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  • FrancesBellingSpotlight

Frances Belling

  • Programs: Continuing Education, English as a Second Language

    Education: B.A. in Education, graduate courses

    Has taught at SCC since: 2010

    Years of Work Experience Outside SCC: 20

    Describe your teaching philosophy.
    Teaching is all about the students. A teacher’s responsibility is to help the learner reach their learning and life goals. A part of teaching is helping students to identify their goals and monitor their progress toward those goals. It is important to teach study skills along with subject materials and help students develop confidence in their abilities.

    Why did you decide to teach at a community college?
    During my student teaching I realized that teaching children was not right for me. In looking for an alternative way to use my education, I decided to try adult education. I began with volunteering in a literacy program at a community college. My first experience was tutoring a truck driver with limited reading skills who wanted to pass the test to drive hazardous materials. I had found my passion for teaching adults. At another community college where I was volunteering, the director asked me to substitute for an ESL class. I was hooked and as they say, “the rest is history.”

    What can prospective students expect when they enroll in your classes?
    Students can expect to become more fluent and be able to use English in their everyday lives. They can also learn about American culture. As they become more fluent, they can find better jobs, help their families, become more involved in the community, and pursue further education. In my classroom students can expect to be actively involved through work with partners, learning games, other activities, and projects. Learning vocabulary through BINGO is very popular. Also, the fly swatter game for pronunciation was fun, but we had to stop because the students’ speaking volume was disturbing the class next door.

    What experiences outside of SCC do you bring to the classroom/laboratory that enhance student learning?
    My everyday life enhances my students’ learning. By being aware of the natural language used in different situations, I teach the students common words and expressions not used in the formal language taught in many books. I also take advantage of many workshops, conferences webinars and other professional development opportunities.

    What advice do you have for students pursuing a degree in your program?
    Although students do not receive a degree in the ESL program, most of them are pursuing better employment and advanced education. My advice is simple. Study, practice and read outside the classroom. A few hours a week in the classroom is not enough time to become fluent. I also talk with students about taking responsibility for their own learning. As the saying goes, “You can take a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink. They have to ‘drink the water’ to learn.

    What do you enjoy most about working with students?
    I enjoy seeing the faces and hearing the pride and happiness of students as they succeed and become more confident. It is very rewarding to hear a student say they used their skills outside the classroom. Here are a few examples. (They didn't use perfect English, but they were able to communicate.) “I go to the doctor and no need a interpreter.”  “I am a citizen.”  “I help my children with their homework.” Learning from the students also is enjoyable. Many of them have had experiences I can only partially understand. Some have a lot more education than I do, including a couple of engineers. They all have something they teach me. Last week we had a discussion about refugees, and I learned many more details of the process and assistance given to refugees in the United States.

    What is the best part about being an SCC faculty member?
    The best part of being an SCC faculty member is the fantastic people. Everyone has been very helpful and friendly to me, including my fellow instructors, office staff, custodians, supervisors, administrative assistants, people at the testing center, and the list goes on. An administrative assistant helped me find a convenient place to store my materials and an unused classroom that better suited the class. Just yesterday an instructor in another department who had once used a classroom before my class stopped to say hello.

    What has been your proudest moment as an instructor?
    There have been many proud moments in seeing the progress of the students. At the end of each quarter when the students are tested, I feel proud of the improvement in their scores. One incident from years ago involved a student from Yemen who came to my class only knowing the English words “hello” and “thank you.” She had minimal education in her language. I recently learned through Facebook that she now has a bachelor’s degree. I am very proud of her achievements.

    What do you like to do when you’re not teaching?
    Most of all I enjoy spending time with my family. We have a tradition of a weekly individual time at a coffee shop with my husband and each of my two adult sons. I also like to watch romantic movies, read, listen to audio books, do crossword puzzles, knitting, and counted cross-stitch.

    What would students be surprised to know about you?
    Students would probably be surprised to know how much English I don’t know. The more I know, the more I know I don’t know. My children are more fluent than I am with the new terminology of technology. Also, reading and doing crossword puzzles can be very humbling.

    Is there anything you’d like to add?
    I would like to thank everyone at SCC who has helped my students and me.