A Love of Language

I first began to consider teaching English when I was in Spain.  I had enrolled in a language school when I arrived to make sure my Spanish was up to snuff before entering La Universidad de Salamanca, and most of the teachers were fantastic.  One, in particular, stood out: she was a high-energy fast-talking Spaniard from Extremadura who refused to coddle us.  She had a way of flying through the material while engaging the class in a way I had never seen before.  It was then that I began to seriously think about teaching English as a Second Language as a profession.

Over the last eight years I have taken a wide variety of foreign language classes from a wide variety of teachers, sometimes taking more than one language at a time.  And, like any subject, some of the classes were better than others.  I have begun to notice a few patterns over the years, and what started out as a love of languages has turned into an interest in how languages are taught and learned.  While in Spain I was able to take a class at the University on methods of teaching foreign languages.  Learning about the history and evolution of this field provided me with insight into the patterns that I had begun to notice between teachers, levels and languages.

I have always loved language and languages.  I have often flirted with the idea of being a teacher.  When I was in middle school I won an award for excellence in literature and language arts.  I assumed it was because I was the only student who thought the difference between a direct object and an indirect object was interesting, but receiving that award was what started me down the path I am on now.  In high school I took all honors and AP English classes, and I knew shortly after starting college that I wanted to major in English.  My love of literature has only grown over the years, and through my foreign language classes I have developed an even stronger interest in how the English language works.

Our world is changing, quickly.  As advancements in technology spur on globalization, communication between cultures is becoming increasingly more and more important.  Language is the foundation of that communication; both to understand and be understood in more than one language is essential to fostering understanding in the emerging international community.  I firmly believe that the path to making the world a better place is through individuals.  If we are not working towards intercultural acceptance on a personal level, then striving for such understanding on a global level will do no good.  Since language is merely a reflection of culture, and often a language class is the first exposure students have to that culture, the teacher’s role is a crucial one in developing cultural understanding.

Although having a specialized degree is certainly not necessary to get into ESL – there are countless stories about people who flew to Bangkok and were offered a position at a language school in less than two days – and although I might enjoy teaching overseas and intend to explore that option, I also like the idea of having the solid foundation that the Master’s degree would provide, both for the skills as well as the credentials.

I have been looking at a number of schools here in the Northwest, but through my research and in talking with Professor [redacted], I have discovered that my interests and your program perfectly align.  I like the fact that the TESOL degree is offered through the Applied Linguistics department, because while I am mostly interested in the humanities side of teaching English I think it is important that it be an interdisciplinary pursuit.  Having the program based in applied linguistics will provide me with a depth of knowledge and a breadth of skills that other programs do not offer.

As my résumé indicates, I have already had experience teaching languages, mostly tutoring fellow students in Spanish here in the U.S. or small children in English in Spain.  I have recently begun teaching an ESL class on Tuesday evenings to Mexican immigrants here in [redacted] through a grant provided by [redacted] County. This summer I will be traveling to a small village outside of [redacted], Mexico to teach English classes during the day and work on setting up a library in the evenings.  The more experience I have with this field, the more certain I become that this is where I want to be.  Every week I look forward to Tuesdays and the time I will get to spend with my class. I will never forget the smile on Antonio’s face when he told me he had passed his citizenship test one Saturday, and that he thought he had the English classes to thank.  I look forward to more such smiles in my future.


The author of this statement applied to only one program at a state school, to which they were accepted.

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