English as a Second Language

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María-Clara García

 Maria Clara Garcia




A.S., Santa Barbara City College; B.A., University of California, Santa Barbara


Like many of our students, I was a second language learner when I came to this country. My first contact with second language learning was in 1971 when I started taking classes at Alisos School in Carpinteria, California. Not knowing where to place me, I was soon sent to Carpinteria Middle School. I was brand new in the country and to the English language. The Carpinteria schools really did not have an ESL program in those days. I started my education in this country much as our Continuing Education ESL students do now. I am a product of second language learning, Carpinteria High School, Santa Barbara City College and the University of California at Santa Barbara. I fortunately had the opportunity and desire to pursue my education beyond high school, and I had the support of my family, and the SBCC and UCSB faculty and support staff. My parents came here as immigrants and then brought the entire family to live in the United States permanently. I am the only person in my family to have graduated from the university. My parents became part of the immigrant experience of this country in the late 60s, and later became U.S. citizens as most of my brothers, sisters and I have done. Unfortunately, I see the third generation of English speaking children in my family now speaking some Spanish but less and less. While I was a student at UCSB,

I became part of the ESL program in the SBCC Continuing Education program in 1983 when I was able to become a teaching assistant for Rudy Perez in Carpinteria. I learned much while assisting Rudy, and I thought that teaching students much like me when I first came to the country would be rewarding. When I graduated from UCSB in 1984, I applied for an Adult Ed job the following year teaching ESL and was grateful in securing a teaching position in Carpinteria. My first supervisor was Eleanor Wood, and I have now been teaching over twenty years. My husband and I live in Carpinteria and try to learn about other cultures and languages by traveling when we can. It was and is a joy to be able to work with beginning ESL students in the Continuing Education program. I feel I can help them and encourage them since I have walked the path they are now on. I do my best to always upgrade my language and teaching abilities in order to help my students, and I look forward to continuing to work with my ESL students to help them succeed.

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