I would like to challenge the instructors who teach these online courses and college administrators... read more

Hello Miss Gil, I received a 96% in Global History. I was so excited to hear these words from my student! At first she did not want to be tutored. Her father dropped her off at the Library. So I told her that if she did the practice test, and did well, she would never have to see me again. Well, she scored a 58%, and there were so many events and topics that she did not know. We scheduled 3 additional three hour sessions. By the last session, her essays had improved and her overall score was an 83%. I told her that I believe that she can score as much as a 95% on the Regents Exam. She laughed and said "Yeah right". Well she scored a 96% and I am very proud of her.

Former High School Teacher. I taught for 28 years. I love teaching. I am very patient with my students. I look for ways to make students understand the concepts. Everybody can learn. You just have to find the way to help a person learn. When my students thank me when they pass a test, I tell them, do not thank me, thank yourselves. Students do the work, I just guide them.

I find that sometimes students have problems remembering why World War I started.  In addition to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand - here is a way to think about the remaining reasons:   M A I N   M= militarism - the countries were building up their defenses which caused competition in that area   A= alliances - countries were making alliances (agreements between friends) to come to each other's aid if they were challenged by another country   I = imperialism - countries need consumers and natural resources to boost their production and economy.  Great Britain, France, and Spain had moved into large areas in Africa - Germany was jealous and could only gain limited expansion   N = nationalism - pride in one's country can be a good thing - but it also can become a bad thing which allows its citizens to be blinded to the state of their country and follow and believe in their country no matter what   Hope...

We did it!  With hard work, determination, my high school students passed their regents exams.  I tutored US and Global History, Living Environment, Earth Science, Algebra Core, Algebra 2/Trigonometry, Geometry and Chemistry and the students passed.  One student passed with a 70%, another 75%, 76% and another 79%.  All the other students scored 80% and up.    I am so proud of my students.  Well done students and parents, we did it!

In elementary school, mathematics is often taught as a set of rules for counting and computation. Students learn that there is only one right answer and that the teacher knows it. There is no room for judgment or making assumptions. Students are taught that Arithmetic is the way it is because it's the truth, plain and simple. Often students go on to become trapped in this view of the universe. As fairy tales fade from the imagination, so is mathematical creativity lost. There is evidence that Mathematics and Arithmetic existed over 3000 years ago, but only the very well educated leisure class had access to it. The rules for simple computation only were developed recently, so much of the computation of sums and products was much more complicated. Imagine adding and multiplying Roman Numerals for example. Because of this difficulty, computations were laid out only to solve very specific practical problems. Although mathematics was mainly limited to solving practical... read more

IF I could go back in time and give my younger self some advice on how to be a better student, be more successful in school, life, etc, I would definitely tell myself that being involved in everything comes at a cost. It is better to find a few things that you like to do, do them well and often, than feeling stressed because there is so much on your plate at one time. Being a 'Jack of all Trades' it is natural for me to dip my toes in different waters- all at the same time, but that does not mean that I can give 100% to any of them at that time. While I was able to get good grades (A- average) while in school, I was impressed by how much better I did- and felt about my work- the few times that I scaled back on my activities. Another piece of advice that I wish that I could bestow upon my younger self would be to learn how to speak up in a group setting when someone is not fulfilling their part of an agreement. Now, this said, the best way to do this would be in a tactful manner-... read more

• Explain why European exploration led to cultural clashes and interchange between the Europeans and the native peoples of the areas they conquered. • Relate the events stemming from the Renaissance to the Age of Discovery. • Analyze the impact that took place in Africa and the Americas due to slave trade. • Explain the reasons why Europe was invested in South and Southeast Asia, and the impact of its involvement. • Recognize the ways in which the Columbian Exchange advanced Europe's position in the global community, while decreasing the power of other nations.

As you know, all teachers (and tutors!) were once students. So they know all the pitfalls that can cause a student to not get their homework done. The reason can be social - maybe the student wants to get his or her work done but the distraction of all the social media is too much to resist. The reason can also be academic - maybe the subject is difficult, such as challenging concepts or perhaps they're faced with an assignment that didn't get explained well enough to be done independently. Or sometimes it's the dreaded PROCRASTINATION. That can be the worst of all reasons to not get work done because the longer you procrastinate, the more the work piles up and then the student becomes "paralyzed", overwhelmed by the mountain of work that has accumulated. When procrastination has gotten the better of you, the important thing is to not let yourself be so overwhelmed that you don't do the work at all. Here's what you do: PRIORITIZE AND GET STARTED! It is a simple phrase... read more

On June 2, 1989, my life changed forever. A brand new world was brought to my attention. I moved into the main land of the United States. I am Puerto Rican, meaning natural born American, but was raised on the island of Puerto Rico. Don't get me wrong, I have always been more fourtunate than most people with my condition. You see, I have a condition called Spina Bifida. I guess it would make more sense if I explain myself. Normally, during the first month of a pregnancy, the two sides of the spine (or backbone) join together to cover the spinal cord, spinal nerves and meninges (the tissues covering the spinal cord). Spina bifida refers to any birth defect involving incomplete closure of the spine. Myelomeningocele is the most common type of Spina Bifida. It is a neural tube defect in which the bones of the spine do not completely form, resulting in an incomplete spinal canal. This causes the spinal cord and meninges (the tissues covering the spinal cord) to stick out of the... read more

