This website and blog will give visitors background on my English teaching experiences and education via my current resume, academic papers, teaching philosophy, and my capstone/graduation project as part of San Francisco State University’s MA TESOL program. More importantly, it will give you FREE English tips and resources, as well as information on my online ESL classes and free email newsletter.

My journey in teaching began with an after-school journalism program at an inner-city high school on Chicago’s northwest side. After receiving an MFA in Creative Writing from one of the most well-known arts and communications schools in the country – Columbia College in Chicago – I began teaching composition there, and then began to feel the pull toward something more. In 2009, I spent three months in Brazil, teaching EFL in the southern state of Santa Catarina. With 30 minutes of training (literally!), I embarked on teaching nearly 70 students across 20 classes per week at a private language school. I came to three major realizations with this experience: 1) I absolutely loved teaching English to non-native speakers, 2) I had a natural “knack” for it, and 3) I wasn’t really sure what I was doing!

Upon my return from Brazil, I received my CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) from St. Giles in San Francisco and began teaching ESL at a community college in suburban Chicago. The CELTA gave me a solid foundation in lesson planning and pedagogy – and it also clued me in to the fact that what I had learned there was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Eager to learn more, I applied and was accepted to SFSU’s MA TESOL program in 2010. There, I was exposed to different teaching methodologies, techniques, and theories. I have also been a part of the many of great ESL resources SFSU has available, such as volunteering in Project SHINE (Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders), being a conversation leader at the American Language Institute on campus, and finally, working as both the Program Assistant and a lecturer in the university’s Composition for Multilingual Students Program.

As a result, I am a more competent, confident teacher. It has been my privilege to teach such diverse groups of students; I feel I have learned as much from my students as I hope they learned from me!

Published by Amanda E. Snyder Rufino

Teacher. Writer. Artist.

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