by Suzie Adjogah
Teacher: Ailish Zompa
Subjects: ESOL 1, ESOL 2 and Modern World History (ESOL)
Education: B.A. from Rutgers University, M.A. from George Washington University
Other Jobs: None
First Year At Blair: 2001
Hobbies: Reading, Traveling, Biking
Extra Curricular Activities: None
ESOL teacher Ailish Zompa did not realize that she wanted to become a teacher until college. Even though her mother was a teacher, Zompa had always thought she would become a journalist. Luckily, she chose to teach instead. She is now an ESOL teacher at Blair and is very happy with the path her career has taken.
Although Zompa did not consider pursuing a career in teaching during high school, she had two "amazing" English teachers whose classes remain with her still. "They are role models to me," she says. "They treated their students with respect."
Because of the influence of her two teachers and her mother, Zompa went on to become a teacher herself. "When I tried [teaching] as an undergrad, it felt natural to me and I loved it," she says happily.
Zompa taught at many other schools before coming to Blair. She first worked as a student teacher in Piscataway, NJ. After college, she taught as a substitute in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Then, from 1995 to 1997, she served in the Peace Corps in Kyustendil, Bulgaria, where she taught at the Emil Ivanov Math and Science High School. Upon returning to the US, Zompa taught an adult ESOL class in Phoenix, AZ. She moved to the Silver Spring area in 2001 and took teaching internships at Einstein High School and Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School before securing her current job at Blair.
Zompa thoroughly enjoys teaching at Blair, especially in the ESOL department. "Blair has a great faculty and student body," she says with a smile. "My students are a pleasure to teach."
Another aspect of Blair that Zompa likes is its students' involvement. She often sees them bringing up and acting upon important issues, such as the environment, equality, and politics. These actions, she says, completely disprove the "'kids these days' cynicism" among adults.
In spite of Blair's many good qualities, Zompa thinks Blair is too big. "The size of the school prevents teachers from getting to know each other," she says.
Her passion for helping students improve causes Zompa to enjoy her beginners' class, ESOL 1, the most. "The greatest thing about the class," she says, "is looking back and seeing very clearly the progress that the students have made."
With her enthusiastic demeanor and zeal for teaching, Zompa will continue providing foreign students with a strong foundation for learning English.