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Teaching with Gratitude
Teaching with Gratitude

Paolamantina Grullon-Livingstone, who is in her second year teaching Spanish at Forman School, took an interesting path to Litchfield. Along the way, she learned English and gained considerable experience in boarding school life. 

Born and raised in the city of Santiago in the Dominican Republic, Paola came to the United States at 17. She enrolled at The Canterbury School in New Milford, CT as a postgraduate student and her main goal was to learn English which she did well enough to gain acceptance to Ohio-Wesleyan University. 

While in college, she met and married her husband, Edmund, who was one year ahead of Paola. Upon graduation, Edmund got a teaching job at The Greenhill School in Addison, Texas where the couple moved. After transitioning from a student visa to a residency card, Paola began to teach in an adjunct role at Greenhill in 2010 as well. 

After a year teaching, Paola went on to complete her college education at the University of North Texas and finished in 2012 with a major in psychology while also studying speech and language pathology and language development in children. 

For family reasons, the couple desired a move to the northeast in 2015. Edmund got a job at Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia and Paola transitioned back from a stay at home mom and really went to work.

"I was teaching Spanish to 230 students between two schools," says Paloa. "I was at Frankford Friends School and also at Lansdowne Friends. Then in 2016, I switched Frankford Friends to Haverford Friends for an easier commute but kept two jobs. I was teaching from pre-K all the way to eighth grade. I had ten classes to prepare at each school."

While their careers were progressing, Edmund and Paola began their family. Anabella was born in 2012, Sebastián arrived in 2014, and Máximo joined the clan in 2017. 

In the fall of 2017, Edmund moved to support Paola's career and the family settled into Dobbins as Paola started teaching Spanish at Forman. Balancing a family with dorm parenting and teaching is not easy but it's a much better than having twenty preps. "I couldn't do it without Edmund's support, says Paola. "He has really helped me and we are a good team." 

Caring for her children as well as the students in her dorm has turned out to be a mutually beneficial relationship. "Dorm life has helped my children grow socially," she says. "Though they are still young, they have learned to respect the students' privacy and to knock on doors before entering. The students have also learned to be quiet and sensitive when one of my kids is sick. They are careful not to slam doors, things like that. The kids humanize me for the students." 

In addition to dorm life, teaching at Forman is meaningful to Paola. She tells all of her classes about her journey to Forman. She learned a second language as a teenager at a boarding school and the kids feel a connection. "Because this is high school, I can go beyond teaching basic conversational vocabulary and grammar," she says. "We talk in class about much more than colors, animals, and the items found in a house. We learn through stories about real life and culture and what we have in common. In Spanish of course! I'd say that teaching at Forman allows me to be the teacher I always wanted to be and to give back to the country that allowed me to flourish."