- Eligibility – Nominee is a current NYS TESOL Member.
- Selection Criteria – Nominee demonstrates a commitment to the field.
– In addition to 12 months of recognition on our website, each year the
12 Members of the Month will be entered into a Raffle for a
complimentary registration to the NYS TESOL Annual Conference.
– Click the link below and tell us about your nominees contributions
to the field and/or our community of educators and students. A
NYS TESOL committee will review the entries and select the monthly
Meet the NYS TESOL Member of the Month for June 2016
Catherine DiFelice Box comes from a family of proud
teachers. While she admired her parents, aunt, and sister for their dedicated
work in the classroom, she had every intention of becoming a writer in Paris.
Nevertheless, she happily followed in the footsteps of her family members and became
a teacher herself, a decision she has never regretted.
Catherine holds an B.A. in English and French from
Muhlenberg College, and an M.A. in English Literature from West Chester
University, which goes to show that she was quite serious about the idea of
becoming a writer. Along the way, she began teaching writing to undergraduates
as a graduate student, and from that point on, she knew the classroom was her
home. She moved from the college composition class to the high school classroom
in Pennsylvania, and soon after to a high school in Paris (which shows she was
also quite serious about the Paris thing). In all her classroom experiences,
Catherine was particularly drawn to her students who were learning the dominant
language of the school and were adjusting to life in a new country; many of
these students had inspiring immigration stories. She returned to the United
States to pursue an Ed.M. in Applied Linguistics at Teachers College, Columbia
University, where she taught adult ESL and French courses. At present, she is
completing her doctorate at Teachers College and serving as full-time faculty
in the TESOL & Applied Linguistics Program. She works closely with
Professor Hansun Waring, engaging in classroom and teacher training research in
the conversation analytic paradigm, with the aspiration to work with fellow
teachers and researchers in order to improve second language pedagogy and
language teacher training. In 2012, she co-chaired the second annual meeting of
the Language and Social Interaction (LANSI) Working Group at Teachers College
with Professor Waring, and has remained an active member of the group. Also at
Teachers College, she has taught courses to aspiring teachers in TESOL
Classroom Practices, K-6 Teaching Methods, 7-12 Teaching Methods, and Student
Teaching Practica for both pre-service ENL and adult education ESL teachers.
She has also taught Discourse Analysis and the laboratory for Phonetics &
Phonology. She has provided academic, and sometimes therapeutic!, support as a
former edTPA fellow for New York teacher candidates. In addition, Catherine is
engaged in educational projects outside academia; currently, she is part of a
grant-funded team working on curriculum for the Salvation Army's after-school
While she loves to analyze data and facilitate
conversation in the halls of graduate school, Catherine's favorite place to be
is with the multilingual learners and their teachers in the classrooms of New
York City. Truth be told, Catherine loves just about any classroom, anywhere.
As part of work as a faculty member at Teachers College, she supervises student
teachers as they pursue initial certification in ENL, and has also mentored
student teachers in the adult ESL program, as well as the post-baccalaureate
TESOL Certificate Program. Through the experience of supervising, she has seen
beginning teachers blossom, experienced teachers shine, and children, from very
young to young-at-heart, work hard, sometimes against incredible odds, to
achieve their goals. It is perhaps for this last reason that she goes to bed
exhausted but happy on most nights.
Catherine has been a member of NYS TESOL since 2006, and
volunteered several times for the ALWC at Teachers College. She was an
executive board member of NYS TESOL from 2013-2015, where she served as the
SIGs Coordinator as a part of a wonderful 4-person team, who still sends group
texts to each other from time to time for old time's sake. Being part of NYS
TESOL has been richly rewarding, both on the professional and personal level.
Through NYS TESOL, she has learned to better advocate for the MLLs of New York
and their incredibly hardworking teachers. She has collaborated on research
projects and shared teaching ideas with fellow members. She has also made
Someday, she just might write that book while sitting in
a cafe in Paris. No doubt, it will be inspired by the children, the students,
the teachers, and the organization that brings them all together.