My name is Phoebe, and my work is my lifeblood. I have been a full-time, self-employed English professional for the past 5.5 years and have several additional years of teaching, editing, and tutoring experience. I am the only Wyzant English tutor, editor, college application essay guru, and writing coach with more than 6,000 hours of Wyzant experience specific to my field; I am also the only Wyzant English professional with 2,000+ 5-star ratings, and I have a total of 60 glowing Wyzant testim... [more]
What can I possibly say about a part of me that is so deeply-rooted and profound? I adore grammar and correcting it, but I am no proverbial 'grammar Nazi.' I feel like that term gets tossed around way too much with something similar to flagrant disregard. I am a grammar purist in that I respect the most basic and oft-overlooked idea behind grammar--that communication should be effective and precise, and without correct grammar, we present half-baked and sometimes incorrect, unpolished ideas to the world we are trying so desperately to engage with. I am fortunate enough to have grammar be such an intrinsic part of me that I immediately know how to correct any and all sentences, and I attribute this in part to endless reading during my youth. I am currently developing a grammar system for my students that makes grammar real and approachable instead of something archaic learned through overwrought rules that not only confuse, but leave much humanity to be desired. If you need to know anything more about my qualifications, I believe my reviews for and subject descriptions regarding my editing work speak for themselves. One of my favorite t-shirts says "Let's eat grandma" and then "Let's eat, grandma! Punctuation saves lives." Enough said. :)
Reading comprehension is an absolutely crucial yet oft-neglected skill. It is far from being just educationally influential. Instead, it is an enormous influence in life at large. Everything required to become an aware, informed, innovative thinker can be developed with proper reading skills. It is this fact that makes me so passionate about developing my students' reading skills.
I am an extremely effective writing coach, providing fantastic encouragement, structure, and support. I regularly guide my students in the process of writing their own perfect papers until they have mastered the process. I will say this: there is truly NOTHING in the world like the feeling of gratification, happiness, and excitement I get when I, time and time again, pinpoint what needs to be done with an essay and help my student make it happen. Nothing in the world. Teaching writing skills and coaching my students in the writing process is truly my calling, and it brings me great fulfillment; because of this, I am sustained and highly effective in my work with all writing students, regardless of age and circumstance. I have edited and/or assisted with every kind of writing there is, whether academic or creative.
Because "English" is an exceedingly vague subject term that encompasses all the work I do, I highly recommend that you read my main profile. I am a Smith College alumna with a degree in English and an English high school teaching license. As a self-employed, full-time English professional on Wyzant for the past 4.5 years, I have extensive experience teaching and guiding children, adolescents, and adults in a great variety of settings. Everything the subject of English involves is a true, profound passion of mine.
The realm of literature and all it contains is my forte and great joy. I teach people to analyze, appreciate, write--and revel in our shared humanity. Language arts, English, literature--whatever you want to call it--is all a study of the human condition itself, and nothing is more powerful than that.
Editing is one of my favorite things to do, and I am extremely proficient at furthering any student's writing. I consider myself to be the best editor I have ever encountered, and I have encountered many. I am extremely quick, efficient, and insightful, and I always have direct and beneficial feedback. Editing is a form of magic to me, and I wield many wands.
I continually expose myself to lesser-known aspects of the test--an effort that requires continuous personal research and discussion with colleagues in an effort to stay ahead of the curve and give my students creative, to-the-point ways to approach the test (and, furthermore, any intimidating standardized test). This aside, I encourage my students to think critically about the test and yet to not overthink what the test requires of them. Toeing this line is difficult but rewarding. Luckily, the SAT is quite repetitive in what it tests, and after students become familiar with the right way to approach problems, they begin to see and understand these patterns.
The new SAT essay is very similar, foundationally, to the rhetorical analysis essay in the AP Language and Composition exam. As I am well-versed in rhetorical constructs and fully appreciate their relevance to informed thinking, the SAT essay is a joy to teach.
I have many years of experience with ACT tutoring, many fantastic testimonials not on my current profile, and the ability to speak with potential students at length about my experience. Reading comprehension is a crucial component of my ACT Reading tutoring and is addressed using a variety of means. Overall, I develop highly structured, efficient, creative, to-the-point ways to approach this section of the test. I also encourage my students to think critically about the test, offering suggestions for ways they can use their unique strengths. After students become familiar with the right way to approach problems in this section, they begin to see and understand these patterns.
I use a very no-nonsense approach to preparing for the ACT, utilizing tips and tricks that are not usually taught about the test. I try to keep sessions regarding standardized testing lively and make them as fun and digestible as possible, as I understand any test prep can be difficult and stressful. Studying for any standardized test is a team effort between the teacher and student, so I ensure that expectations and communication are entirely clear. Session time is not wasted doing practice questions; instead, it is used as an opportunity to analytically examine difficulties and deliberately undertake efforts that facilitate comprehension and improvement.
