First, I offer the technical details: I have a Ph. D. in American Literature and over twenty years of experience as a professor and instructor of writing, literature, and creative writing on the college level. I have worked with a diverse mix of students—of varied backgrounds, abilities, ambitions, and difficulties—in this country and the Middle East. Second, I am passionately devoted to teaching: every student I meet engages my interest, and that engagement enables me to draw from my students—through our conversations and my reading of their work—a precise understanding of their singular stuggles and how best to address them effectively, efficiently, and supportively. All that I help my students learn, be it grammar, the composition of a powerful argument, the comprehnsion of a difficult text, the modes of negotiating the SATs, goes far beyond any single skill, for all imparts methods of critical and creative thinking and writing that they will be able to carry beyond our work together into every subject they study.
I love the surprises every teaching session brings me: each student is a singular being, with his or her own way of being and thinking, gifted with originality and power, even if they may now rest, with various degrees of silence, within. By listening to my students, reading their work, helping them express ideas that they barely know they have but deeply desire to communicate, I learn as much as I teach. Even working upon something as simple as grammar or essay structure involves conceptualization that forms the ground for complex critical thinking. Watching the unique way in which such thinking emerges with each student teaches me, sets off creative sparks that feed, in turn, my own thinking and writing.
Professor Nestor was my professor of writing in my freshman year in university, as well as of literature and cultural theory in my junior year. She was also one of the mentors I had when working on my 60-page senior year thesis. I am most fortunate to have had her, a dedicated thoughtful, patient, empathetic, and hardworking educator, as one of my professors. She has a strong ability in creating a productive rapport with her students, like myself, helping them with specific needs that they may have, such as in working on a particular form of prose writing. Her knowledge of writing, literature, and cultural theory are of great depth, knowledge that she effectively and engagingly communicates to her students. She has made me a better writer, reader, and thinker. She has provided me with such skills as critical thinking that have been useful to me in other subjects I took during university and beyond.
Professor Nestor has taught as an undergraduate student at Georgetown University. It is no secret that she had been one of the most popular and inspiring instructors in our community, building close, personal ties with many of her students. I can honestly say that she has truly transformed the way I write. After taking her classes, I’ve become more aware of the potential power of my words, and more able to harness that power in the way that I express myself. She teaches you in a way that does not overwhelm you, providing specific, targeted feedback on your work that you slowly absorb and build on the more time that you spend with her. The things that she has taught me have stayed with me well beyond her classes, well beyond university. To this day, four years later, I still remember her comments and feedback, and implement them in everything that I write. If you could see the amount of time and effort she spent providing feedback on each of our papers, you would see how much she cares. It’s not just a job to her; she has a passion for helping each of her students reach their full potential.
First, I listen: I ask the student to talk about the class, project, subject, test, or application essay upon which we will be working. From this conversation, I begin to develop a clear sense of the work to be done, of both the intellectual matters to be conquered and the student's anxieties, desires, and interests, all of which must also be faced. From there, I develop a plan—not one that attempts to solve every problem the student may have at once, but one that works by conceptual steps, each of which builds upon the one before. This does two things: first, it builds the student's confidence as he or she moves succeeds at one aspect of the subject, then the next; second, it helps the student develop critical and creative thinking, as he or she comes to understand the logic of the process, sees how we have been progressing, how each step relates to the others to form a more complex whole.
I have a BA summa cum laude in Medieval Studies from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in American Literature and Poetics from SUNY Buffalo. I have taught writing, literature, creative writing, and critical theory on the college level for over twenty years, most recently, for ten years, at Georgetown University in Qatar. I score very well on standardized tests, am particularly qualified to aid students in prepping for the verbal, written, and literature sections of these exams. Finally, I have sat on admission committees, so I have intimate knowledge of what admissions officers seek in applications.
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