Ellsworth Elementary Middle School

Colleen Mutlu » Home

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I have been employed in Ellsworth for the past 8 years, the first two years as an ESL Ed Tech and the last six years as an ESL teacher.  I graduated from the University of Maine in Orono in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education and German.  I hold Highly Qualified K-12 teaching certifications in ESL and German.  Teaching English to those from diverse linguistic and ethnic backgrounds is both my career choice and my passion. There is no way to predict the myriad of factors that can affect an English Language Learner.  Teaching English Learners is an ongoing process of getting to know the student’s language ability, strengths, weaknesses, interests, and ability to adapt.  Flexibility, reflectivity, patience, a desire to learn, and the utmost respect and reverence for each human being are necessary.  It is the mixture of the complexity and the humanity within the field that makes it so rewarding.

I have been on both the teaching and learning side of second language learning.  I traveled to Germany for a year after High School as an exchange student.  The experience of traveling to another country without knowing the language in an attempt to grow linguistically and culturally rewarded me with humility, compassion, and an understanding of the complexity of language learning.  I have also witnessed my husband’s challenges as he has adapted to a language and culture completely different from his own.  English is my husband’s third language and the way of life and cultural norms in the United States contrast greatly to life in Turkey, his homeland.  Although he has been here for over 20 years and has acclimated well to our society, barriers to his success still exist due to misunderstanding.  These experiences have taught me how vital ongoing support to Second Language Learners is.  

During my eight years working with English Learners in Ellsworth, I have been caught off guard by the challenges my students face and their ability to rise above them.  I feel rewarded by the opportunity to take part in a collaborative effort to help these students demonstrate their true ability.