I majored in English as an undergrad after making straight A's in high school and being Valedictorian of my class. My professional career includes teaching elementary school, junior high school, and in a high school students with developmental disabilities and sever behavior after working as a behavior in the school for seven years. I have also worked part-time as a journalist for several local newspapers and won a Media Achievement Award, as well as a trip to Paris, France, to attend an International Conference about HIV/AIDS after writing article about the pandemic; as well as a play that extended the story I wrote about parents whose son had to move out of his home when the neighbors found out he had AIDS. He lived with my best friend and me for three weeks prior to his death. That play won a $10,000 award for HIV/AIDS Education from KOOL Cigarettes for my brother who produced and directed it.
I retired as a supervisor in a facility that provided vocational and adult training skills for individuals with developmental disabilities. However, we had to move from work to daily living activity development after the loss of a lucrative 25-year contract with Ford Motor Company in 2007. I supervised staff working with those individuals who no longer had work, using their individual strengths and talents to help the adults who no longer had jobs learn how to live independently. The staff were excellent trainers and taught the people on their caseload how to manage their finances, households, shopping, meal preparation, etc. with stellar results for both staff and the people they served.
I wrote a book, Moving Beyond Crayons Toward Critical Thinking, about that year and what was accomplished. Agencies like my former employer's across the nation are buying that book and using it to create their own independent learning programs. Since retiring, I started writing freelance for various companies and occasionally, an article for a local newspaper. My publications in Kindle Books include a vampire novel, how to books, plays, children's stories, etc.
As a teacher, i got my students excited about reading and writing through discovery and exploration. We staged plays, including a production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" condensed for a student version, featuring 4th, 5th, and 6th grade gifted students. I also produced a student version of "The Nutcracker" with my 3rd grade students. My gifted students combined economics with basic learning skills to encourage economic development by creating their own business selling nachos (they did a survey to find out which snack students were most likely to buy).
In addition to working with regular students, I've worked with students who have developmental delays, as well as young adults with cognitive disabilities. I ran an after school program for three high school students with autism and severe behavior that needed to learn their multiplication tables and one needed to learn how to read. Since they loved music, I printed out song lyrics for the student that could not read and who came an hour earlier than the other two and had him look at the words as he sang them. Then, I wrote a list of words from each song that he studies until he knew them. Since all three like rap or hiphop music, I challenged them to "rap" the multiplicaton tables. They created their own rap and performed in a concert.
I worked with a group of higher functioning young adults with developmental disabilities to engage in several projects, including running their own coffee shop and collecting wheelchairs for people with disabilities in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake with support from local businesses. I'm eager to get back to Toledo to help them create activities to create for a new activity center their agency recently moved into and need programming (I'm in Columbus, Ohio, helping take care of my 87-year old mother who lives with my sister. I provide care while my sister is at work).
Since my minors in college were biology and social studies, i use multi-discipline projects and lessons to support learning. One of the most recent involved the water crisis in my hometown of thirty years, Toledo, Ohio, where algal blooms from Lake Erie got into the local aquifer three years ago and are now in the Maumee River in downtown Toledo. Although, I'm not presently living in Toledo, I developed a curriculum for students in grades 4-12 to create and present a solution to the water crisis to the Mayor and City Council.
I prefer problem and project-based learning rather than rote memorization of facts. I want students to be explorers, discoverers, problem solvers, and experimenters to learn and understand their world. As an English teacher, I will expect student to read and understand literature, learn to write their thoughts and opinions using good grammar and correct punctuation, as well as master the English language, through vocabulary building, spelling, literary analysis, and writing their thoughts in journals. I prefer to guide students to learn concepts through problem and/or project-based assignments, as well as activities that provide learning through students' interests and abilities.
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Frequently asked questions
What is your typical process for working with a new student?
I first conduct an informal assessment to determine the student's interest areas and problem areas. Once we've established a rapport, I use formative assessments to determine the student's academic skills, which ones in the student is proficient and which ones are problematic.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
My undergraduate degree is in English, and I have a master's degree in education and completed an education specialist degree in Early Intervention.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.
My lessons for TES.com range between $1 and $10.00 depending on the amount of work each includes.
How did you get started teaching?
After graduating with a B.A. in English and not getting a job as a newspaper reporter due to lack of real-world experience, I was hired to conducts reading tests for students in a middle school. While working there, I found out that there was a program that was recruiting college graduates from various fields to join Teacher Corps and I applied. Teacher Corps was a program that brought people from different disciplines to live and work in a low-income area. I lived in the community and worked as an intern at the local school while earning a master's degree.
What types of students have you worked with?
I have taught grades two and three, general education; grades four, five, and six in a school for gifted students; Family Life Education for grades seven and eight; and students with developmental disabilities and severe behavior in high school. I also taught summer school math for students that didn't pass math in sixth grade and had to improve their math skills to go on to junion high school, as well as an after-school tutoring program for students with developmental disabilities and severe behavior in math and reading. I was also a staff trainer and taught behavior support, as well as a graduate assitant in a doctoral program for a year, teaching teachers how to improve science instruction in primary grades.
Describe a recent event you are fond of.
Not long ago, my nephew needed to improve his academic skills during the summer after having a rough year in a Catholic school. I used his interests in combustion engines, anatomy related to sports, black holes, and the CERN Lab in Switzerland to create a six-week curriculum for him that helped him improve his writing by having him summarize his learning each day and in the last week writing a letter to the CERN Lab about how he'd like to visit and see the LHC (Large Hadron Collider).
What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?
1. Find things you enjoy reading about and summarize what you read in writing or in a recording.
2. Look up the definition of words that you hear or see and don't understand or are with which you're not familiar.
3. Look for stories that have a beginning. middle (arc), and ending. Write brief sentences describing each.
4. Read a newspaper and/or magazine and look for grammatical errors and correct them.
5. Read something every day and critique for grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors.
6. Write something every day without thinking much about structure, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Just express yourself and put it away.
7. The next day, look over what you wrote the day before and correct all errors.
What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?
1. What is my biggest problem with English?
2. Why is it a problem? (dyslexia, visual acuity, phonetic deficiency, etc.)
3. What do I need to learn about English?
4. How can I make this fun so I won't get bored?
5. Why do I need to read old books when I can just watch the movie? Could I just watch the movie and talk about it?
6. What is wrong with the way I write?
7. Why do I need to learn to spell correctly when I can use spellcheck?
Student should ask these questions to practice questioning which will be required as part of their assessment.