I have devoted every decade of my adult life to educating teen-agers and young adults in English Studies and the humanities.
That career arc began in the late 1970’s as a high school English teacher using mimeographed copies and overheads. Next I moved into university teaching, where the turn into the 21st century saw us centralizing syllabi, assignments, class discussions and graded papers on an internet application called “Angel.” 2015 finds me still kicking and screaming at new technologies, even as I embrace online and google-docs follow-up instruction as invaluable in collaborative writing teaching.
I decided in 2007 to leave a wildly satisfying but impossibly rewarded and time-intensive university teaching career to launch an enterprise in Philadelphia as a writing tutor.
This shift, which I have often referred to as jumping out of an airplane, was informed by two convictions that have proven stable to this day:
1) That nearly every student can become a much stronger, more effective writer with skilled, one-on one professional intervention and instruction over time and
2) That despite the increasingly digitalized universe in which we live, the ability to craft fluent sentences, developed and coherent paragraphs, and pages of persuasive discursive or research writing for school, work and community remains a fundamental index to those who will gain entrance into the channels of civic and professional leadership.
Put simply, writing with clarity that does not sacrifice complexity, and with effective development and control, puts every single adult and student in the lead for a place in competitive colleges, entrepreneurship, professional jobs, and successful community and civic roles.
Writing well is a learned skill that develops over time and involves multiple cognitive processes and executive functioning steps.
Plus—writing well makes kids feel seen, heard, smart, confident and in charge.