I consider myself a proud American, but also an objective one. I enjoy looking at our nation's history through fresh eyes. I particularly enjoy learning and teaching about events in our nation's history by highlighting the contributions and stories of other ethnic groups, such as Native tribes and African-Americans.
I am a pastor's daughter who studied 3 terms of religion in college. I studied Luther and the Reformation in Germany for a month-long intensive study, and I lived in China for 6 years, where I studied Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism in my spare time. I am a confirmed Christian.
I lived in Gansu Province, China, from August 2005 to August 2011. I taught English to Chinese college-level students for those 6 years, but I also studied Chinese intensively at the Global Exchange Center for 3 weeks in 2007 and 2 weeks in 2010. I also had Chinese tutors who I worked with during the terms, and I was able to study Chinese on my own during that time as well.
I have a diploma in TESL/TEFL from St. Michael's College in Burlington, VT. I taught EFL for 6 years in Gansu Province, P.R. China.
As a veteran of 6 years teaching in China, I am well aware of the different kinds of essays students must write, and I understand what mistakes students make in English, whether native-born or second-language learners. I am a very good proofreader, and as a teacher myself, I can usually guess what my colleagues are looking for when they grade essays. This makes it easier for me to offer specific, concrete suggestions to my students for how to improve the overall tone of their work, not just their grammar.
As a singer, teacher and co-director of musicals, I understand the importance of public speaking, and I have experience in perfecting the different aspects of it. I have prepared students for speech contests, song performances, acting in plays and oral English tests. My prior education as a vocal performance student helps me to understand the physical mechanics of projection and tonal quality, and my work as a lecturer and teacher has positively influenced my body language and people skills.
I am an avid reader myself, and I love introducing students to the joys of reading. I am willing to use "off-the-wall" materials to encourage students reading, including asking students to read food labels for a "food diary", creating cartoon strips and reading translated stories from other cultures.
I am the first-born daughter of a pastor, and discussions about the Bible, Christianity and morality occurred regularly around our kitchen table. I regularly read literature on religion and ethics, and I am familiar with all major world religions. I studied Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Shintoism and Christianity during college, and I spent 6 years in China, where I learned the background and current practice for many Chinese festivals. I have self-studied many aspects of Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
I am a Spanish major, and I studied in Malaga, Spain for 4.5 months in 2003. I have an intermediate fluency diploma from the Universidad de Malaga para Extranjeros.
I have played in high school, college, and community bands for over 10 years. I was a John Phillip Sousa Award winner in high school, and I was recently the first trombonist in the Lookingglass Playhouse production of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum."
I received 4 semesters of private voice lessons from Nancy Henniger, one of the founders of Intimate Opera in Chicago. I have sung in church and community choirs for over 10 years, and I have taught 2 semesters of private voice lessons to 3 Chinese students.