An Overview

Because of large class sizes, it is extremely difficult for teachers to work one-on-one with students and to individualize instruction. I know; I taught in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro public schools for thirty-four years.  Some of my most effective and rewarding teaching came during lunchtime or after school when I was able to work with the individual student on his/her writing and/or understanding of the literary text.  Working with individual students I can

  • help with current school language arts and history assignments.

  • fill in academic gaps (what is the subjunctive or a dangling modifier, anyway?!).

  • provide enrichment activities in reading, writing, and vocabulary development.

  • demystify the college application essay process from start to finish.

  • coach students in “real life writing” such as cover letters and resumes.

Let me be more specific.

In the area of reading and literature

  • I can help with the understanding and appreciation of the literary works the student is reading for class.

  • I can teach him/her how to annotate and analyze a literary or informational text.

  • I can read individual books with the student for enrichment or prepare a unit module on a particular topic (examples:  nature; dystopian fiction; art and literature; Southern literature).

In the area of writing, I can

  • work closely with the student in gaining competence and confidence in communicating ideas through various methods of discourse (such as analytical essays, informational writing, and informal personal writing).

  • help the student learn how to organize and to support ideas in a rhetorically effective manner.

  • suggest strategies to increase cohesiveness and flow within and between paragraphs.

  • coach the student on ways to develop and hone effective thesis statements.

  • suggest specific ways to revise and proofread his/her work.

  • guide the student through the brainstorming, writing, and revising of the all-important college application essay.

In the areas of grammar and usage, I can

  • work with the student on understanding the building blocks of writing:  the sentence and the paragraph.

  • review the basics of punctuation.

  • focus on common mistakes in usage such as subject/verb agreement, pronoun reference, and parallelism.

  • go over commonly misused words such as “effect” and “affect.”

Note:  The new SAT puts increased emphasis on grammar and usage.