Hi, my name is Eli (Elizabeth) Dinamarca Clarke. I am a Chilean who has been living in the US for almost 8 years. When I moved to this country, my primary goal was to learn English. My secondary goal was to earn a Master’s degree and later on go back to work in my home country. At the school where I took my first ESL (English as a second language) classes, I learned a lot. My teachers were great! They were so dedicated and helpful. These classes were free, so I really wasn’t expecting a lot since in my country education is really expensive. We do not have free English or computer classes like here in the US, not at least when I was living there.
One day, one of my teachers asked me if I wanted to help her with some student’s grammar. I was delighted, since grammar was my favorite subject. Later on, I was asked if I wanted to be a tutor. I felt that I was being paid to learn English and do what I loved, teach grammar. I really enjoyed helping other students. I remember my first students (as I use to call them, not tutee) were a Chilean girl, an Italian, several Mexicans, and a Guatemalan. This experience allowed me to realize how much I enjoyed helping and learning at the same time; therefore, I decided to become a teacher. Once I finished all the ESL levels offered at the school, I transfered to a community college to learn some writing skills.
Later, while working in an ESL classroom, an instructor for the Business Skills Department saw me helping some students. She asked me where I was from and I explained who I was. She asked me to go View her class when I had a chance. Later on, I ended up teaching a bilingual computer class for her. My first class was at Taller San Jose in Santa Ana, CA.
After about a year, I moved to San Diego, CA. I got a job with SDCCD and started teaching computer classes to ESL students at the Cesar Chavez Campus in Barrio Logan. After all these experiences, I decided to get a Master’s in Education with an emphasis in TESOL. I earned my Master’s in December of 2005 from ALLIANT International University.
Currently, I am still teaching at Cesar Chavez Campus and I have added one more school to my curriculum, MiraCosta College.
At MiraCosta, I have been working in a lab where we offer ESL classes, Citizenship, and Crossroads Café. I have also taught the bridging class and currently, I am teaching level 5.
I love what I do, and I always thank my first mentors, friends, and teachers form Centennial!