Many of my students have told me that Social Studies or History is their worst subject. When I ask why, they say they “just don’t get it”. I usually find out that they have a hard time connecting the dots. For example, they learn about the American Revolution but don’t understand how it connects to King George III and the Declaration of Independence. This article gives parents, tutors, and teachers some hints and tips for helping students connect the people, places, and events of history to improve their comprehension. 1. Use historical thinking skills. The National Center for History in the Schools (NCHS) is a UCLA - based organization dedicated to collaborating with schools and teachers to provide “engaging and exciting explorations of U.S. and World history.” (From the NCHS mission statement; use this link to visit their website: http://www.nchs.ucla.edu/.) One powerful tool they created is their list of five historical thinking skills teachers, parents, and tutors can use to... read more

Q. Where will we meet for tutoring? A. We will try to find a suitable place that is convenient for both of us. Though I do travel to meet you, time and distance are important factors in making this work feasible and profitable for me, so I try to find locations that minimize my travel time, while also providing convenience to you. Q. How will we decide on a time to meet? A. We will try to find a suitable time that is convenient for both of us. Q. When are you available to tutor? A. It varies from week to week, but my general availability begins at 10:00 a.m., Monday through Saturday, and ends at 9:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and at 3:00 pm Saturday. Please contact me for my current availability. Q. How long will each session be? A. The session length can vary, depending on the subject, the student, and the schedule. Unless otherwise agreed, the session times will be two (2) hours each. Q. Why do you recommend two (2) hours per session? A. Through... read more

As an educator, I strive to further the development and understanding of students. As such, when first getting to know a student, I give a quick summary quiz to better inform me of the student's understanding of the subject. This is followed by a general overview of the subject and then detailed study of the areas in need. Each student is unique and the process will vary in the time it takes for the student to fully understand.

Accessibility is a very important element to ones success and this especially applies to teachers.  Following a lesson, students and parents may come up with questions not though of during the lesson and those questions could mean the difference between understanding and NOT understanding.  For that, it's imperative that teachers be available to the students and parents. 

One of my guitar students majored in Drama in college.  As I progress with her lessons, it is increasingly apparent that many approaches to playing music have a lot to do with what she knows as an actor.  One example would be that, much like how any script contains lines more expressive or, arguably, more representative of the plot's importance, musical compositions beg that certain notes, phrases, or harmonic motion be brought to the fore.  Much of the responsibility of both the actor and musician, then, is to study how lines and music may contain human emotion.  Not only that; the artist must make an evaluation of how the work means to create a sense of discourse and then, of course, adhere to those rhetorical conclusions.  I would be happy to discuss this and many other ideas over email and, hopefully, in private lessons.  Thanks!

As a literature teacher, my favorite activity ever (bonus that it's educational) is reading in a setting that lends itself well to the book you are reading. In the case of literature, the possibilities are only limited to what's available. One of my favorite memories from last summer was reading Dracula on a back lit Kindle at twilight in my front yard, while bats swooped around above me and the moon rose. Some other fantastic matches?              1. Secret Garden in a botanical garden, or sitting in the middle of your own garden at home or a friend's              2. Paradise Lost in the same setting, but maybe around eight or nine o'clock, in that last hour of readable light, when the light starts to fade and shadows grow longer and take over the landscape              3. Inferno (by Dante... read more

The past few years have allowed me the privilege of working with many talented students who are on a great trajectory for college through AP courses in high school. Simultaneously, I have tutored students who ended up in AP courses and were not adequately prepped and prepared for what would be expected of them during the school year. AP courses are to be enjoyed and valued as any college course. In the first instance above, my tutoring was helping students develop quality arguments surrounding history issues, exploring literary styles and analyzing the author's work and developing concise answers to biology explorations. In the second case, I actually had to help students learn to study (the 'extra' work which is not assigned homework) and develop writing which demonstrated collegiate level thinking. In order for more students  to excel in AP coursework as well as enjoying the class  during the academic year, they need to be prepared for the work load. This preparation... read more

Here are some of my favorite History resources. Check back again soon, this list is always growing! I also recommend school textbooks, your local library, and used bookstores.   (K-12) TeachingHistory.org – A resource designed for teachers to help create history lesson plans, this website is filled with other relevant links to help you research your specific topic. (K-8) SmithsonianEducation.org/students – Content covers art, history, science, and people/places. (Gr. 9-12) USHistory.org – Provides free online textbooks and information on the US Flag, Betsy Ross, and other historical sites in the U.S. (Gr. 9-12) Historyorb.com – Provides great information for all high school history classes, including a “This Day in History,” feature

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