From the Desk of…. Raana Jilani

I have been a teacher for over twenty years now. I started tutoring privately while I was still an undergraduate student in a university in Karachi, Pakistan. When I graduated from the program, I landed my first school teaching job. I started as a teacher of chemistry and general science, but my interest in literature motivated me to study English literature. So, I gradually started teaching English in the same school and when I completed my master’s in English literature, I got job as a lecturer in a prestigious public college. Since then, I have mainly worked in higher education institutions that include Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana PA where I taught research writing and ESOL to undergraduate students. However, after moving to Rochester I had a few opportunities to teach ESOL and ELA in schools in the city until I found my place in Monroe One BOCES as an adult education teacher.
            Having worked with adults seeking HSE diploma or proficiency in English, I believe I have found my purpose. I love working with my students in one-on-one and small group settings. I feel elated when I am successful in making a connection with my students and creating a learning environment for them where they feel safe, supported, and encouraged to learn. I also think that research and collaboration among likeminded educators can promote innovative approaches and creative ways to meet adult students’ varied needs. That’s why I joined Literacy Rochester which has been doing amazing work in this field since 1964.    
            In my free time I like to cook for my family. I am from Pakistan, so I naturally prefer Indian/Pakistani food but my husband, Reza, is from Iran. So, I have been learning to make Iranian cuisine too. My daughter, Hasana, also likes Mexican and Italian dishes and over the years I have learned to make some popular Italian and Mexican food.
            Another of my favorite thing to do is read fiction. There was a time when I loved to read novels. However, over the years I have developed interest in short stories. Some of my favorite short story writers are O’ Henry, Langston Hughes, Somerset Maugham and Saki.
            I believe that contextualized research can help enhance our understanding of contemporary educational issues and may lead to reform and innovation in teaching. Therefore, this year in Fall, I will start my Ph. D. in Foreign and Second Language Education at University of Buffalo. Although most of my career has been focused on teaching of English as a second language, my experience in adult education in the US has inspired me to pursue this research in this area. I hope my work at Literacy Rochester and my ambition for research will help me grow and make some relevant contribution to the field.

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