Part-time Instructor, English as a Second Language
B.A., University of Iowa
M.A., University of Iowa
Where have you taught English as a Second Language?
I’ve taught E.S.L. at Coe College, at Kirkwood Community College, and at various universities and schools in Thailand and Japan.
What classes are you currently teaching in the Intensive English as a Second Language Program?
At Coe, I'm teaching Oral Presentation and Structure. In this class students give short speeches, interview native English speakers, organize their thoughts using logic, and practice using the grammatical structures that they have studied. I like this class because students have opportunities to discuss topics with English speakers, interview Americans, research ideas they’re interested in and present aspects of their majors and cultures to the class. It’s satisfying to witness the students as they develop confidence using English and expand their range of interests.
What does teaching at Coe mean to you?
It means a chance to develop a supportive situation where students and teachers can interact with each other and discover new ideas from their discussions. Generally, teaching and learning at Coe include receiving individualized attention from the teacher. The teacher is available outside of class to clarify the class. I have seen teachers tweak their curriculum to include the special interests of students in their classes.
What is one of your memorable teaching experiences?
My favorite teaching experiences usually have to do with students' discovering a new idea and pursuing that interest. One moving experience was when two students, who came from countries that did not have a friendly history, became friends. In a presentation at the Culture Show, they explained the stereotypes that they had had about each other's country and discussed how they were able to overcome the stereotypes and understand the other person. Teaching is also memorable when students view events or cultures with new eyes, when students work out the solution to a problem themselves, when students have an "aha!" moment, or when students become so interested in a topic that using English becomes incidental to the ideas they are communicating.
What do you like to do outside of Coe?
I love to spend time with my family and friends. I like to drink tea and chat, take photos and make scrapbooks, read, travel, and canoe.
What book are you currently reading?
Right now I'm reading Jhumpa Lahiri's "Unaccustomed Earth," a book of short stories about people experiencing other cultures, and "Can't We Please Talk about Something More Pleasant," by Roz Chast, a graphic memoir about dealing with ageing parents.
What makes Coe special?
In my opinion, Coe is special because it is possible to get to know your fellow students and your professors very well. The professors are interested in you as a person and as a student. They are available for you to consult if you have questions about something you have read or heard, and to give you direction in your assignments. Classes are generally small, and you may have opportunities to work with and thus make friends with your fellow students.
I love the fact that many people at Coe want to meet and to work with the ESL students. We have had joint projects with students and faculty from a variety of different departments such as education, business administration, and rhetoric. When we ask for volunteers to be interviewed by our students or to be conversation partners, many students and faculty members respond, showing their interest in getting to know international students.
There are lots of clubs and groups available so you can find compatible people and develop new interests. You can even start your own group. You can follow your passion and find friends who will share that passion with you.
What advice would you give to a prospective student at Coe College?
Take responsibility for your learning experience at Coe. Join a club or two, talk to people in the cafeteria and in the library. If someone asks you to go somewhere, go. You are here to learn about American culture, so when there is an opportunity to experience the culture, take advantage of it.