Being a native of the Rio Grande Valley in deep South Texas, where most Texans are bilingual and bi-cultural, is a real plus. Also,having relatives on both sides of the Rio Grande River gives one a Pan American perspective and is a tremendous advantage for any teacher in Texas, especially with changing demographics.
Holding degrees in Art, English, Spanish, Business Administration, Inter-American Studies, ESL/Bilingual Education, and a Master's Degree in Clinical Supervision from UT Pan American, plus having traveled extensively in Mexico and Colombia, South America, gives me a good background for helping international students. I also have worked for AT&T and a federal credit union as a union rep and as a supervisor respectively.
Lewis and Bryan, my two sons, are working on advanced degrees at UTSA (MBA) and Duke University (Bio-Medical Ph.D. )respectively. Mrs. Howell, also a business major, works for the Texas Alcohol & Beverage Commission in San Antonio and occasionally works as a substitute teacher.
Besides teaching, I enjoy reading books on science and philosophy, writing an occasional letter to the editor, playing with my grandson, Leon , and driving around on sunny, hot days in July and August in the scenic Texas Hill Country.
My approach to teaching is student-centered in that a teacher must adapt to the learning styles of each student in order to maximize learning. Every student is important, and all personnel involved in our district, from the superintendent to the maintenance worker, must work together to make sure that investments on each student ends in graduation. Each and every student will be a contribution--or a burden--to our Georgetown Community.
Viewing education from both an economic positive-sum perspective and a social normative perspective helps students prepare for work in our global economy. Students that earn a high school diploma today have many vast horizons full of opportunities ahead of them. Classes are managed via mutual respect, academic and emotional support, and applying alternatives in everyday learning activities. These principles are invaluable in the daily grind of public service.
Students must be engaged in classroom activities so I incorporate a variety of lessons, ranging from teacher-centered (lecture) to student-centered ( silent reading) and to student-assisted ( peer panels). Outside the classroom at-risk students are encouraged to join our Cultural Connections Club to improve their social skills in community service.
Having specialized training in ESL, I am a strong advocate for a system of interaction in the classroom developed by Chamot & O'Malley. This system called CALLA ( Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach) provides student support in five areas ( verbal, reading, thinking, questioning, and writing) in order to ensure optimal success in high school and beyond. Besides academic support, one cannot ignore socio-cultural theory to support and motivate a new immigrant in their new environment.