Always a self-professed bookworm, I discovered my passion for writing during my undergraduate years. One of my professors, Ms. Quigley, was particularly instrumental in my decision to become a teacher. With her fun-loving, energetic spirit and irrepressible love for words, Ms. Quigley inspired my affection for graceful sentences and great literature. Since taking her Contemporary Lit class many years ago, I’ve wanted to have a similar impact as a teacher.
After graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in English Literature, I embarked on my teaching career. For the past 10 years, I’ve taught English in both the classroom and one-on-one settings as everything from a GED teacher in San Quentin State Prison to an Americorps volunteer.
I believe— as Brenda Ueland once said— that “everybody is talented, original and has something important to say.” Though all students have good ideas, their confidence is often squashed by the too critical red scribbles of their English teachers. To make matters worse, they don’t receive much concrete, specific feedback on their work. “Show, don’t tell!”/”Write in the active, not the passive!”/”Elaborate!” are usually the only comments they receive on their papers. Oftentimes, teachers tell students what to do without clearly explaining how.
I believe all students can learn to write if they’re explicitly taught how. With encouragement and detailed feedback, any student can learn how to clearly, compellingly express themselves.
As a writer myself, I know the beauty and torment of facing the blank page. My goal is to guide my students through all stages of the writing process, from the sometimes paralyzing difficulty of outlining and brainstorming to the unparalleled pleasure of polishing a final piece. One of the highlights of my career has been having the opportunity to nurture young literary talent. In recent years, I’m proud to say several of my students have gone on to win the National Scholastic Arts & Writing national contest.
In addition to English, I love coaching students through content and test-taking techniques for the SAT, ACT, ISEE, HSPT and AP English exams. It brings me great joy to help students and families navigate the complex (and at times confusing) maze of standardized tests. For most, the SAT is a daunting— if not totally formidable— task: my goal is to demystify the process. In my test prep sessions, I modify lessons to the needs of the individual learner and break down complex concepts into simple, manageable steps so students can ultimately go into test day feeling confident.
When I’m not teaching, you can find me devouring books in the dusty stacks of my local library, sitting at my desk alternating between dreamily staring out my window and actually writing, and exploring all the Bay has to offer, whether that be a delicious bowl of dim sum or an afternoon of second-hand shopping.