MacDuffie Welcomes Dana Katz to the ELL Department

Alison Jackson, Managing Editor

This past September, MacDuffie welcomed a host of new faculty and staff members to its campus for the 2018-2019 school year. One of these recent additions to the community was English Language Learners (ELL) teacher Dana Katz, who currently teaches ELL I and ELL II as well as a Humanities course that spans multiple levels of ELL.

Katz has been teaching ELL for 15 years and chose to pursue this field because of her lifelong interest in anthropology, the study of other cultures. When she first went to college, Katz majored in Anthropology and hoped to travel the world studying other cultures, but ultimately pursued ELL because it combined this interest with another one of her passions: the English language.

“I thought about my love for people around the world and combined that with my fondness for English language and literature and found that teaching ELL is the best of both worlds,” Katz said.

Katz also cited the advantages of knowing how to speak English as one of her motivations for teaching ELL, likening the importance of learning the language to the phrase “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, but teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.”

“Teaching ELL, in my opinion, is like ‘teaching a person to fish’ because it’s giving students the tools they need to succeed, whether that means getting a job or being able to study in the U.S,” she explained.

Motivated by this ideology, Katz obtained a Masters of Arts degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and began teaching ELL for a range of educational levels, including high school, community college, university, and adult education. Additionally, Katz taught English internationally—an endeavor that she called a “real adventure”—in nations such as Japan and Israel.

When asked about her favorite aspects of teaching the English language, Katz responded that she particularly enjoys “being of service of others” and the feeling of fulfillment that is derived from providing students with an important skill.

“I need to be able to look at myself in the mirror every night before bed and know that I have been a useful, helpful person that day,” Katz said.

Katz also appreciates the creativity that comes with her profession and mentioned that she is able to laugh with her students every day at MacDuffie, whom she described as “bright and polite, friendly, and hardworking.”

Thus, it is no surprise that Katz has had a positive experience at MacDuffie so far and said that she has been “nothing but impressed” since arriving on campus at the end of the summer.

Outside of of teaching, Katz enjoys swimming, cooking, traveling, and singing. Katz has a 15 year-old son and an 11 year-old daughter and is a member of Rock Voices, an adult rock choir from Northampton, MA. She additionally said that she tries to keep up to date with current events as well as read once a day.