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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.
I have experience working with students with Asperger's diagnoses as a special education aide in CUSD 200.
I have had experience in Bible studies both as a participant, and as a teacher. As a teacher, I planned lessons, and taught English language students in Japan for 3 years. I have also been a co-teacher for a 2nd-3rd grade class at my church for 2 and 1/2 years.
My experience in Elementary school education comes from helping my 4 children (ages 15, 17, 19, 23) with homework, as well as volunteering as a parent aide in their classrooms.
I also worked as a special education aide for a special needs inclusion student while he was in the 4th and 5th grades. Whenever he was absent, I was assigned to assist in other classrooms. I worked with students both individually as well as in small groups.
I taught conversational English in Japan for 2 and 1/2 years at an English conversation center. Although I don't have a degree in TESOL, I received bi-monthly training in teaching English as a second language during the time I was teaching in Tokyo. I taught beginning through advanced English learners, and enjoyed getting to know students better as their English progressed.
Learning to speak a language very different from a person's first language can be difficult as we lose certain sounds as our language develops when we are very young. In Japan, the "l" and "r" are hard for Japanese speakers to hear and to speak. This was true for me with some of the Japanese sounds as well so I have experienced the frustration of not being understood.
I realize that understanding written English and understanding spoken English are very different. Many of my Japanese students could comprehend written English, but speaking was very difficult. American English is difficult because we blend our sounds so that it doesn't sound anything like what it looks like in writing. An example would be: "what are you doing?" but spoken it sounds like "watcha doin?" I worked with Japanese a lot on blending sounds.
Vocabulary was another thing we worked on as there a lot of English words that sound the same (homophones)such as "wear" and "where." "Wear" is talking about the clothing you have on, but "where" is talking about location. This is confusing, and even English speakers need to learn which is the correct word to use depending upon the context.
Idioms are another area of speech which is very difficult for those speaking English as a second language. An example would be "it's raining cats and dogs" which means that it's raining very hard. This is an acquired English skill as I have 4 children (15 to 23), and they don't always understand idioms because they aren't use to using them.
Humor doesn't translate very well in any language, and is perhaps the most difficult area of English to acquire. A lot of humor is culturally-based so requires an understanding of different aspects of a culture. This can be learned, but it takes a long period of time.
I am interested in learning about other countries/cultures, and have volunteered with World Relief in assisting refugees in Wheaton. I would like to meet with you to determine if I can assist you in your pursuit of improving your spoken English ability.
I learned to read using the Phonics method. I see this method of learning letter sounds, progressing to blending of sounds and then to words, as the most practical method of learning to read. Since I grew up learning to read using phonics, it became the most natural way to learn new words and to sound out words to learn to spell them.
I have a BA in Sociology. The sociology courses I took in college include the following: Intro to Sociology, Cultural Anthropology, Race and Ethnic Relationships, Social Psychology, American Society, Social Problems, Intro to Social Work, Criminology, Social Theory, Juvenile Delinquency, Social Deviance and Sociology of Modern Life. I then went on to do graduate work and received a Masters in Social Work which included several more sociology courses: Persons in Social Contexts, Ethnic and Race Understanding, Family Violence, as well as courses on death and dying, the aging process and substance abuse.
I have had a great deal of experience working with special education students both at the elementary and middle school levels, as well as in a transition program. Currently I have the opportunity to work as a Life Skills Tutor in a residential home with 3 men who have developmental disabilities. I enjoy learning from as well at teaching those with disabilities. I had a great deal of responsibility for some of the students I have assisted. I have worked with students with the following disabilities: Spina Bifida, Downs Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, ADHD and students on the Autism Spectrum including a student with Asperger’s. I assisted students with: academic skills, sometimes modifying their curriculum: learning to follow instructional directions; physical needs; learning social skills and appropriate peer interactions; computer and writing skills; researching skills; developing organization skills: life skills; and job skills. I worked as a part-time job coach in the transition program. I accompanied students on their job assignments providing supervision; assisting students, when necessary; setting goals; evaluating performance; and providing feedback to students. The primary goal was for students to achieve their greatest level of independence. In working with students on the Autism Spectrum, I designed Board Maker images for use in providing visual directions and prompts for students’ daily schedules, minimizing the use of verbal instructions.
I have assisted my own 4 children (15 to 23 years) as well as students in the local school district with class work and home work. I was both a volunteer parent as well as an educational aide in my school district so often assisted students with their assignments.
Making sure a student understands the assignment, both what information is required and how it is to be presented, are important, to ensure that the assignment is completed correctly. I learned to observe students to see where they might need assistance, and then ask them questions to provide some direction for them to find the answer(s).
In reviewing for tests/quizzes, I taught students different strategies for learning the information they needed to know. Visuals were important in helping students retain information. Positively reinforcing what they knew was also important in building confidence.
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