My Teaching Journey

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Guest article written by: Maria Wang

My journey in teaching began when I decided to become a literacy volunteer tutor in November 1993. I was trained as an English as Second Language Tutor. My role was to tutor adults from various countries who did not speak a word of English. I found tutoring to be a rewarding experience and decided to become an ESL teacher. It took six years of schooling for me to become a teacher.

As an ESL tutor, I understood the difficulties and struggles of the adults who did not speak any English. I went through the struggles myself. I came to the United States when I was eleven years old. At the time, I did not know any English except for “yes” or “no”. I was afraid, but I had to survive. My father was already in the country for two years before the rest of my family moved to Buffalo from Taiwan. With the love and support of my parents, I have made it through high school and college. However, this was not without a struggle.

I remembered how difficult it was for me just to pass English classes during high school and college. In high school, I copied passages from books to produce a decent paper. I could not even put together a sentence of my own. In addition to dealing with the difficulties of learning English, I also had to deal with my peers laughing at my mistakes. When I took the English placement test in college, I knew my writing was far from acceptable. With the help of three English Professors, and some hard work on my own, I passed English 099, 101, and 102. I was very proud of myself, but I also realized that a good teacher would make a significant difference in student’s motivation to learn. With this realization, I wanted to become a good ESL teacher myself.

I enrolled in State University of New York at Stony Brook where I learn my craft of Teaching English as Second Language. I received a Master degree in May 1997 but did not complete my certification. Therefore, I had to start over in another University when I moved to Illinois in June 1997. I enrolled in University of Illinois at Chicago where I earned my second Master in Elementary Education. I finally received my Elementary Teaching certificate in June 2000 and my ESL endorsement in May 2001.

My journey in teaching begins.