Posts Tagged ‘why hire a writing tutor’

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.

English Instruction – What About Grammar?

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

When I was in eight grade, I had an English teacher named Mr. Beisel who had written a grammar handbook. He was actually a terrible teacher, but the handouts from his book were excellent. Day after day, while he sat dozing at his desk so inert that some of us eighth graders theorized about whether he might be dead, we plodded through a series of lessons partitioned in a large cardboard box up by his desk. Each isolated one aspect of grammar instruction, so that by the time you finished the lot of them, you could diagram any sentence in English.

Diagramming sentences is a lost art. But being able to identify various parts of a sentence is actually imperative in order to apply the rules of punctuation and syntax accurately. This is another reason to hire an English tutor with a strong background in writing. For example, if the rules state that you DO use a comma between an independent clause and a phrase, but not between an independent clause and a dependent clause, you need to be able to tell the two – the phrase and the clause – apart. A clause, whether dependent or independent, features a who doing a what. A phrase has a who or a doing, but not both.

A good writing coach can help you understand the difference, so the next time you’re wondering where to place a comma, you’ll know.

Writing Instruction: Beginning to Advanced

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Writing is the medium of the web.  Thousands of people publish blogs every day, vying for readership among web readers.  If you’re publishing a personal blog or aspiring to do so, you should have a solid understanding of what makes for effective writing.  What practices of style or approaches to editing your work will make it most readable?  To answer these questions, it’s best to hire an experienced writing tutor.

I tend to iron out any grammar issues I see in my clients’ writing first.  Once the basics of grammar and punctuation are in place, we move on to sentence variety.  Many writers rely on their ear or speech patterns to craft written sentences, when the fact is many variables influence the impact a given sentence will have on a reader.  As we work together, we explore the effects of different wording choices and sentence structures, so that you as a writer can become aware of all your options.

Such knowledge and control become valuable assets, whether you’re using them in creative writing, blog posts, or business writing.

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.