I work exceedingly well with younger students, able to bond with them instantaneously given their natural curiosity, passion, energy, and abundance of love for life and learning. This enables me to teach them in a way most teachers cannot. I have worked with hundreds of elementary school students during my time as a teacher, and each one has developed both quantifiable and inexpressible skills. I am very proud of my ability to leave an indelible mark as I further children's love of life and learning.
I routinely help all my students with their study skills, so it simply makes sense that I be certified. I stress organization and time management and consider myself adept at instilling these both in children and teenagers alike. I believe that time management and prioritization skills are among the most important things an individual can develop for him or herself, and I stress their importance to students in many ways--including, but by no means limited to, self-efficacy, independent work, structured lessons, and neverending encouragement--and expectations.
I have performed in various theatrical circuits as an actor, but my most valuable theatrical experience came in the form of a theatre collaborative, whereby each member of the group led everyone in theatrical activities and theory. It ensured I have the ability to theatrically teach and inspire. I have also completed a Shakespearean teaching internship, so I am particularly skilled at making Shakespeare something accessible to younger students.
Though not often seen this way, approaching a language from 'the outside' can manifest itself as a unique advantage. It allows for a certain objectivity and perspective not present for native speakers and can almost always be used to facilitate the improvement of the student. I have worked with several private ESL students over the years and have also taught 45+ students at Reading Town, a local ESL academy. Indeed, reading activities are one of the best ways to engage students in the process of language acquisition, and I believe in genuine, interesting learning experiences. One of my most memorable ESL teaching experiences came in the form of a 4th grade international student. She advanced hugely under my tutelage and became much more confident in her usage of language and overall presentation of self.
I have played violin for 16 years. I most recently have been the fiddle player for an established punk rock band, and I have loads of performance experience in a variety of venues; I have been in countless orchestras, chamber groups, quartets, bands, and rock/cover music groups of various genres. I have played internationally as well as in many places on the east coast. I have been a violin teacher at Yamaha Music the past year as well. I have had at least 15 private violin and viola students over the past 2 years and in different states. I have worked with children of all ages and with adults at a variety of different levels--some are just beginning to learn and some are proficient. I most enjoy working with the beginners because I introduce them to my system of learning violin and give them the encouragement (and high energy) needed to stick it out through the frustration of beginning to learn any difficult instrument! I have very high expectations for my students, and practice is one of their cornerstones. My goal with my violin teaching is to always inspire and teach others to feel the profound joy in and of music.
I am a marvelously competent cover letter editor. Successful cover letters are very similar to effective essays and effective college essays, and I do EXTREMELY successful cover letter coaching and editing because of this fact. I have edited resumes for many clients and am able to transform a relatively dull resume into something with great potential to help someone get hired. I am adept at (aesthetically!) organizing information, emphasizing an individual's strengths, and altering the language of a resume to make it more assertive, varied, and precise. I'm also fantastic at helping prepare for job interviews! Talking points, personal anecdotes, prioritizing information concisely, confidence pointers, motivation, drilling--you name it and I'll drastically improve your shot at that job!
College/Grad School Application Essays: These essays are NOT like ANY kind of writing students usually do in school, and most of the time students are going about their college essays the wrong way. I am extremely skilled at not only helping a student create the kind of essay colleges are looking for, but also doing it in such a way as to draw out the student's unique voice, which is really what schools are hoping to see. I'm very different from a typical college counselor who may know what colleges are looking for in an admissions essay. First of all, since working with students on essays--as well as editing--is my full-time profession, I have many writing-specific skills at my disposal that counselors do not. Secondly, as a writer with a rich literary background myself, I can help a student create not only an emotionally impacting, true-to-self piece of art, but also one that incorporates quite impressive, elevated metaphorical content. Thirdly, I endlessly impress myself with my own editing skills; I am very adept at blending snippets of a story into a delicious, resonant work of art. Lastly, I am extremely skilled at connecting with my students, and because of our amazing rapport, they share things they would rarely share with college counselors. These topics are often the most important topics to write essays about. I can't count the number of times my students will tell me that their college counselors did not listen to them or even try to get to know them. My students are so comfortable with me that we both discover worlds of information, making our essays rich, vibrant, and totally genuine. I have an almost unreal level of success assisting students with college essays that accomplish a very difficult task in the application process. I am also adept at simplifying the SAT and ACT and ensuring success with college applications. Please see my testimonials for much more on this topic. General College Counseling: I am the former president of the Smith College Club of Orange County, so I have conducted multiple interviews for prospective students and generally have a very good understanding of how the admissions and selection process works. College Interview Preparation: I have conducted several interviews for prospective students as the president of the Smith Club, so I very literally know what interviewers are looking for!
I was the English teacher and homeschool principal (dealing with administrative matters and management of 3-4 tutors) for 2 homeschooled high school students for 2.5 years. In this time, I learned much about the legal aspects of homeschooling and how best to homeschool. This involved becoming well-versed in the idea of unschooling and gaining a lot of perspective about the nature of education itself.