What attracted you to the TESL@TFLI course?
Initially, I thought I was going to be a public school teacher. I knew I loved teaching, but I thought that the public school was my only option for a career path. After finishing the majority of my education classes I was very discouraged. I had nearly completed my degree but still felt as though I knew nothing about formal teaching theory or best classroom practices. No one had ‘taught me how to teach’. I dropped my education minor and graduated in the global studies program instead. Soon after moving away from the public school path I found the TESL program at TFLI. TESL@TFLI showed me a way to bring my passion (teaching) to a group of people who really needed it, as well as make a career out of what I love to do.
How did TESL@TFLI prepare you for teaching?
TESL@TFLI gave me what my education classes at college did not – real tools for use in a real classroom. The experience and guidance of the instructors was invaluable and taught me to deal with the challenges of an ESL classroom.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to teach?
Don’t be afraid, go for it! You can wait for the perfect opportunity to be dropped in your lap or you can go out and get your feet wet. Before TESL@TFLI I was hesitant to market myself as a knowledgeable and accomplished teacher (despite many hours of experience). Have confidence in yourself and your abilities, get in the classroom and start teaching! And of course, take the TESL course at TFLI. 😉
What is your favorite teaching experience?
Although the actual act of teaching and the processes of creating lesson plans/activities is incredibly rewarding in its own right, some of the best experiences I have had has been forming relationships and interpersonal bonds with my students. I teach an incredibly diverse set of people (from foreign students and tourists to refugee ans asylee families) and each one has made an impact on my life.
Tell us an interesting classroom story.
A fellow teacher and I had been subbing for a few classes and part of the daily routine was ‘free writes’. In an effort to encourage confidence and fluency students were encouraged to expand of small prompts. Students were given the prompt ‘I hate it when…’ and asked to write a small paragraph. These papers were some of the most interesting and moving things I had ever read. They really gave an insight into who the students are as people.
What are you doing now?
Currently I am an Education Specialist at N.I.C.E. (the Nashville International Center for Empowerment). I use the knowledge I gained at TFLI to design programming for adult ESL learners.
Do you have anything else to share?
If you have the opportunity to take the TESL course at TFLI – do it!! TESL@TFLI equipped me with the real world skills and knowledge that has helped me become a better teacher. The program has been invaluable to my success and my career. I encourage anyone with an interest in this field to take the course.