Suma Balagopal

Suma BalagopalSuma’s genuine exuberant spirit permeates her class creating a supportive and burgeoning learning environment. She brings to her classroom the real life experiences and life lessons she has acquired as a marketing management professional and as a student of life. She teaches from a practical standpoint addressing the perspective of the student with an aim to opening up the learner’s mind to new possibilities.  Her classroom is often a venue for discussions and the sharing of life events where learners find a place to voice their needs, experiences and challenges. Suma finds the methodology of practical and collaborative teaching extremely effective, particularly when dealing with learners in the process of cultural on-boarding.

Suma motivates her learners to not just do their best but actually excel. It’s one of her many qualities that has made her an outstanding teacher in a relatively short time.  She started teaching part time at the multi-level LINC classes at Caledon Community Services in 2007, but just seven months later found herself teaching full-time, 25 hours a week. What motivates her? Some will tell you that she has managed to take teaching and learning to a whole new level, using all available teaching technologies and methods to her advantage. To her, nothing sounds sweeter than listening to the success stories of the learners in her class.

She is instinctive in her style of outreach to each of her students. She can be as quiet and encouraging as she can be insistent and demanding. And without exception, her determination to do right by all of her students generates a track record that is simply exceptional. Her students have consistently been grand prize winners for the last three years at the ESL week contest. During the celebration of these winners, time after time, they highlight Suma’s passionate pursuit of positivity in her learners. She opens her bag of tricks to get her learners to view English as a fun filled journey to the achievement of their goals. She is sometimes endearingly referred to as the ‘horse whisperer’ by her students who have gained a lot from her suggestions to embrace their new country and get involved in the community outside their classroom. True to her word, Suma is available to her students, always.

When she’s not teaching, she engages her former and current students through a facebook page. That page is now growing into a community of newcomers who have been in her class and are eager to stay connected. When time permits, she also volunteers as a facilitator at a conversation cafe. She is also an active member in TESL Ontario’s social media content committee since 2013. She attributes a huge part of her success to the unwavering backing of Caledon Community Services. On a daily basis, she looks forward to bringing to life her organization’s mission of ‘helping people help themselves’.