Interview with Dr. Brenda Custodio

Gwendolyn G. DeRosa

Dr. Custodio in China

Dr. Custodio in China

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing our new adjunct professor in the MA in TESOL program at Ohio Dominican University.  Dr. Brenda Custodio is teaching TSL 560 Instructional Methods in TESOL this fall.

We would like to know a little about your background: Are you an Ohio native? Where did you go to school?

I have lived in Ohio all my life except for a short two-year stay in New York City, at the end of which I was ready to kiss the ground when I returned to normal life in Ohio!!  I was born and raised (or reared if you are picky about grammar) in Mansfield and moved to Columbus in 1985.  I love it here and plan to stay until God kicks me out.

How did you get involved in TESOL?

My first TESOL experience was literally crashing a big TESOL Conference in NYC in March 1985 when I did not realize you actually had to pay to attend.  I sat in on two workshops and wondered why everyone had these big badges around their necks.  Anyway, I was hooked and have been to about 20 big TESOLS and joined Ohio TESOL when I moved here in 1985.

What values or theories of education inform your teaching?

My educational values are centered on Jim Cummins (BICS and CALP, Common Underlying Proficiency, and How Long to build proficiency) and the core components of SIOP.  I believe that every student can learn, and that it is our responsibility as educators to find the right key to open the student’s door to academic success.

What can ODU TESOL students expect from you as a teacher?

I have a strong focus on the practical.  I just retired from 40 years in the K-12 world, as a classroom teacher and administrator.  I know what works and how difficult at times it is for the ESL teacher and student to find their place in that world.

Do you have any advice for new teachers in this field?

It is very important that you spend the first few weeks finding your place in the school community.  Every school has a culture and you will be new to that culture, just like your students are new to the American culture.  You will be representing your students. What the school thinks of you will influence what they think of your students.  Volunteer for new duties, get to know the support staff, and try to be a team player and you will be successful (which will benefit your students as well).

Do you have a favorite place in Columbus?

I love soccer so Crew Stadium is important to me.  I also love Max and Erma’s and Shakespeare in the Park.

What is one quirky aspect of your personality?

I guess that would be my love of Star Trek.  I just came back from three days in Vegas where I attended the world’s largest Star Trek Convention, with 3000 of my best friends!  If I had to leave Ohio, I would want to live in the future on the USS Enterprise.

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