A Little About Me

Hi! I’m Cathy Simonton from EnglishHints.com, and I love studying languages and teaching English! I have been speaking English all my life and Spanish for most of it. (I've also studied a little Chinese, Portuguese, German, and a tiny bit of Ukrainian-- just enough to know how much I don't know!) I studied a little Latin in high school. just for fun, but I never guessed how useful I would find it!

photo of Catherine Simonton (website author)
photo of Catherine Simonton (website author)

I started this website at the end of 2011, (with the much-needed help of the site-building tools and advice of sbi!), but I’ve been teaching English since 2003. (For a couple of years before that I subbed in classes from elementary to high school, especially in junior high. My credentials include a clear adult ESL designated subjects credential from the state of California, and a 120-hour TEFL certificate.)

I’ve taught adult ESL for beginners, intermediate-advanced students, and multi-level classes.

I’ve also taught Mexican nurses preparing for the NCLEX exam. (I have a little background in nursing and a lot of reading in the health fields since then.)

The immediate inspiration for this website was the difficulty my students had with the NCLEX. They were well-trained, experienced nurses who had studied some English, but they needed a much better understanding of it for questions testing their thinking-in-English and judgment.

I realized the need for lots of reading, both for vocabulary and for the way thoughts and instructions are expressed in English. Later I was impressed at how many words from the first five or six levels of  the Academic Word List showed up on sample NCLEX tests, everything from 'accurate' to 'indications' to 'requirements.' 

In fact, for almost anyone who wants to study or work using English, conversational English isn't enough. That's why so many pages on EnglishHints teach academic vocabulary as well. (See English Vocabulary as well as Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes and Vocabulary Games and Activities for links to lots of academic vocabulary help and practice.)

I want to share with you lessons and exercises designed to increase your English comprehension, vocabulary, and test-taking skills.

One wonderful benefit of learning (or teaching) a language is the chance to share insights and experiences with people of very different cultural backgrounds. In Spanish there is a proverb that says “cada cabeza es un mundo”-- every head is a world. Listening and responding to people of different perspectives opens new worlds to us. It greatly enriches life!

Reading is another way to learn about someone else’s world and outlook-- as well as to greatly increase English vocabulary and fluency. I was fortunate to work in a public library system for almost ten years after I graduated from college. (This was before the Worldwide Web, when libraries were the main source of information for research.) I loved helping people find the books or information they needed.

The Internet makes so many resources easily available now! When I started teaching ESL it was difficult to find materials to supplement the textbook, and websites where our students could practice after class-- since some wanted extra practice,

Now there is almost too much available, but finding the best lessons and practice materials is still a challenge. One purpose of the English Detective newsletter is to suggest useful websites and materials for teaching or studying English. (I also try to share the best I've found in ESL Lesson Plans for Teachers and the pages it links to. Materials I've made-- often starting from pages on EnglishHints, but especially adapted to classrooms-- are mostly on the pages linked from ESL Worksheets.)

I’m happily married, with one daughter who is a high school English teacher. We live in California, very near to the border with Mexico, so we can visit friends on each side of the border often.

What about you? Where do you live? How long have you been studying English? What are your interests and goals? Do you have any suggestions about how EnglishHints.com could be more helpful? You can contact me directly, to make suggestions or just tell a little about yourself, here:

Questions or comments? Let me know!

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