15:25 PM

ESL Teacher Expands Classes at USTMAX to include Intermediate Level

Theresa WoodsActing and ESL Classes: How A Teacher Combines Both Disciplines.

Since she was a young child, Theresa Woods has known what she wanted to do. She wanted to become a teacher. Now, with decades of experience under her belt as a teacher and public school administrator, Woods is coming to USTMAX Center, the University of St Thomas-Houston (UST) micro-campus located in Conroe, Texas, to become the lead instructor at the center's first English as a Second Language (ESL) Intermediate Course.

"I live in this area and was excited to see University of St. Thomas become part of it,” Woods said. “I love teaching ESL and am so grateful for this opportunity."

Woods' connection with UST began in 1986 when she obtained her ESL, Texas Instructor Certification at St. Thomas. Recently, however, she reconnected with UST when she walked into the USTMAX office to inquire about classes for herself but wound up in conversations with UST administrators who were interested in Woods’ ESL experience. Little did she know that instead of becoming a returning student, she would become the teacher of one of the most sought-after courses at USTMAX.

Woods’ Initial Interest in ESL

Woods first became interested in ESL while working in Alief ISD and then as a principal in the Willis Independent School District. She recognized a need for General Educational Development (GED) and ESL classes.

"My school created night classes for parents and community members through a partnership with Region 6 ESC. The goal was for parents to help themselves and their children," said Woods.

Currently, as instructor and director of the GED program at Conroe Independent School District, where she has worked for the past 18 years, this mother of two and grandmother to seven also manages to direct C. KIDZ Theater School, an after-school program that teaches acting, self-confidence, and reading fluency to children.

Are there elements from teaching acting that Woods brings into her ESL classroom? The answer is a solid yes!

Woods said, "ESL is quite visual as is acting, improv and pantomime. Second-language learners who learn a monologue can improve their pronunciation at a rapid rate. So, acting and ESL go together well!"

According to Dr. Carla E. Alsandor, Senior Director of USTMAX, the ESL program continues to thrive. Partly because of the community's great need, but partly because of the excellence of faculty members like Woods.

"Seeing the large number of prospective students each semester reinforces our commitment to providing ESL for adult learners in our community,” Alsandor said. “Theresa’s teaching expertise is making it possible to expand the program. We are very grateful to her and look forward to serving more students."

Woods has a message for those who have considered taking ESL classes.

"The time is now! Have you thought about improving your English language skills in a place that is close to home? And in a class where you might even have fun? Try intermediate English at USTMAX in Conroe!”

The new intermediate-level English as a Second Language classes at USTMAX will start June 6 and conclude July 13. Click here to register.