(En espa?ol a continuaci?n) My main professional interests are teaching and language. I have degrees in linguistics and special education. I know Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Luganda, and American Sign Language. I have taught English in Africa, Europe, South America, and in the US to students of many different proficiency levels and nationalities. My clients have included academics, medical professionals, executives, software developers, clothing designers, salespeople, housekeeping staff, ... [more]
In 2007, I made a transition from my six years in adult ESL to the elementary classroom through a position with the Pittsburgh Public Schools. During that time, I gave English lessons, taught math, science and social studies bilingually (Spanish-English), and I collaborated with special education teachers to create individual education plans for English students with further learning support needs. I have also substitute taught in mainstream elementary classrooms at all grade levels. I can offer help with study skills, test-taking skills, and tutoring in math, science, and essay composition. I can also assist with special needs tutoring (please see Special Needs under my subject listing).
My studies in linguistics included a strong foundation in phonetics, phonology, and language development, all of which deepened my understanding of phonics as a tool to build reading and spelling skills. Since 1999, I have worked on these skills with native English speakers and English language learners in preK-8. Since 2004, I have served as a speech coach to adult clients of many different proficiency levels, nationalities, and professions. This work is also based on principles of phonetics and phonology in which I transcribe your accent using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), much like a speech pathologist. Then, I identify the phonological patterns that are causing communication barriers with native speakers and I train you to distinguish the standard American English phonemes of interest from your accented pronunciation. This, in turn, helps you develop clearer speech. This process follows from a particular rubric, which I provide to you after your initial assessment.
I have had a number of experiences teaching students with special needs. I created verbalization techniques for a college student with cerebral palsy and paraplegia to use during test taking scenarios in history and algebra. As a special needs teacher in Uganda, I worked to support the literacy, math, and life skills of students with learning delays/disabilities including dyslexia and autism spectrum disorders. Most recently, while teaching K-5 ESL for the Pittsburgh Public Schools, I collaborated with special education teachers to create individual education plans for English students with further learning support needs. For clients seeking assistance for a student with special needs, I can offer help with study skills, test-taking skills, and tutoring in math, science, and essay composition.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
In two positions, one at an international school in Uganda and one with the Pittsburgh Public Schools, I worked to provide special needs students, a number of whom were on the autism spectrum, with appropriate learning support measures. I have a detailed understanding of autism spectrum disorders as discussed in the DSM, and have read widely into the research literature on autism, but I also pay close attention to students' individual learning differences with an eye on offering the most personalized, beneficial instruction possible.
In two positions, at an international school in Uganda and with the Pittsburgh Public Schools, I worked to provide special needs students, several of whom were diagnosed with dyslexia, with appropriate learning support measures. Using my linguistics background and my detailed understanding of this learning difficulty, I can offer dyslexic individuals a personalized toolbox of methods to work around the initial need for letter-sound association. I do this using memory and handwriting drills to train students to spell (and later, read) words as whole elements rather than solely by the phonics-based approaches that are problematic to them. This technique is based on the same premise as using sight words to expedite recall in emerging readers and beginning language learners.
I danced social tango steadily for the past three years in Pittsburgh, PA under the instruction of several different teachers and have traveled to several cities in the US as well as Istanbul, Rome, Palermo, and Buenos Aires to dance. I am now an active member of the tango community here in New York City. I can provide contact info for past instructors as needed.