Meet Chloe Donnelly

Introduce yourself in a few words. (educational background / years of experience)

My name is Chloe Donnelly, and I have been teaching ESL for almost four years now. It started as a summer gig teaching children in northern Italy, and quickly became my passion. It’s the perfect job because it combines my two great loves in life: traveling and language. This love is reflected in my formal education: I got my Bachelor’s Degree in English from Humboldt State University, but only after transferring all around California and Italy and acquiring credits from nine other colleges…Currently, I am pursuing a Master of English in Linguistics at San Francisco State University.

What do you like most about being a teacher at EC?

I have taught at a few different language schools, both locally and abroad, and I can confidently say that EC really has something special. I have never encountered a more positive atmosphere, or a kinder working environment. Of course, staff and teachers alike share an interest and engagement with language that makes me feel at home, but even beyond that, I truly believe that everyone I meet in this building, for the most part, really wants to be here–and it shows.

What’s your favorite skill to teach?

This will come as no surprise to my students and coworkers, but I love to teach writing. It is a fantastic way to synthesize and experiment with the grammar and vocabulary students are learning, and I like to give them a creative space to do that. I think the more they feel comfortable playing with the language, the more they will be able to make it their own. Plus, selfishly, I really love to hear people’s stories. I like to teach sensory language: adjectives to describe the sights, sounds, smells, and textures–and then ask my students to write about their childhood home and the street they grew up on. When they share their writing, the class can be transported from a freezing winter day in rural Siberia, to a sizzling summer night on the streets of Sao Paulo–all without leaving the classroom. Then, if we are lucky comes the most beautiful moment of all: when a student feels proud of something they wrote. I want them to surprise themselves with how vividly they can tell their stories, how fully they can be seen by their classmates.

What’s the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you in the classroom?

In the spring of 2018 I was teaching in northern Italy, and it would get really warm and humid, even during our night class. Sometimes I would get ink from the dry erase marker on my hand, and because the air was so damp, the ink would easily transfer to the skin on my face if I scratched my nose or adjusted my glasses. The result, on more than one occasion, was that I had large smears of blue and / or green ink all over my face. My students politely tried pointing it out, but I usually just made a joke out of it and rubbed it in more.

What’s a word / phrase that you repeat so much in your classroom?

“Play with the language! Make it yours.”

Do you want to meet Ms. Chloe? Please sign up for English Courses in San Francisco