Hi! My name is Cora Lavin and I am from the United States. I have been teaching English and tutoring for eight years. The last year I have been living in Bogota, Colombia, where I have been teaching private English lessons, working with a school and giving lessons on Verbal Planet. Before that I lived in Venezuela and moved there because I received an ETA (English Teaching Assistant) Fulbright in 2013 to teach at a Binational center in Merida, Venezuela. The award is sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in order to both teach English and cultural aspects of American cultural to Venezuelan students. I believe it is important to integrate cultural aspects into the learning process in order to give teaching and learning English a context and purpose.
I enjoyed working at the center so much that after my Fulbright ended I decided to stay in Venezuela and work at the center to teach English there, as well as to work on integrating project-based learning in to the ESL (English as a second language) classroom. I also created the cirriculum for an afterschool program we were trying to implement at the center. I co-created a Teacher Training program at the center and designed projects and activities for the ACCESS program there- an English scholarship program for underpriviledged adolescents.
I have also taught English in Guanajuato, Mexico and Huanchaco, Peru. I am an avid traveler and have been to six continents and over forty countries. I love learning about new cultures and how people communicate through language, which is why I enjoy teaching English! I think learning English online is a great way to connect to people from around the world and to improve your language by speaking with a Native speaker.
I am a certified TESOL (Teaching English to Students of Other Languages) teacher, receiving my specialization from the University of Arizona in 2017. I have been teaching English for eight years, with a mix of tutoring, teaching in the classroom and online teaching. I have been working with Verbal Planet since 2015 and have taught over 1,000 classes. In the last five years, I have taught English as a second language to youth, adolescents and also adults, all with varied English levels. I have taught beginners, intermediate and advanced classes. In Venezuela, I worked at a Binational Center (CEVAM) in Merida, Venezuela, so I taught both English and introduced American culture into the classroom. I also have been teaching TOEFL classes for the past three years, have prepared students for the GRE, and have helped students get ready to study abroad.
In May of 2017, I presented at the international TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Convention in Seattle, Washington. I also presented in 2014 at the VenTESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages- in Venezuela) Convention in Caracas, Venezuela. In 2015, I helped organize a regional VenTESOL convention at the Binational Center where I worked. These conventions help bring teachers of English together in order to come up with the most up-to-date ways to motivate and teach ESL learners. In addition, I have been a coordinator, facilitator and special guest at eight English Immersion Camps around Venezuela for both pre-service English teachers and ACCESS students (a scholarship program for underpriviledges adolescents which is sponsored by the US Embassy).
I have taught several writing courses for those preparing personal statements, a statement of purpose and resumes in order to work or study abroad. I also taught an English beginners online course to adults through Schoology. So I have experience teaching English online, as well as in the classroom.
If not teaching directly in the classroom, I worked behind the scenes to create projects and the curriculum to be used for the certain classes. I worked on task-based projects for the teenage classes we taught, as well as creating a curriculum for the afterschool program implemented at the institution in order to engage learners at a young age and to increase their passion in reading and English comprehension.
Before living in Venezuela, I lived in Guanajuato, Mexico, working with the NGO Fundacion Comunitaria del Bajio in the small community of Trancas, Mexico. I taught English in both the elementary and middle school in the community and tutored adults on the weekends.
Before I started working in Mexico, I was an English as a Second Language tutor in the United States. I taught Hispanic immigrants basic English. I also volunteered in a bilingual Elementary School and taught the children English class.
I like to have an interactive approach to teaching and draw upon the Communicative Approach. I think it is important to keep the student engaged in the learning process and to use all four language skills (speaking, writing, listening and reading) in order to fully understand English.
The best way to learn is to understand how English can be applied to ¨real world¨ settings. I want to know the expectations and needs of each student so I can adapt my materials and teaching techniques to each student and ensure that they get the most out of each lesson. Speaking, understanding and focusing on communicating effectively are three of the main goals that my students will work on, along with having fun in the process!