Home > 2018 CCAE State Award Winners

Excellence in Teaching

Sarah Motola

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For the past 20 years, Sarah has worked in ESL and Basic Skill development (GED prep) in various public and private sector settings in the Bay Area and the Central Valley of California including Berlitz, Proteus, Global LT, One World Language Solutions, COS Training Resource Center, and, most recently, as a consultant for National Geographic Learning (publisher of ESL curriculum) where she is a presenter and teacher trainer in curriculum implementation.Currently, she is the lead ESL teacher at Visalia Adult School, where she has taught ESL for the past 10 years, and is an adjunct ESL instructor at College of Sequoias. In addition to teaching all levels of ESL from beginning through advanced, she has taught citizenship and Spanish GED.

Sarah Motola specializes in Adult Education and English as a Second Language. While pursuing a B.A. in Anthropology and Latin American Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz, Sarah participated in two abroad programs, one in Mexico and one in Spain, to improve her Spanish language skills. While living abroad, developing fluency in a second language (Spanish) solidified her interest in second language acquisition.

While teaching Spanish GED at Proteus in Hanford, she "convinced" then Visalia Adult School principal, Jill Rojas, to start a Spanish GED program at Visalia Adult School for all the would-be Spanish GED students who did not qualify for Proteus' program. Jill listened and said, "Okay, and how about you teach it?", and so her relationship began with Visalia Adult School. In addition to a B.A. in Anthropology and Latin American Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz, Sarah has an Adult Education Teaching Credential in ESL, Spanish, and Elementary and Secondary Basic Skills.

She has previously won the local chapter C.C.A.E. CALCO Outstanding Teacher of Adults award in 2013 and in 2017. In addition to teaching, Sarah has written several articles for the local newspaper, the Visalia Times Delta, about Visalia Adult School’s programs and staff.Sarah is a lover of languages, culture and people. This is why she decided to study anthropology and why she started teaching E.S.L. Her favorite place to be is in a roomful of people from all over the world. She says, "Life would be boring if we all spoke the same language, ate the same food, had the same beliefs and views." Sarah loves to connect with her students and observe how her students connect with each other. As evidenced in an ESL classroom, universal human experiences such as raising kids, or the experience of being in a new country speaking a new language, connect us all. One year in her class, for example, a Buddhist monk and a Catholic nun were "best buddies". This is why she loves what she does.