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gator hat

This is my daughter, Ariana, in her Fabulous Alligator hat. She just turned three, and is an eager student of English, lover of sowbugs, sea otters and birthday parties, and an all-around interesting little person.

Here are some other pictures of Ariana doing some natural history research and hanging out with her dad.

bulb

This is one of my sister Missy's "thread paintings". I think her work is fantastic, and I'm really proud of her. Here's another piece by Missy.

jacket

Here I am with my Dad, at about 18 months old. He gave me that bomber jacket when I got bigger, and I wore it until it had holes in it. Now, here's a more recent photo of my dad, rafting on the Green River in Utah, in the summer of 1997.

And now, several decades later...

I've been teaching ESL since 1986 - a kind of accidental career, if you will, because I never planned to end up here. In 1984, I was working in a bar in Santa Fe, NM, and after work often found myself hanging out with some of the kitchen crew, mostly from El Salvador, trading English lessons for Spanish. It was fun, and it made me feel good to be able to offer something of use to these warm and wonderful people who had been forced, by the interference of my government, to flee home and country. Two years later, I was in San Francisco, taking a one-month intensive, learning to teach, and loving it.

During the next few years, I taught at several private schools in the Bay Area, and in 1990, began teaching in the English Language Program at UC Berkeley Extension. That's where I've been ever since, except for the summers of 1992 and 1993, when I went to the School for International Training in Brattleboro, VT, to obtain an MA in TESL.

Early in 1997, I decided to get more actively involved in computer- mediated language learning,and offered to teach a section of the Telewriting course we'd offered for a year or so. It was overwhelming! I had to learn a new operating system, find internet resources and activities (while learning about the net myself), and try to explain it all to my students, some of whom were far ahead of me in their computer skills. I was frequently heard to moan "Telewriting ate my life."

It's gotten considerably better, and at this point I find myself enjoying the class very much. I have never seen such consistent interest and motivation in any other class I've taught. Students help each other spontaneously, and help me as well. There's an incredible amount of independence and initiative, and always more to learn!

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cliff stevens

cliffs@qal.berkeley.edu
UC Berkeley Extension, ELP
1995 University Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States