I always strive to reinforce the unique qualities in each student. Over the years, I've found that a number of academic problems stem from poor technical skills: an inability to grasp core themes, develop ideas, take and/or utilize notes or adequately comprehend tedious prose. A sharp awareness of individual student needs or challenges and effective approaches comes through experience. I've had my own highly successful tutoring service for the past 10+ years, personally assisting 350+ student... [more]
A great deal of my private tutoring of the past fifteen years has involved "efficiency techniques" (what I call "survival skills"). I preach "balance"----an ability to effectively prep for tests, extended essays or projects, while retaining a bit of "me time" (I call it "sanity time"). My first or second lesson with most students encompasses a "long-term memory" system, which utilizes a series of cards in a revolving pattern (albeit a more enjoyable approach). Additionally, I utilize many "proactive" systems of production, which bypass frequent student delays of "considering" (more often daydreaming). At Seattle University, I was invited to other classes, as a "guest lecturer," to convey my unique card system method, and other organizational essay "technique tricks."
Over the past fifteen years of private tutoring, I've worked on 5+ university applications per year. So much of the process is searching through a student's relative fog of "what I want to major in" or "who I want to be." Aside from planning and editing personal statement essays, a quarter of the time may be spent assessing aptitudes and what I refer to as "resonances." I've utilized Myers Briggs tests and even the What Color is My Parachute workbooks, in order to help steer students in the right direction, and most importantly, avoid having them switch majors mid-stream, thereby tacking on a year or two to a degree. I've become very proficient as a university counselor.
Public speaking or speech classes were included within my American and English Literature degree. In addition, my International Relations degree focused on "Peace and Conflict Studies," which boiled down to actual speech protocol within State Department and White House venues (our professor was a former assistant to the US Secretary of State). Over the past fifteen years of private tutoring, I've worked with dozens of students in speech classes, creating and refining the actual written prose and tailoring the presentation and overall credibility of the public presentation (along with methods for holding the interest/eye contact of the audience). I've also worked on numerous school government speeches with students. My own work in front of classrooms at Seattle University and Lake Washington Technical College has furthered my ability to effectively convey useful speech techniques.
As you're aware, middle school social studies is an introductory overview towards more specialized high school and university courses. My Master's degree is in International Relations. My Master's thesis was "Central European Security and International Peace." I've been privately tutoring social studies, American and World history, Government, Political Science, Geography, Physical Science, etc., per individual student needs, for fifteen years. I am also a freelance writer, and have researched and written about "social studies related issues" (naturally, at a much higher level).
My Bachelor's degree is in American and English Literature. Our course load wholly encompassed the "classics." Our American analysis spanned 350 years, through the colonial writings of Bradstreet, to Cooper's Pathfinder, to Franklin's Autobiography, to Emerson's Self Reliance, to Poe's Raven, to Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby, to Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls, to Faulkner's Sound and Fury. Our English analysis encompassed about 650 years, through Milton's Paradise Lost, to Shakespeare's Macbeth++, to Wordsworth's, Tennyson's, Browning's and Arnold's poems, to Bronte's Jane Eyre, to Wilde's Importance of Being Ernest, to Kipling's Kim, to Conrad's Typhoon, etc. My Master's degree is in International Relations. Our course load included Tocqueville's Democracy in America and Ikle's How Nations Negotiate, among many others. My lower division courses included classics in Psychology (Freud, Jung) and Philosophy (Plato, Spinoza, Voltaire, Spencer, Nietzsche, etc). In fifteen years of tutoring, I've read/worked on many contemporary classics in history and literature: Animal Farm, Catcher in the Rye, Ender's Game, etc. My private reading encompasses classics in Architecture, History, Sociology, Psychology, Philosophy, Economics and naturally, fiction and non-fiction. Also, I recommend and lend "teen classics" to students, from my extensive library.