Learning a second language can be one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have. I started learning Spanish in college where I took a beginning class for 3 hours a week. It was a slow start, and I was really nervous about the class. Gradually, however, I started to understand more and more. As a college junior, I went to Saltillo, Coahuila to spend two of my summer months in Mexico with a Mexican family. This immersion in the language made such a difference for me because I began to speak Spanish without thinking about it.
After graduating from San Jose State University with a B.A. in English, I got married to a wonderful Peruvian engineer. We moved to Peru to live, and I continued practicing Spanish and also teaching elementary school to both English and Spanish speakers at a copper mining camp. After four years, we returned to the United States (with our son) to attend graduate school. I got an equivalent of another B.A. in Spanish, a Master’s Degree in Spanish Linguistics, and a TESOL certificate. I started teaching part-time at CSU Fullerton.
We added a daughter, and our family was now complete. My husband got another foreign assignment in Venezuela, so we all enjoyed two years of Caribbean living. I taught ESL to Venezuelan engineers at night while my husband continued his engineering work at the oil refinery.
Our next foreign assignment was Bogota, Colombia where we lived for a year. This time, I decided not to teach and just enjoy my family, playing bridge and tennis. Tennis at an altitude of 8,700 feet is a bit different from sea level. For one thing, the pressurized balls that I had taken with me would fly off the clay courts. Some things you just have to learn by experience. :)
Settling back again in California, we put some roots down in Yorba Linda. I started teaching again part-time at CSUF, as well as Fullerton, Santa Ana, and Cerritos Community Colleges. But then I got my dream job here at Cypress College. It’s a dream job because the students and faculty are like a small community. The faculty members in the ESL Department are caring, intelligent, and fun teachers to work with. The students are progressive, energetic, and enthusiastic!
While at Cypress, I also worked in Thailand for 6 weeks helping to set up the first Global Community College of Thailand. I believe in the purpose of the community college, which is to help students attain their goals of either transferring to other colleges and universities, getting vocational certificates, and/or improving their language skills. I love teaching, and I welcome you to Cypress College!