Wendy Dodek

How long have you been teaching classes with BA&CE?

It has been over six years since I began teaching at BA&CE.

What are the different classes that you teach or have taught for BA&CE?

I’ve delivered a lecture about the seasons in Japan and another lecture on art in colonial Boston. Mostly, I’ve taught Intermediate and Advanced ESL classes. I particularly enjoy the classes where we focus on the art and history of the region. This allows students to enhance their English while developing an understanding and appreciation of the Boston area.

What do you do for work and/or enjoyment when you’re not teaching?

I enjoy travel, bicycling, photography, and writing essays. Prior to the pandemic, I was the Lead Educator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston developing artist demonstrations, producing live events, and giving talks in the Galleries.

What do you like about teaching at BA&CE?

The opportunity to meet so many fascinating people from all over the world, learn about their cultures, and hopefully, help them acclimate to life in the Boston area.

How do you connect with the students?

I include many cross-cultural discussion topics, which encourages students to share points of confusion, disappointments, and of course, pleasure in the differences between their home culture and Boston.

Do you have a favorite memory from one of your classes?

The final class from each course is always particularly memorable. When we could meet in person, sometimes students would bring in a favorite dish from their home countries and share memories of enjoying that dish when they were back home. In the relaxed atmosphere, some students would sing or dance—display talents that nobody knew that they had until the last day of class. During this pandemic time, on the final day, students share a favorite place in their
home countries, presenting information and including images which they share on the Zoom screen.

What do you look forward to in your next BA&CE class?

I am particularly looking forward to teaching “Amazing Bostonians,” a class that I developed last year during the pandemic. We explore the lives of intriguing and sometimes less well-known people from Massachusetts who’ve made significant contributions in many different fields from medicine to sports to culinary arts Students share stories of noteworthy people from their own culture and we have a lively discussion.

Finally, have you taught any online classes? If so, any takeaways or tips for those considering an online class?

Yes, during the pandemic I have only taught online classes. As the instructor, I try to simplify the Zoom procedure, especially early on in the course to limit frustration. Also, I use the breakout rooms frequently to encourage small group discussions among the students. Additionally, I like to use the “share screen” function so that students have interesting visuals to look at.