For about four years now, I’ve been teaching clients to improve their writing, meeting primarily in coffee shops around Seattle. My clients range from Amazon senior managers to high school students, and from college-level English teachers to non-native speakers. For all of them, I create a fun, vigorous learning environment that engages their interest and promotes progress in the areas where they need it most. (Note: I’m also available for online tutoring via Skype and Google docs.)
- Rapport: The connection between the writing tutor (or writing coach, as I prefer) is the most important aspect of the tutoring process. If the tutor and writer don’t connect as people, the learning environment will be stiff and uncomfortable. I taught college English for many years, acting as an authority figure because I was responsible for leading a class of 25. One-to-one tutoring is a whole different ballgame! It’s more like we’re hanging out together and working on these writing skills. Often, when I give an on-the-spot writing task, I also write alongside the client, and we compare our products afterwards. This takes away any sense of pressure on the client: we are both interested in the writing “workout.”
- Resources: Over the years I’ve amassed an extensive database of online grammar, syntax, and composition exercises. The interactive nature of these quiz and exercise pages makes them fun, but I also use them as learning tools. If my client appears about to click on a wrong answer, I’ll say, “Are you sure you want to do that?” Sometimes the client realizes their mistake immediately, but other times I ask follow-up questions to help them zoom in on the pertinent issue. Gradually, they learn the principles involved and become able to pick out right answers on their own.
- Timing: Most of my clients meet with me weekly for one hour. This is the perfect amount of time to absorb a given lesson, but doesn’t require a lot of time investment. In many cases, clients and I meet on their lunch hour near their work, so that no time is lost from their day or evening by driving to a special class. Some clients – usually high school students – do get brief homework assignments to put into practice what we’ve been working on.
- Atmosphere: Meeting in a coffee shop lets us enjoy a beverage and snack as we work while cafe life goes on around us. This stands in sharp contrast to a sterile, fluorescent-lit classroom. On gray, cold, and rainy Seattle afternoons, what could be cozier than to settle down with a hot latte, chocolate chip cookie, and our laptops to work on our writing skills?
- Expertise: As my resume indicates, I have extensive background in teaching writing, training tutors, and explaining grammar. I served as resident grammar expert on the University of Washington’s “Ask Betty” grammar question web-hotline and have learned even more as a result of teaching ESL to individual clients. Can you name the four kinds of conditional statements? What’s the predicate nominative, also known as subject complement? I can teach you! You, too, can become a grammar expert!
If you’re interested in scheduling a no-cost consultation to talk about your writing skills and challenges, just shoot me an email via this website or email directly to email@example.com