Why I Teach for World Teachers Day (2nd Edition)

I love to teach because I enjoy research and explaining it to students. I’m a people-person who is very extroverted, despite spending a lot of time reading and writing. The highlight of my 20-year teaching career was ten years in Developmental English/Writing, a pre-College Composition course. It’s one of three remedial college courses; the others are Developmental Reading and Math. I’ve substitute taught in every grade from PK-12 and in most subjects, aside from upper level math and science. Writing this article poses a challenge since the prompt is “Why I Teach” rather than a biography of one’s teaching career. Yet the latter would be supporting details.

I should answer why I taught Developmental English/Writing. I prefer teaching grammar and writing to literature, partly because the former two seem more essential. For me, literature is watching a re-run of The Rockford Files or JAG. My first five years were as an adjunct at Mountain View Community College, a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) in North Oak Cliff. My last five years were full-time at Texas College, an HBCU (Historically Black College and University) in Tyler. Remedial education presents a boom area. It’s a fixture at community colleges and open-enrollment colleges. The USA has the paradoxical reputation of the world’s best colleges but fairly weak elementary and secondary education. Sounds like developmental education is ready for the rescue!

Furthermore, I wrote, copyrighted, and illustrated a textbook for my course. Several chapter sections have been published as articles–partly to build an audience.  Connexions of Rice University is the most prestigious. Voices.yahoo was discontinued in summer 2014. Writing a textbook really is taking your teaching to a higher level. The toughest part of my task will be transferring hard-copy back to documents in the computer. Some chapter sections no longer live in cyberspace due to the “passing away” of computers, flash drives, CD’s, and the possibly extinct floppy disks.

I struggled with required Spanish in my mediocre B.A. era, but I started self-study of Spanish again after completing secondary certification in English and Social Studies. I found myself drawn to substitute teaching and adult classes in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). My first lesson for me was how to order a meal in a taqueria. An early lesson for adult ESOL classes was “At the Construction Site” for the men, and “Cleaning Supplies” for the wives.

Later I subbed in Bilingual Elementary and Spanish, up to 4th year. I published  a clothes unit article and a songs article at Lesson Plans Page. I taught ESOL partly to see the world while staying in north and east Texas; plus it fits in with my meat-and-potatoes approach to Language Arts. Later I developed Bilingual All-Level Academic Vocabulary (BALAV). It’s a search for cognates because technical English is descended from Latin and formal English is derived from French–both Romance languages like Spanish. Informal English is descended from German. Most Texas secondary textbooks have a glossary in English and Spanish.

I communicated with a disability rights group to see how I could make some extra money without losing SSDI or Medicaid/Medicare–ideally through my textbook. To summarize, a trial work period can be nine non-consecutive months. COPD & asthma started me on disability before other issues were discovered. However, my Medicare D would crater if I made little over $100 in a month. So if I finally do something with my textbook again, it better be Open Source (aka. “free”).

I serve on the transportation committee of East Texas Human Needs Network (ETHNN), and teach people how to use the Tyler bus map. Together with explaining the practicality of the two-bus hub structure of Tyler Transit for a rectangular city, I’ve written a couple of articles on nearest bus stops for the five lines and organized three transpo. committee field trips. I’m so excited that we went to Tyler’s newest Mexican grocery store during Hispanic Heritage Month 2015–Supermercado del Pueblo in the northwest side of the city. Otherwise, North Tyler is a virtual food desert unless you go to the Super One (a branch of Brookshire’s) on the southeast edge of the Northside. Thank goodness for dollar stores!

My aptitude for teaching showed at a remarkably early age. I watched Spanish on the local PBS channel as a five-year old. There’s a laminated Dallas Morning News article tacked to a wall in my place about me getting on the show! Unfortunately, I flaked out and quit studying Spanish because of my disapproval for my weird elementary school’s methods.

I developed an passion for paleontology in 1st grade. I gave nine lectures that year, even to 8th grade. I still remember the geologic time table. On a humorous note, I wrote song called, “Diplocaulus, I’ll Never Stop Loving You,”  a song dedicated to large boomerang-headed amphibian of the Permian.

I developed an interest in Japan in 3rd grade, followed by the Mayas and Aztecs in 4th grade. Seventeen years later, I wrote a M.S. thesis entitled, “Approaching Cognitive-Behavioral and Existential Therapy through Neo-Confucianism.” A few years ago, I downloaded my thesis onto my site at Academia.edu  A Twitter fan since late 2011, my thesis was “favorited” by the South Asian Psychology Conference of Sri Lanka. I added information to “The Boston Confucians,” a Wikipedia site. I was invited to “Friends from Afar”  a closed Facebook group and the Ruist Fellowship–two Boston-based Internet groups; the former has discussions and the latter gives and checks essay homework!

To conclude, I keep up with my beloved Twitter site at bohemiotx, write articles at my two Word Press articles, and work on my textbook. I belong to the East Texas Human Needs Network (ETHNN) and the Community Health Workers Coalition (CHW). Studying and tweeting about my health issues has really gotten me recognized in the health care social media field! I got a big charge the other idea by explaining how to make pho, the national dish of Vietnam, to a veteran on the bus. That same day, I gave a list of Maya cities on the Yucatan Peninsula (after the Toltec invasion) to a newlywed, who could only afford to sail around the coast. Old teachers may retire but they never stop teaching.