Devon Balwit

DevonDevon has been teaching English for over 24 years.

She has a Masters in English Literature.

She has been at PELA since 1997.

Why did you become a teacher? "I come from a family of teachers. I am an extremely physical person, and teaching allows me to be constantly in motion. Also, each class is its own new thing, so I can be endlessly inventive."

What experience do you have learning a foreign language or living in a foreign culture? "I've studied French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, and Japanese. I've spent time studying Spanish in both Guatemala and Ecuador, and I lived in Ecuador for a year."

How has your international experience helped your teaching? "It's always a good reminder for the teacher to experience communicating in a foreign language. What I noticed most is how much my personality changed. I could only show the "edited" version of me–with all the humor and intelligence cut out. It was humbling. It gives me more compassion for our students who are very smart, but sometimes have trouble expressing their ideas."

What do you do when you are away from school? "My best times are spent doing physical things out of doors–I love hiking, walking, yoga, and biking. I am also a folk singer, an artist, and a poet."

Why do you like Portland? "Portland gives you daily access to amazing physical beauty–you can hike, swim, mountain-climb, canoe, raft, ski all within 2 hours of the city. The views are spectacular. The city parks are fantastic. The people are laid back and friendly."

Why do you recommend our school to students? "The staff is very dedicated to helping students learn English in ways that are both entertaining and effective. It has a great location–both in terms of being downtown, and in terms of being in the Pacific Northwest, which is lovely."

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