Philosophy of Education
I am adamant in the belief that excellent reading and writing skills make all the difference in students' lives, well beyond high school and college graduation. My teaching style is centered on that belief. Regardless of a particular student's short-term goals for tutoring, I aim to help each student become an accurate, fast reader and a fluent, expert writer.
I sympathize with kids (and adults!) in that writing is hard, that every English teacher has a different set of expectations for writing assignments, and that for most of us, writing causes anxiety. In our lessons, we combat those anxious feelings by replacing them with skills that foster confidence. Because I teach students one-on-one, we always work at an appropriate pace, building skills one step at a time, always with the understanding that in our lessons, failure is impossible and every error is a chance to learn.
I also sympathize with parents in that kids aren't getting enough writing instruction at school: when teachers are pressed for time, writing practice becomes infrequent, and when classes have twenty or thirty kids, each gets only brief remarks on her papers--remarks that do little more than find errors. These instructional gaps are filled by our lessons. Students work with me to write regularly; the luxury of our one-on-one time allows me to respond in detail to their work, finding and celebrating what they've written that's effective; helping them change and develop what's not so effective; fixing any mistakes, helping them understand what went wrong, and teaching them how to do it right; pointing out the next logical step in making each piece even more mature and compelling; and helping them take that step. It's a process that builds students' skills, confidence, and pride in their writing. I love it.
At the heart of both reading and writing skills is a strong and flexible vocabulary. I help students learn the words they need to become better readers and more graceful, confident speakers and writers. I believe that learning words is a lifelong and worthy pursuit, and through our lessons, students also learn how to continue on their own to find and learn words worth knowing. To explore in detail how I help students retain and apply vocabulary, please visit this blog post, and to sign up for the daily vocabulary lessons that I share via email, please head here.
Tutoring Style & Methods
Sometimes, your child might ask to spend part or all of our lesson hour on schoolwork--to resolve confusion, to understand missed questions from a quiz, to look over essays and papers to be submitted, etc. That's okay! I'm happy to help, and as soon as we can, we'll jump back into our own planned lesson activities.
When your child and I work on writing skills, I rely on two major methods of teaching.
One: We're always making repairs and upgrades to your child's writing. We focus on the errors he's making, we repair them, and we help him learn how to avoid those errors. And then we go so much further. We're constantly upgrading his writing skills, bringing in the features, techniques, and principles that improve his writing's substance, structure, and style.
Two: I teach new writing skills to your child in a straightforward, step-by-step way. We often follow this pattern: "First, watch me do this. Next, let's do this together. Finally, you try this alone." This way, we work at your child's pace, making sure she masters each skill and executes it with confidence on her own.
Overall, my attitude is this: I'm on your child's side, and when we work together, there is no possibility of failure.