My four-year college degree is a Bachelor of Science in English Education from the University of South Florida, where I graduated summa cum laude, and I hold a Master's of Education in Educational Psychology from the University of Houston, where I maintained a 4.0 GPA. I meet or exceed all requirements for teacher certification in most states but do not hold the certification, since it is an expense that is not required in my work.
How much experience do you have in teaching and tutoring?
I have been a full-time tutor since March of 2006, working with students ages 4 and up. I have completed practical teaching internships in high school and middle school English classrooms, and I tutored college undergraduate students for several years while I was still in undergraduate classes.
What can you do to help my son or daughter?
If your child needs help in reading or writing, I can provide instruction and practice activities that will work directly to eliminate academic weaknesses and develop strengths. Tutoring sessions consist of direct instruction and guided practice, and depending on your child's schedule, I typically also assign independent practice for homework. This process will allow your child to catch up and stay with his or her class academically, but more importantly, your child will have less stress, more confidence, and a better attitude toward school and learning.
If your child is right on track or ahead academically, I can provide instruction and activities that will boost and fine-tune his or her talents in reading and writing. The purpose of such instruction is not just for a student to stay ahead of his or her peers, but to reach his or her potential as an excellent reader, writer, and critical thinker.
Why should I hire you to teach my kids? How are you different from other tutors?
On a personal level, families I've worked with have commented often on two particular things they appreciate. They like seeing the detailed agendas and lesson content that I leave in their kids' tutoring binders; it's reassuring for families to know that I'm executing a specific and transparent plan to help their kids improve. Also, parents have often told me that their kids actually look forward to our lessons! I take this as the highest compliment a child can give; it means I'm doing my job right by treating each student with respect and keeping the lessons lighthearted and interesting. (Please view testimonials here.)
On a professional level, I have two "specialties" that are advantageous for your children.
First, I'm particularly interested in helping students be motivated to write and be motivated to improve their writing skills. My graduate research was focused on this issue, and I rely on effective strategies to help kids (and especially teenagers) actually want to put effort into writing and to persist at it when it gets difficult. (Click here for a brief summary of these strategies.)
And second, I have a special interest in providing good vocabulary instruction. I believe that a strong and flexible vocabulary is the keystone of all other reading and writing skills. Again, I rely on effective strategies from research and practice to help your kids learn, remember, and apply the words they need to comprehend what they're reading and to express their own ideas in speech and writing. Please visit this blog post for a detailed explanation of these strategies.
Do you offer guarantees?
No, I do not offer money-back guarantees for raised grades, test scores, admission to a first-choice school, etc. Ultimately, the student is in charge of his or her own learning, and the student's attitude and effort will greatly influence his or her success. I do guarantee that I will provide high-quality, personalized tutoring.
What subjects do you tutor?
I tutor language arts from K-12 (reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary, etc.), English proficiency for adults, and preparation for verbal portions of exams (SAT, PSAT, TOEFL, etc.)
For parents who also want math instruction for their children, please know that I am proficient in math through Algebra I and Geometry and that I am happy to answer students' questions about particular concepts or homework items in math. I'm also glad to help with any difficulties with math study skills or problem-solving skills as they arise, such as strategies for memorizing multiplication facts. However, I don't hold a degree in math or math education and so I don't include math as part of any student's regular planned lessons. Students in need of regular, planned math instruction should seek an additional tutor.
Where does the tutoring take place?
For face-to-face tutoring, I come to your home. This is convenient and safe for both the parent and the student. Your child and I will need to sit side by side at a table, desk, or counter in any room with good lighting. For online tutoring, students will need a home computer with sound, Internet access, and Microsoft Office in a room with good lighting.
Will you teach both of my kids at a time?
Sorry, no. I am able to provide the highest quality of instruction when it is individualized for one student. The best part about private tutoring is that the student never has to wait idly (or do busywork) while the teacher works with someone else.
How long is a tutoring session?
