My Qualifications and Experience
This is me at Philadelphia's Magic Gardens. It's an AMAZING place! If you are in Philly, you should visit!!
Ed.M. in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from Boston University
CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) from International House Madrid
B.A. in History from Bryn Mawr College
Teaching English since 2004
1st language: English; 2nd language: Spanish; studied additional languages.
Member of TESOL International Association
20 years of writing experience. I have been published in Language Magazine, Thoughts and Ideas, and several other publications. I am the author of the children's story Nikolas and the Misfit Shapes Find Their Place and the spiritual fable The Life of Zerah (all non-ESOL writing is published under my super-cool pen name: Jordana Chana Mayim).
I'm currently writing a book for first year ESOL teachers.
Prior teaching experience includes: Boston University, Temple University, a public school, an immigration center, adult education centers, Berlitz Language Centers, Google, Accenture, The Spanish Ministry of Defense, and Real Colegio Complutense at Harvard University.
I have taught students of all ages and English levels, from beginner to proficient. Classes have included everything from general speaking/listening/reading/writing classes to creative writing, academic vocabulary, pronunciation and intonation, and TOEFL preparation.
In the U.S. (my birth country), I've taught in Philadelphia (my birth city) and Boston (my adopted city). Outside the U.S., I've taught in Spain (3.5 years) and Mexico, Argentina, and Greece (several weeks each) while traveling/volunteering.
I met Jennifer many years ago, when she was new to the field of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). I knew from the first time that I saw her teach that she was a born teacher and would be highly successful. I was right. Jennifer was such a good teacher that she decided to be formally trained in TESOL. She is now a real professional in the field with many years of experience working with adults from all over the world. She has taught in community-based and university environments. Her students rave about her. She is organized, caring, and committed to helping students succeed in learning English language skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing, grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary. Jennifer taught in the non-profit organization where I worked as Director of Education. She also taught at Temple University, where I currently teach. Both places know that they were lucky to have her as one of their teachers and would ask her back immediately if she were available. I have always enjoyed working with Jennifer. I hope to work for her company when it grows, and I am confident that it will. Study with Jennifer! You will not be sorry.
ESL and Linguistics Instructor and Tutor Trainer for the Mayor's Commission on Literacy, U.S.A.
Jennifer is the best English teacher that I have had. She knows the most common mistakes in English learning and corrects them. She is very patient and empathetic, with adults as much as with children. (She also taught my sons.) She has a lesson plan and material for classes, but she knows how to be flexible and improvises if she considers it useful or if the student would like to. She is completely reliable regarding schedules, commitments, and objectives. She knows how to suggest and expand on interesting topics in conversation classes using texts as an introduction, and maintains in her students a true interest in communication that goes beyond the pretext of basic conversation.
I am truly happy to be Jennifer's student. She is not only a great teacher but also a big supporter of my English learning.
Thanks to her, I started to enjoy studying English. Before I met Jennifer, studying English had been a nightmare for me. She supported me to gain confidence of speaking in English. She helped me to enjoy talking with her in English.
Also, what I like the most about her class is that she always gave me detailed feedback. Thanks to the most desired detailed feedback, I could learn daily expressions which are suitable for the situation and fix my bad habits in speaking English.
It is a much needed turning point of my English proficiency to meet Jennifer. If it were not for Jennifer, I would not have been confident and comfortable talking to other people in English. Thank you Jennifer!
Jihyung Lee, Korea
I met Jennifer Helfand at Temple University Intensive English Language Program (IELP). Jennifer taught me English on my first session in the IELP. At that time, my English writing skills were very low, and I was feeling homesick because it was my first month in the United States. Jennifer helped me improve my writing skills. Additionally, she was very positive, and I enjoyed being in her class. I chose her as a teacher again in my following level, and I also learned a lot and enjoyed. I truly believe that my English skills would not be the same today if I did not have Jennifer as my teacher in the IELP. Thank you.
Abdulrahman Alsulaiman, Saudi Arabia
Jennifer Helfand is very nice and friendly person also she is wonderful English language teacher. I took a couple group classes with Jennifer in The Cambridge Center for Adult Education. I liked a positive classroom atmosphere there, how she communicated with the students. Our activities and discussions helped student to feel comfortable speaking English.
I also had a private class with Jennifer. She helped me a lot to improve my English level. She is always organized and well-prepared for a class. Jennifer gave me interesting materials to study. At the end of each class, I got a list with explanation of my mistakes it helped me not make the same mistakes again.
Jennifer Helfand is a great teacher! I recommend her to everyone!
Katya Ruanet, Russia
These few words are a testimonial in support of Jennifer Helfand. Jennifer was my English teacher in 2013 and I have to admit that today I am missing her. In my case, our classes were one to one conversation and when I met her I immediately felt really comfortable and confident. Her high standard and experience in teaching languages built a vibrant learning environment and at the same time relaxed and enjoyable.
Jennifer is a skilled professional, curious and talented. In conclusion, it was a pleasure having Jennifer as my English teacher. I highly recommend her.
Angela Rodriguez, Spain
How I Started Teaching and Why I Love It
Hello and welcome to English To Inspire You! My name is Jennifer Helfand, and this is the story of how I started teaching English.
YEARS AGO, when I was just a teenager, I began to dream about living in other countries. I never really fit in very well in the U.S., and I thought, “There must be other ways to live.”
At 26 I finally set out to discover them. I visited Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. It was a whirlwind tour: three countries in eleven days. It was also life-changing. I lived experiences that up until then I had only dreamed about. And this is what happens when you fulfill one dream: other dreams begin to feel possible to fulfill as well.
I decided to move to Spain, but I had no idea how I was going to make a living.
As I started to look for ways to earn money while abroad, I came across the following sentence in a book: “If you speak English, you can find a job anywhere.” It sounded so easy. It wasn’t.
In an effort to gain some experience teaching in the U.S. before moving to Spain, I volunteered to teach ESOL, English to Speakers of Other Languages, to immigrants and refugees in Philadelphia. Once again, my life completely changed. Teaching was only supposed to be a means to an end. Instead, it was a beginning.
Through teaching, I have met incredible people from all over the world. I have had the privilege and joy of teaching them and learning from them. I have become a happier, braver, more open-minded person. The small world in which I had once lived opened up to an enormous, exquisite universe. I have had experiences more fantastic than my dreams. And I have been able to help my students fulfill their dreams.
This is what learning languages can do.
My journey to traveling, teaching, and living abroad began in a Spanish language classroom when I was 12. The space was small: 24 desks squeezed tightly together. But languages are so much larger than the small rooms in which they are taught. Languages can cross boundaries; they can fulfill dreams; they can change lives.