Over the past seventeen years my position at a refugee resettlement non-profit agency has included helping immigrants to redefine themselves in terms of career. Credentials that are from their home countries often are not accepted here. I have been writing resumes that exploit the cross-over skills they posses in order to be able to help them decide on a new direction. My counseling skills in this area, particularly for those for whom English is not their first language, are highly honed.
It's important for me to help each student/client achieve their determined goals. One 18 year old student from Somalia had never gone to school and lacked literacy in her own language, but she wanted to be a doctor for children. We outlined the steps she would have to take (learn to read, take the GED, attend community college, then university pre-med, then an internship and a residency) with a projected time-frame in which she might achieve those goals. Nothing is impossible -- it's just necessary to make the steps small enough to succeed.
Even though my current credential is for adults, I have had experience with elementary education from being a teacher's aide in 2nd grade, being a play-ground supervisor, teaching children English conversation and play for five years in Japan and more than 15 years as a professional baby-sitter. I was the one who took paper, rounded scissors, crayons, and glue for crafts, books to read and games to play when I was sitting with children from 4 to 10 years old. I've worked with children having trouble learning to read and just read to children who were having trouble going to sleep. I was a kindergarten substitute for one year, as well. I like, respect and work well with children.
Often teachers of English as a second language have specific skills directed toward that only. My skill set is much more general. My Bachelor's degree from SJSU was in English. I have been successfully interpreting and answering essay questions all my life. I am a published poet and have a memoir of my five plus years in Japan ready for my publisher as soon as the illustrations have been done. I taught a summer semester of remedial English at Prospect High between my years of teaching Japanese in the Campbell High School District. Recently I have been tutoring, through WyzAnt, students from all levels of the K-12 system with reading comprehension and writing skills. I love reading and it shows.
I taught English as a foreign language in Japan for five-plus years before I returned to San Jose State University to achieve a Master's degree in Linguistics, emphasizing TESOL (Teaching English to speakers of other languages). As I was doing my graduate studies I began working as a teacher for the Metropolitan Adult Education Program, through which I applied for and received my first adult teaching credential.
I have been continuously credentialed since 1987 for teaching English, high school subjects, GED preparation and Japanese. My current credential is up to October of 2014. I have continuously taught ESL (English as a second language) and VESL (vocational English as a second language) from 1987 to today. I am currently preparing the curriculum for a beginning class for senior Asian students that I will also deliver to them as a part-time teacher. I have also worked with high school and elementary age students. I enjoy seeing the "Aha" look in a student's eyes when she "gets" something that was incomprehensible only moments before. My goal is to help all my students to attain their highest potential.
My experience in addressing the public, on a number of subjects and in a variety of venues, has covered several decades. My first in high school was with memorization of the words of others. As I worked, often without a concrete lesson plan, in classrooms and workshops, I developed a confidence in my ability to express myself well. As well as being on stage, in many local plays, I have directed different groups as they produced plays for various audiences.
Most recently, I have been teaching English language learners how to express themselves well to the class in preparation for job interviewing and applying for citizenship. My students take this ability out into the world and are often complimented on their ability to express themselves.
A public speaker must possess two things in order to make others listen: there must be a message (an opinion on a topic or something to teach) and there must be the confidence that people want to hear this. Some of this confidence comes from practice, and I know steps to achieve that level of ability quickly.
When I was working at Crystal Springs Elementary School as a teacher's assistant, I found out that I had a facility for helping children learn reading skills. I was working in the second grade, but was paired with a fifth grader during lunch to work on his reading twice a week. His reading improved two grade levels over the four months we worked together. I used these skills while teaching English in Japan to kindergarten and elementary school-aged children. Their parents were impressed with the progress they made. I am now tutoring children in reading for WyzAnt and loving it.
I have both the academic knowledge and the real-life experience to help students -- even young children to develop a positive attitude toward studying. Because time management is the most important aspect of study skills, that's where I'll start with any student. Many students don't know how to cut large assignments into manageable pieces. I can see the overview and help to create simpler parts of the over-whelming "all." I guide students in creating a time-line for finishing the project with less stress. And then I focus on study skills by reviewing the project plan during every meeting.
I've spent my life writing. I am a published poet and have just completed a memoir of my five years in Japan. I have written short stories and many, many essays. For my Master's degree in linguistics, I answered 10 comprehensive questions over a weekend with about 40 pages of essay answers and received the highest marks in each of them. I like to help others find their own creativity with words.