Knowledge has always, even before I entered formal education, been magical and transforming for me. Whether it be learning to piece together the hints of childhood personality in the lyrics of the Dr. Seuss Sleep Book with its beautifully surreal images before I entered kindergarten, discovering how to make my own radio and plunging into the history of the French and English conflicts over North America before the US Revolution in the fifth grade, studying and handling elemental substances i... [more]
To be concise (please don't mistake this as boasting) I loved books before I could read them, and began to read simple things before entering Kindergarten. Since then, not only has my GPA been strong through both my bachelor's and my master's degrees, but I always "blown the top off" any standardized reading test I have ever taken, from the Iowa Basics in grade school to the GRE, which I took to earn my way into my masters program. My love of reading, already mentioned, is perhaps equally important, as reading and seeing people develop new reading skills are both very fulfilling for me.
My qualifications for tutoring in writing are strong and extremely varied in scope. I have helped get a number of my high school students into Denison Universities, nationally-competitive summer program, The Reynold's Writers Workshop *on full scholarship,* though these student, while obviously talented, were not from privilege backgrounds or elite schools. I have seen poetry, novels and advertising copy into print, and my finest accomplishment, I think, was being one small part of the team that wrote, edited and assembled the multi-volume, multi-national scholarly work, Nuova Raccolta Colombiana. I am quite sure I can help you whatever your needs, as long as the writing is in English.
The shortest way to say this (I am sorry if it sounds prideful; please forgive me) is that I am also a National Merit Scholarship winner, hold an M.A. in English, and have taught the subject at both the university and high school levels since 1991. I feel confident that I can help. Thanks!
During my university teaching, I taught students for almost every language background in the world, including one Hmong tribesman. The high school where I taught was also (for a school of that level) unusually linguistically diverse: we had more than 60 languages represented in the student body. This experience, combined with the education you will find in my profile, offers assurance that working with ESL students is something I do well.
Government & Politics
I scored a 710 on my first and only try English on the old version of the SAT, which, according to the conversion table formulated for the current "re-normed" test by Princeton, the NIH and the NIS, corresponds to an 800 on the current tests. Coupled with my teaching and course work, I believe it is clear that I have mastery of this area.
Ah, the SAT. The short version: a combination of my PSAT scores and my SAT scores earned me a National Merit Scholarship. The longer version, involving the fact that the SAT has been "renormed" twice (once just very recently) is that my score on the test was extremely high. On the version of the test used from its inception until the early 90s, my composite was a 1430 out of a possible 1600--well into the high ninety percentiles. When the SAT was first "renormed," universities (Princeton led the charge) and other respected intellectual institution, such as the National Endowment for the Humanities, quickly noticed and produced a conversion table so college admittance folks new how to translate the scores on one version to the other. This table and the study leading to it are easily available with a little searching on line My 1430 on the old scale translated to a 1560 out of 1600 on the new scale. I know this test.
On the "old school" ACT, on which the overall score attainable was about a 34, not the current 36, I attained a 32 on my first (and only) try, which led to scholarships and admissions to honors programs. I feel quite comfortable tutoring for this test. The English and reading sections were my highest scores. I also earned a National Merit Scholarship for a similar performance on the PSAT / SAT.
On the "old school" ACT, on which the overall score attainable was about a 34, not the current 36, I attained a 32 on my first (and only) try, which led to scholarships and admissions to honors programs. I feel quite comfortable tutoring for this test.
