Paolamantina (Paola) Grullón Livingstone is a native of the Dominican Republic. She received her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Language Pathology from the University of North Texas, where she also studied American Sign Language. Paola specializes in teaching Spanish through the use of comprehensible input but also has taught many upper-level courses through immersion. Before coming to Oliverian, she taught at several independent schools, including Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Forman School, Germantown Friends School, and Greenhill School. Paola lives on campus with her husband and three children, ages nine, seven, and five.
In addition to her role at Oli, Paola is a local organic farmer, raising alpacas, sheep, giant angora rabbits, goats, chickens, peafowl, and organic vegetables. Paola fuses her knowledge and experience on the farm with the Spanish language to cultivate a deeper appreciation for animal care, sustainability, and fostering more meaningful developmental relationships with young adults.
What do you love most about Oliverian?
What I love most of Oliverian is the openness of everyone to get to know one another and embrace one another. Everyone here is genuinely kind and wants the best for you. I love that I can try new things and voice my opinion without fear of being judged or rejected, as well as speak openly about pedagogy behind language education and be supported in implementing it to better the experience of our students.
What motivates you to work with kids?
When I first arrived to the US in 2005, I came as an international student with no knowledge of the language of English. I personally invested in one year at a boarding school in order to learn English and I found very quickly that although many students were taking Spanish, no one could truly bridge the gap for me in learning the English language and being able to communicate successfully. From this experience, I learned that we could do better with language education and bridging those gaps between cultures. If students are willing to be uncomfortable, as I was learning a language in a time when carrying a dictionary around was the only translation device available, then they will be able to develop a profound understanding of both the language and culture they are studying. I truly feel that it is my duty to teach students to not just regurgitate words in class, but to learn how to meet others where they are in their cultures and languages to engage with others globally on a deeper level.