Thanks for your question Alan. After joining the forum here, I thought it would be great to start teaching students in person, so I joined the Nashville Adult Literacy Council as a volunteer tutor. My office primarily teaches English to recent immigrants. The majority of my students are Coptic Christians from Egypt, who seem to settle in Nashville in large numbers, although I get to tutor people from all over the world - Mexico, Japan, Korea, China, Laos, Ethiopia, Somalia, Togo, Senegal, Brazil, among others.
I have no formal training in teaching or education though. In high school I was a member of our “Ready Writing” contest team, in which we would have to write five paragraph essays on a topic given to us at the contest and also do analysis of a poem that would be given to us. I took “advanced placement” English classes in high school and did so well that I received six hours of college English credits and therefore did not have to take any English classes in college. I was majoring in electrical engineering and found this a relief, but now of course I wish I had gotten the opportunity to learn more about English and literature.
I got my Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, worked for two years as an engineer at a paper mill, then returned to school to get a Master’s degree in manufacturing systems engineering. After that, I got a job designing manufacturing systems Specifically I designed control systems for various types of factory automation - box makers, conveyor belts, wire drawing machines, printing presses, automotive parts test beds, CNC machines, process control, really a wide variety of different applications. When we had our first child, my wife and I decided that I would be the one to stay home with our son, so for the past 17 years I have been a “domestic engineer”, also known as a stay-at-home dad for my three boys, ages 17, 15, and 13.