Counseling students on careers and the educational paths to a them is traditional, even if not necessarily required, of faculty both in secondary education and higher education. In high schools, this has actually become more common, as guidance counselors' time is progressively devoured by the administration of standardized tense. Having studied, formally and informally, a wide variety of subjects at multiple levels, and having worked in fields other than teaching (fundraising, professional editing, restaurant management, the arts) I am, first of all, aware of some jobs (illustrator of technical manuals, for instance) that draw on a wide spectrum of skills and interests, but which many students simply do not know exist. On the other hand, I can also handle more nuanced cases, like a recent student of mine. She knew she wanted to be a nurse, and had narrowed her choices down to two of the many schools that had accepted her. Her issue was choosing between the programs, balancing her needs and interests, including those outside nursing. In situations like this, I find the Socratic, "question-and-follow-up method" to be best. It certainly worked in this student's case. She decided on a school that was focused more narrowly on nursing, more expensive per year but and shorter in duration, due to the fact that we determined here strong interests in the Humanities and Creative Writing could be pursued independently, given her already-demonstrated success and self-motivation in these areas. She is currently flourishing. It was a very fulfilling series of conversations for both of us. I am just as capable of carrying out such functions regarding the selection of graduate programs (something I had to do for myself, as well as others), which are so focused and so incredibly varied from institution to institution that a even a simple example will not fit within this format.
It is very simple: course work and teaching on early cultures, whether the Celts, the Hindus Valley Civilization, the Maya, or the early Chinese dynasties requires anthropological data and reasoning. The key is to connect through comparing and contrasting the material with something the students are likely to know: mother and father roles in the culture / religion of the Hindus Valley versus our own (including in our mass media--Family Guy, The Simpsons), sports (the Mayans used a sport as a religious ritual and "awarded" the winning team with a very particular honor: being sacrificed), and human depictions of horror: tales set in the Celtic underworld with talking, feeling "dead" juxtaposed against a plethora of contemporary films and novels dealing with the living dead, the "humanization" of standard modern monsters, and the post-apocalyptic.
For the various subject areas of the Praxis II, the most efficient way to convey my expertise is to ask you to look at my interdisciplinary undergraduate degree, the fact that I scored flawlessly on the English subject exam of Praxis, and the fact that I have been asked to design and teach interdisciplinary classes for the Comparative Studies Department of Ohio State University, including, but not limited to: Love and World Lit., War and Society, and Literature and Social Class and Religion and Literature. These courses involved a mixture of disciplines: English, History, Psychology, Film and Religion. My War and Society (Comp Studies 308) class actually came to have such a good reputation that it drew active-duty military officers sent by the Pentagon to get their advanced degrees at Ohio State, though the course, being a junior level class, did not count toward the credits required for their degrees. Basically, I would be comfortable in tutoring for subject tests in any Humanities subject, English or Social Studies. As far a the "Teaching and Learning" section of the Praxis II is concerned, I also scored well and have a background especially conducive to tutoring for the test. Fortunately, much of the material on this test involves material drawn from accomplished psychologists, such as Bloom, Erikson, Maslow and Piaget. The unfortunate thing for students is that in their Ed. psychology and pedagogy classes, such great thinkers receive only a superficial treatment due to time constraints. I have I had both more instruct on these thinkers and have taught many classes incorporating them. My qualifications for Praxis III are simple to state and can be shown to any interested parties. I was evaluated at a high-poverty level high school, but when observed by a Praxis judge with decades of experience teaching gifted and talented, I received what can only be called a glowing review. I know what the examiners are looking for, and how to tutor people in teaching in the approved manner.
My studies and teaching in philosophy (Socrates/Plato, Aristotle, the Pre-Socratics), history and historiography (the Peloponnesian War, the rise and fall of the Roman Empire), and religion / philosophy (Buddhism and Hinduism, the Vedas and the Bhagavad-Gita), and medieval and renaissance literature (which looks back to Horace, Augustine, Dante, Cicero, Homer, and Ovid, among others), require knowledge of the classics. One general strategy I use is a case study / comparison and contrast approach. For example, Augustine wrote a good deal (still cited during policy discussions by experts , including those with power in various administrations) about what makes a war just or unjust. It fascinating for many students, and myself, to read contemporary reports from various fronts on the War on Terror side by side with Augustine. Many of these young people will be / are in a position in which the question whether to join such an endeavor is a very real one.