I graduated from UCI in 1992 with a BA in English language and literature before going on to teach high-school English for 20 years in Orange, Tustin, and Los Angeles.

Currently, I help students with their nightly and weekly homework, including projects with longer range target dates.  My tutoring sessions are productive.  I do not waste time. We identify goals and get to it. Your child will have a valuable language guide at his side. There is that phrase “Knowledge is power.”  While generally true, it is only partly true. Knowledge can give you an advantage certainly.  People go to great lengths and effort to acquire valuable and actionable knowledge. But it’s implemented knowledge that is the real power.  Through reading, writing, and problem-solving your child will learn with me, gain knowledge and apply it to standardized or comprehensive assessment, depending on your child’s goals.  Or, perhaps to solve a problem in his niche market.

With your child, I will set academic goals to make his homework efforts more productive. If his homework schedule is set and he gets things done during the week and sacrifices a few hours on the weekend, why he can enjoy more valuable, worry-free time with family and friends.  Goals will help feel more productive as well as be more productive. Completing goals builds momentum and a can-do attitude.

Reading, writing, listening, and speaking are skills that will always be in demand.  But it is proof of these skills that makes them valuable.  Just saying that you can read and write, speak and listen is not enough.  You must have proof if you want others to pay for your skills.  Writing books is also a skill that should be on anyone’s list, given how easy and marketable it is to write today with Kindle.

The demands of the economy are changing.  A lot of kids graduate from college with a degree but few skills.  They are effectively unemployable.  Certain degrees, regardless of your son’s high marks, remain poorly marketable and leave him unemployed.  The technical degrees will get your son and daughter into the future.  And avoid salaried work if you can.  Opt for pay per project. You will need to know how to negotiate and how to market your skills. Gender studies or sociology, for example, is not in high demand at Boeing: your child won’t be able to support himself with that type of degree regardless of how interesting he might find it to be.  And beware that siren of “Follow your passions.”  Your passions are not what puts bread on the table.  Your passions form your calling.  Passions can burn out, particularly if you are not receiving adequate compensation for them.

1. Leadership.
2. Communication.  Digital skills are indispensable to communication.  So is listening.
3. Emotional composition.
4. Problem-solving.
5.  Marketing.
6.  Negotiation.
7.  And others.

I prefer my time to be productive.  Nothing worse than wasting time.  For this reason, I keep a timed agenda.  Anyone who cheats time is filled with shame.  So time is extremely important.  If we do it ourselves, we feel terrible.  Pareto’s Law applies to all our efforts. What that means is that 80% of our efforts will produce 20% of our results.  That’s just the way it is.  What that means is that not a 100% of your efforts will produce the results you want.  Accept this.  It is a law, Pareto’s Law.  So to maximize the productive results from his efforts, I strongly recommend that students keep a daily planner.  It can be an app, like Google Calendar, or it can be a printed daily planner.  Important thing is that your child tracks his hours so he can prove to himself and others whether or not he is making productive use of his time.

Your student will learn. He learns more if he knows his purpose for learning. Goals establish that purpose.  Knowledge, for it to be powerful, has to be implemented. Working under time constraints gives his work a sense of urgency and importance because he understands that his work serves his goals.  Putting time constraints on his goals means incentivizing his time.  Further, your child will begin to produce high-grade work; no more mediocre products. No more “just-getting-by.”  With me your son will develop skills and a focus of mind that he does not get in large classrooms of tax-funded schools.

All of the students I tutor have blogs.  With me it’s mandatory.  The blog houses your son’s work.  The projects on his blog become his portfolio that he presents to project managers or employment prospects.  He’ll need proof of his skills: blogs achieve this. Blogs will force the student to learn some web design.  It will serve as a calling card for his writing ability and project completion.  It is public . . . very public.  Embrace this. Knowing that his work is public pushes him to refine his online products and pursue his best.  You want your son and daughter to produce top-notch work and be a force to reckon with.

Your child will have to discipline his focus during the 2 hours.  There is no way around this.  No student in my sessions will be allowed to flit away time.  Sessions are driven by very specific goals under strict time limits.  This will be measured and reported to you.

Colleagues and students have characterized me as helpful, hardworking, knowledgeable, reliable, and dedicated. I’ll leave that assessment to you and your family.

But what about your son’s social capital?  Your child will have spent 12 years in the school system.  He’s worked hard. He’s sacrificed.  He’s produced beyond expectations. You’ve invested in his future.  His reputation will be built on how well others trust him to behave and perform.  For that lesson, give this a listen:

Benefit #1:  You’re getting 20 years experience and knowledge of teaching English.  I am a fully-credentialed, California high-school English teacher and a private tutor who serves bright students of 7 years old to learned men of 55.  I know classic literature, its meaning, and historical contexts.

Benefit #2:  I also know the public school curriculum, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Benefit #3:  I know the different tests–SAT, ACT, Periodic Assessment, and so forth.  I know test-taking strategies that result in higher scores.

Benefit #4:  Not only do I help raise your student’s grade in a particular class but also his overall GPA, reading speed and comprehension.  I look at his previous two years of reading comprehension scores.  I read with him.  I help him understand.  He helps himself.  And the result will be that he improves.  How much he improves depends on the goal that he sets for himself.  See how my efforts increased reading comprehension herehere, here, and here.

Proof #5:  Your child will get high-grade help with writing essays, reports, and reviews and all subjects of his homework- -English, math, history, and science.

Proof #6:  Your child will learn productive study habits that will transform his learning results, his performance in school, and his GPA.

Proof #7:  I will help your child set goals to get him on track and develop productive work habits.  We set time-constrained goals and schedule hours that commit to greater productivity.

My instruction helped raise API scores on average 26 points in 2005, 25 points in 2007, 44 points in 2008, and 37 points in 2010.  Verification of those results can be seen in the links above.  I will help your child with his schoolwork and projects. With me, he will also learn how to streamline the college process so that he can save money and he will learn marketing and business skills that will position himself well after high school.


I contacted . . . [and] let her know. Both of us think you are [a] good teacher. You teach seriously [and] patiently . . . my boys’ English and their homework.

Regarding SAT Exams, “Mike, you know more about this than I do.”

You are a good teacher. Honestly. I am pleased with your class.


Jessica, a graduating senior from Los Angeles, said “I like [his] writing.”  (Update: Jessica graduated from high school and is now enrolled in a law enforcement training program, studying to be a police officer.)

Joanne, a student from Santa Ana, said “Mr. Mike expects me to do my best.”  (Update: Joanne graduated from high school, then from UC Irvine, and is currently teaching in Los Angeles County.)

Nate, a student from Pasadena, said “The things that I like about Mr. Mike is he is a nice person. Mr. Mike wants to make us successful. I can feel I learn much more English because I don’t talk to Americans in my class, but here (in tutoring) I can talk to Mr. Mike and it makes my English getting better.”  (Update: This student is currently the marketing and accounting manager of his family’s retail business.)

“Mike is a very good tutor who helps me on my English and history and science homework.  He gives me weekly exercises on grammar and Greek and Latin roots.  He leads me in reading and allows me to read until I get tired.  So far I have read 3 books—Shane, The Silver Chair, and My Antonia.  I have learned a lot from each book.  Sincerely, Joseph.” (Update: Prior to my meeting him, Joseph finished his first high-school semester with a C+ average.  With my help he finished his second semester with an A- GPA.)

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