Most face-to-face sessions are scheduled to be one hour in length, which is about the maximum amount of time that most children can keep up their energy and concentration. Test preparation sessions for older students are generally two hours.
What materials should my son or daughter have on hand during the tutoring session?
In most cases, face-to-face tutoring sessions only require paper and pencil, and I will provide those materials. If other items such as scissors or colored pencils are needed, I will bring them with me as well.
What will my son or daughter be doing at the tutoring session?
In our face-to-face tutoring sessions, I teach skills directly to your child and then guide him or her to practice those skills: first with me, then without me.
What if we have to cancel or reschedule the tutoring session?
Please let me know in advance if you need to cancel or reschedule a face-to-face tutoring session. If you need to cancel on the same day as the lesson, please cancel via phone or text message to ensure that the communication gets through in time.
Should I be present at my son or daughter's tutoring session?
You do not need to be present in the room, but you are welcome there if your child is comfortable with it.
With safety in mind, it is best for all of us if you remain present in your home with me and your child during your child's tutoring sessions.
How often does my son or daughter need tutoring?
Most students will benefit the most from one tutoring session per week. For students with special needs, extra tutoring sessions can be scheduled.
How long does my son or daughter need tutoring?
It depends on each student's needs. For example, a fifth grader who is having trouble with reading may have caught up to his class after a few months of tutoring and no longer need it. Or, a second grader who is still struggling with phonics may benefit from six months to a year of specialized reading and writing tutoring. Many students continue their tutoring indefinitely due to constant progress, and in fact, the online curriculum is designed to be a steady year-round supplement to students' education. It all depends on each student's special situation.
How do you communicate my son or daughter's progress to me?
For students taking face-to-face lessons, I am available to speak with parents personally at the end of each tutoring session about the progress that their child is making. Naturally, each tutoring session generates a written record of the progress made by the student, which I encourage parents to look through. My habit is to take my own notes on students' progress, but leave all of the student's work in a binder that the student keeps.
Students taking online lessons should show their work regularly to their parents to keep them informed of learning content and progress. Parents are also welcome to e-mail with me any time to stay in touch about their child's progress.
I want to meet with you before I schedule any tutoring sessions for my child. When are you free?
It's a great idea for us to meet and discuss your child's academic needs and goals before tutoring begins. Just e-mail me and we will work out a time. I can come to your home, or we can meet at a coffee shop.
How do your prices compare to other tutors' prices at commercial learning centers?
The price I charge per individual hour of face-to-face tutoring is $45. At tutoring centers, you will pay anywhere from $27.50 to $55 an hour. (Keep in mind that you must drive to a tutoring center, drop off your child, then drive back to pick him or her up; however, I will tutor right in your home or deliver lesson content conveniently online.) If you work with a large company that provides in-home tutors, expect to pay at least $50 an hour.
What is included in the price?
-One hour of individual instruction for your son or daughter. (No other students or tasks occupy my attention during your child's tutoring session.)
-All necessary learning materials, such as folders, papers, worksheets, index cards, colored pencils, et cetera.
-My time spent lesson planning and driving to and from your home.
When is the payment due?
For face-to-face lessons, payment for tutoring is due at the end of the month. Some clients choose to pay at the end of each lesson instead, which is fine. You may use a check or cash. Please note that I usually do not keep cash for change.
For online lessons, please pay when you request a lesson.
Will my child do well with online tutoring?
Students receiving online tutoring should be reasonably skilled in typing, e-mailing, working with files on the computer, and navigating the Internet. They should also be somewhat self-directed, requiring few reminders from parents to stay on task. In my view, online tutoring does not work well with students younger than ten, or with those who need guidance in handwriting, or with students who are just beginning to learn the English language.
How does payment work for online tutoring?
Payments are made by check through the mail or online by credit card through PayPal, a free service. (Please note that PayPal will charge some fees to clients outside the United States.) If neither of these options is convenient for you, please contact me to make alternate arrangements. Families are under no contracts or obligations and may pause and resume online tutoring at any time; no explanation is needed.