Archive for the ‘Writing Tutor’ Category

Find a Great Writing Tutor

Monday, August 24th, 2015

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


Private Writing Tutor or English Class? Which is a better fit?

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

I taught college English classes for many years at several community colleges in the Seattle area.  I can tell you that a classroom teacher is responsible for leaving no student behind, which means lessons must be basic enough to make sense to the weakest writers in the class.

But what if you’re a professional with fairly strong writing skills who has weak spots in your writing knowledge?  Do you take writing lessons or classes aimed at beginners or intermediates?  For many professionals and students who need writing help, most of the writing instruction in such classes will prove a waste of time and money.  Beginning classes might cover what you know already; intermediate classes may assume knowledge of exactly what you missed in high school.  What you want is writing help that addresses your specific issues, whether you’re a non-native looking for ESL coaching or a smooth native speaker in need of grammar lessons.

I have the expertise to adjust to any writer’s needs.  With each new client, I ask for writing samples that reflect their current abilities.  Based on these, I design a specialized program that offers writing help in specific areas of deficit.  As we continue to work together, new problems may surface.  We zoom in on these immediately, on demand, rather than being tethered to a class syllabus.  You learn more quickly by focusing on those areas where you, as an individual, need clarification and practice.

ESL Coaching at Every Level

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

If you’ve learned English as a second language, chances are your knowledge of English grammar is stronger than that of many native speakers. If you’re seeking further English help, you need an instructor who can explain grammar not in terms of what “sounds right,” but in specific grammatical terms you can comprehend. That way, you can incorporate the rule into your understanding for future reference.

Rather than progressing through a standard book, I pull grammar lessons from the web as needed for each individual ESL Seattle client. We work on what YOU need to learn to bring your fluency and writing to the next level. Take a look at my testimonials for recommendations directly from clients who have worked with me as a grammar tutor. You’ll see that each says the lessons are both useful and fun.

Choosing a Seattle Tutor: What to Look For

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

There are hundreds of writing tutors available in Seattle. How do you make a good choice for your own writing instruction?

The majority of ads that offer tutoring for students are posted by students themselves, many of whom have little idea of the actual rules of syntax and grammar. The fact that someone is an English major who gets good grades on his or her papers may mean they can write well themselves. It does NOT mean they are qualified to give grammar instruction or serve as a writing coach.

Having served as a writing teacher on the faculty of many major colleges and universities in the Seattle area, I have the in-depth knowledge of grammar and syntax that allows me to explain to a client the rules of grammar or the benefits of style, in easy-to-understand terms. If you’re going to spend money on English help, be sure you hire an expert!

Why a Writing Tutor?

Monday, June 4th, 2012

If you find yourself wishing you had stronger writing skills or more confidence in your command of grammar, what choices do you have?  Basically, you can either sign up for a writing class, buy writing books and try teaching yourself, or hire a writing tutor.

The advantages of working with your own writing coach are pretty easily apparent.  A writing class is inflexible and geared toward a group of people who may or may not be at your skill level.  Teachers may review aspects of writing with which you’re already familiar, or give assignments with due dates that don’t mesh with your schedule.  Self-study poses drawbacks of the opposite nature: too little guidance.  Thumbing through a book, how do you figure out what you need to learn, and how to apply it to your own writing?  How do you stay motivated to keep at your training or to tackle those aspects of writing most challenging or puzzling to you?

Working one-to-one with a writing tutor offers the “just right” (or just write!) solution between these two alternatives.  It’s all about teamwork.  In this scenario, you can explain to your tutor exactly what you’re looking for.  A coach can diagnose and zoom in on the areas of your writing most in need of improvement, or create exercises specially tailored to your learning needs.  You can also schedule meetings whenever convenient for you, and never need to pay for a missed class.  Best of all, working with a writing tutor is fun!  The camaraderie of tackling writing issues together keeps you on track, as does the satisfying progress you’ll see in your abilities.