I have a varied career background that includes 4 years as a public school teacher and 20 years in education related work as an attorney, education reform specialist, and as a researcher. I enjoy working directly with students and tailoring the sessions to the student's individual needs and learning style. I've also published 30 short stories and am currently working on a book.... [more]
I taught US History at both the high school and middle school level in public schools and have a bachelor's degree in history and a masters in education from Stanford with a social studies emphasis. In addition, I'm an attorney and have a strong background in constitutional history. I use a variety of resources, visual, musical, and personal to help students understand American history as something that impacts their lives on a daily basis. I also use primary sources from ordinary people like letters, journals, and account books to help convey the impact of events on ordinary people.
I specialize in helping writing students develop and strengthen their 'voice' as the key to wirting with clarity and precision. I've published dozens of fiction and non-fiction stories over the years and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three times. In addition to teaching language arts, I've written and edited for both George Lucas and the U.S. Department of education. I also have a masters in education from Stanford.
I worked as an ESL consultant helping schools assess their limited English speaking students, but more significantly I grew up in California in a community of immigrants from China. Over the years, I noticed that there were a number of members of that community who were very successful despite the fact that that their English skills were still developing. It was my first lesson in the fact that being an effective communicator isn't always about the words or fluency with words. We communicate with more than the words we speak. It's how we say them and when that makes the deeper impression. As an ESL teacher, I emphasize both the rules of English and the rules of communicating well in American culture.
Government & Politics
I have a Masters in Education from the Stanford School of Education's STEP program with a single subject specialty in social studies. I am currently teaching Civics at a small private school in Durham. I have a credential from the state of California to teach social studies at the secondary level and I also am a member of the California Bar. I have a flexible approach to tutoring the subject. Sometimes, the student needs to improve his/her knowledge base about geography, the history of different regions or eras, the Constitution, etc. In that case, we review key facts, make connections/analogies, and develop a narrative about the topic. More frequently, the student needs help with writing essays or papers. In those instances, we work on learning to support conclusions with evidence, writing clearly, and being persuasive.