"My name is Anna Silliman. I began my professional life as a German instructor (MA in Germanic Languages from Indiana University). I lived overseas for several years and began teaching English while in Berlin. I decided teaching English was a lot of fun, and I liked the idea that my work could benefit immigrants. So, I returned to the U.S. and studied for a Master's degree in TESOL at Teachers College, Columbia University.
"I have had many opportunities to teach ESL in a wide variety of settings. I have taught in a university intensive program, at community colleges, in a refugee program, and in adult programs. In every case my greatest enthusiasm was for the adult immigrant students who were here to start a new life. Teaching them was a joy and a great privilege.
"A few years ago, however, I became frustrated with the kinds of programs available for adult students, and with the low expectations and poor conditions of teaching in those programs. I wanted to do something that would make a difference.
"I came up with the idea of starting a newsletter for teachers and tutors who are teaching ESL to adults, with helpful hints, classroom strategies and copyable lessons to try with their students. My first mailing in the spring of 1991 was to only 17 subscribers! Now we mail to about 2,000 subscribers across the U.S. and overseas.
"I really want Hands-on English to be a 'helping hand' for people teaching ESL under difficult conditions, making their job easier and more fun. If you teach ESL, I hope you'll subscribe and join this network of wonderful people who are doing what you do."
Best wishes, Anna
p.s. In January 2000 Alta Book Center Publishers published a book that I wrote with Abbie Tom, entitled "Practical Resources for Adult ESL." It's a collection of 260 book reviews to help you find the best materials that we think work with adult ESL students. You can read all about it on our Resource book page.
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