About Bruce

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Hello again!

My name is Bruce Ballard.  I’m 63 years old and live just north of New York City.  I work at a public charter school in the Bronx, where I’m one of the Professional Development Specialists.  The letters “PD” have two meanings for me:  Professional Development (my job) and Parkinson’s disease (my 2nd job).

I think two other things to note are:

1.  Although I was born in New York City, much of my life has been international.  May I check off the countries?

  • Mexico:  attended high school for three years in Mexico City.  ¡Olé!
  • The Netherlands:  worked in Amsterdam as a summer intern while in college.
  • Kenya:  served two months as a volunteer on a village project to build a maternity ward.  Best coffee ever.
  • South Korea:  taught English and trained teachers for five years, three of them as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
  • Japan:  directed a university Intensive English Program for three years in Japan’s snow country.
  • Canada:  competed in the 1990 Gay Games.  Didn’t win any races but came home with some swell T-shirts.
  • Mongolia:  directed a Peace Corps pre-service training program for four months.
  • The Marshall Islands:  same as Mongolia, only warmer weather.
  • Singapore, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Brazil, France:  took many business trips to these countries to teach corporate writing courses, train teachers, and teach languages.
  • Tanzania:  climbed to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro shortly after my 50th birthday.
  • Spain, the Philippines, Macau, Costa Rica, Australia, England, Indonesia:  strictly vacations.

2.  I’ve devoted most of my professional life to studying and practicing the pedagogy known as “The Subordination of Teaching to Learning,” developed by an Egyptian mathematician named Caleb Gattegno (1911-1988).  Gattegno invented astounding techniques and materials for teaching math, second languages, and first language literacy.  I first met his approach as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South Korea, then worked for Gattegno when I moved to New York.  My charter school was set up by some of his other colleagues to further his work.  To learn more about our school, click here.

A final two notes to continue this “toothsome” theme:  I’m married.  And my husband and I have two cats.

  1. Vivian Lampell

    Hi Bruce,
    We have not met but I also attended the American School in Mexico City, from first grade through high school. I live in San Diego, CA. I am passionate about having balance in life. My favorite thing to do is traveling to places I have never seen before. I love doing yoga, walking (especially by the ocean), hiking and dancing. I wish you strength to fight this disease. I think the most important thing is having a positive attitude. Cuidate Bruce and hope we shall meet some day in NYC. Abrazo.

  2. Melissa Brown

    Just as you lead, what? half the student body? in a conga line through the grounds and hallways of high school in a rousing rendition of “Here comes Santa Claus”, disrupting classes and breaking who knows how many rules, you are finding the chutzpah to lead your friends with you on this new journey. I, for one, will be right behind you, hopefully encouraging you along the way. Thanks for allowing us to participate in this facet of your remarkable life. Melissa

  3. Joanne milani

    Hi Bruce I just discovered your website and I think it’s great. I was diagnosed 12 years ago at Age53 and saturated myself with chats and help groups. That became overwhelming. I too am a native New Yorker (Bronx) can wait to read more on you site. Joanne

  4. Maria Njoo

    Hi Bruce!
    My name is Maria Njoo and I am a teacher in second language Learning in Sweden. My friend Marja Ylaanen from Uppsala in Sweden want to come into Contact with you since we have read about you and that you teach according to the Gattegno, the Silent Way-method. We would like to visit your school and see how the method works, if possible.

    We are in NY from October 28-November 4, 2015, and would be very happy and grateful for your help and look forward to seeing you.

    Best regards,
    Maria Njoo

  5. Reply

    Hi Bruce – I LOVE your blog and web site – We met many ‘moons’ ago at your sister’s home on Long Island, Maine – Your nieces, Annie and Claire, were just young girls then – both under 10 – We share something in common in that we are both Columbia University graduates – I, too, am still very active teaching as an adjunct in the English Department at the University of Rhode Island – I LOVE what I do and plan to do this for a very long time!

    I remember meeting your now husband – It is only through Harriet’s Thanksgiving greeting that I read your sonnet and discovered your website – I am sending you ‘only good thoughts’ – Barbara Conti

    PS Bruce – I have the VERY BEST ‘dog’ cat that I found on a very rainy night in Falmouth, MA – He weighs 8 ounces shy of 20 pounds so he can still take an Amtrak train in the Northeast – I named him Henry and I found him on June 25, 2009 when he was four years old! He is the sweetest animal I have ever had – He loves everyone – other cats, dogs, and people! I loved to learn you have two cats – Cats RULE!!! ??

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