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Elizabeth Mahon

Clinical Assistant Professor, Linguistically Diverse Education

My story:

"A scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar" - Lao Tzu

We could change the words from “scholar” to “teacher” and Lao Tzu’s quote would hold equally true: A teacher who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a teacher. “Comfortable” would never be a word I would use to describe my past 20 years as a teacher. Challenging, fun, frustrating, exhilarating … but not comfortable.

I did not grow up thinking I would be a teacher. I grew up in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. My father was an oil engineer and had taken a job during the early oil years in the Middle East. He thought it would be a two-year assignment but he ended up living there for 35 years. From growing up overseas, I developed a curiosity about cultures around the world and a desire to interact with people who could teach me new ways of thinking. I wanted to travel around the world as a living!

Fortunately for me, teaching English as a Second Language in public schools is close to traveling around the world and definitely has taught me new ways of thinking. I began teaching in Montessori schools and then moved onto work as a Spanish/English bilingual school counselor/psychologist in Colorado public schools. I worked in several bilingual schools and became intrigued with the development of biliteracy and biculturalism. I wanted to learn more about schools that were successful with multilingual learners. I returned to CU Boulder and received my doctorate in Foundations of Bilingual, Multicultural Education in 2004. From 2004-2011, I taught English as a Second Language at both an elementary and secondary level in North Carolina urban schools that were designated as “needing improvement” or “red watch alert.”  I know what it feels like to work your tail off yet still feel like progress comes in baby steps.  As a clinical professor at CU Denver, I hope to bring my enthusiasm and experience in the field to the college classroom and help support teachers as they strive to analyze and improve their practices.

My students at University of Colorado Denver:

CU Denver students bring a wealth of life and teaching experience to the classroom which I really enjoy.  They are hard workers, both in their professions and as students. They learn from and support each other and are not afraid to question or challenge ideas.

Classes I teach at the University of Colorado Denver School of Education & Human Development:

  • Language and Literacy Acquisition, Part II - CLDE 5035
  • Assessment and Advocacy for Diverse Learners - CLDE 5050/SPED
  • Multicultural Education - CLDE 5140
  • Techniques in Teaching English as a Second Language - CLDE 5825
  • Seminar and Practicum in Literacy, Language, ESL and Bilingual Education - CLDE 6912

My hobbies:

Out in the world, I enjoy all sorts of things that involve movement - hiking, running, biking, yoga, traveling and rafting. At home, I am more sedate and enjoy cooking, reading and watching movies.

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