Education has always been a very significant part of my life. I loved being a student and attending school. Although I was a good student, I struggled with math so understand that learning can be difficult. I remember what it felt like to be the one who didn't understand in Trigonometry, feeling frustrated that I just didn't get it. I later learned that I understood math better with a different teacher, that it wasn't my lack of ability so much as the way I was being taught.
When I went to college, I wanted to teach history, but after taking some sociology and psychology courses I change to a sociology major with a minor in psychology. By the end of college, I had decided to go into social work, and was accepted in a graduate program. Due to some of my courses, I became interested in juvenile delinquency, and had an internship in the NY State Division For Youth my first year of graduate school. After visiting teens in youth facilities, my interests changed to prevention, and I did my second year internship working with a school social worker in an elementary school. I discovered that this was a good fit for me as I was energized being in a educational setting working with students who weren't making academic progress, for a variety of reasons.
Following graduation, I worked for 5 years in an inner city elementary school as a school social worker. It was a learning experience seeing how students were so impacted by their home situations and/or by special needs requiring additional services. It was challenging yet I loved what I was doing.
During my summers, I had a great opportunity to work in the Intensive English Program for Japanese English teachers at Syracuse University. I did this for a month for 5 summers, and decided that I wanted to go to Japan to teach English conversation. I was accepted to go with a mission group as an English language instructor, and taught conversational English for 2 and 1/2 years in Tokyo. I then worked as an English assistant to English teachers in 2 high schools in Tokyo. During my time there, I met my husband, was married and our first child was born. I went to Japan as a single woman, and returned to New York 4 and 1/2 years later as a wife and a mother.
After moving to the Chicago area in 1991, I tutored about 7 Japanese women in conversation English for 2 years. I also volunteered in the World Relief English program as an assistant once a week for 2 years. Once my children were all in school, I volunteered to assist in their classes. I missed the atmosphere and energy in a learning environment so once my youngest child was in school, I became a special education aide for almost 5 years. During that time, I also tutored elementary students at my church on Monday evenings for 2 years.
My tutoring experience has been informal, assisting my own children with homework, volunteering in an ESL program, and tutoring students referred by the elementary school in my neighborhood. Even though I was a special education aide, the first 2 years I was an inclusion aide so was in a classroom of regular education students. When my student was receiving services outside the classroom, I assisted other students who needed more individualized assistance. I learned how to modify work making it easier to understand. I did review sheets both for my student as well as for some of the other students. I believe that all students can make progress, if time is taken to determine their learning style, and try different interventions until success is achieved. I've had a very varied life experience, and have learned a great deal, from my school social worker days, to the time in Japan teaching English conversation, in addition to my more recent special education positions. I love learning, and enjoy helping others achieve their potential to learn.
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