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MA TESOL, Culture, Education, Development

April 15, 2013

MA Degree in TESOL, Culture, Education, and Human Development, Russian

 I am a young woman from Russia who thrives on multicultural and multilingual interaction and discourse, translation, and language education. My double major for my undergraduate studies back in Russia speaks to the two pillars of my interest and passion: Public Relations and Linguistics. Still only 25, I have made my home in America where I have dedicate myself to preparing for admission to a distinguished Master’s Program. My love for teaching language and my fascination with the richness of cross-cultural experience are the two main motivations that fueled my desire to teach abroad. Almost as soon as I landed in the US, I began working towards ESL Certification (K-12), which I have now attained.

 Another highly valuable experience that I have had here in America was working as an Event’s Specialist for XXXX Marketing in New York City from May of 2009 through August of 2010. I attended and managed exhibitions at trade shows, conferences, and conventions. I was responsible for promoting clients’ products by offering samples, coupons, rebates or discounts to increase sales of products or services, as well as generating leads for email and direct mail campaigns.

 I immigrated to the USA almost immediately upon my graduation in Russia. During my undergraduate studies, I worked my way through school as an Office Manager and Translator English to Russian and Russian to English for various departments. I provided administrative support for marketing managers, assisted visitors, and resolved administrative problems and inquiries. I felt especially at home coordinating meetings, appointments, and events, including travel and lodging arrangements. I also gained invaluable first-hand experience as an ESL substitute teacher.  I have known for many years that my heart was set on becoming a teacher, and this is why I had to the foresight to acquire this early experience. I feel strongly that having had a chance to work in the corporate world as well here in the US has also been a valuable experience that will help me to become a better teacher. The XXXX School of Culture, Education, and Human Development is my first choice for graduate school because of my profound respect for the TESOL Department’s multi-disciplinary philosophy of  Teacher education as a dynamic and direct interaction with the daily lives of today’s students, with curricula continually being enhanced in light of both emerging theory, on the one hand, and the linguistic, demographic and cultural characteristics of the learners on the other.

I particularly appreciate how your program incorporates school-based experiences and helps students to think creatively about research design. I long to be part of your educational community, achieved through the development of  cross traditional conceptions that are set in historical perspective, learning to appreciate the vast complexity of multicultural and multiethnic identities in political flux, in addition to mastering the contribution of new technology to pedagogical innovation. I hope to develop a special concentration in the cross-cultural issues confronting Adult ESL learners. I am most interested in learning how to best help students to succeed under pressure from various sources, parenting, employment, and so on; to do so, I feel strongly that an exceptional teacher must be highly sensitive to cultural issues that have the potential to interfere with instruction. Customs and norms may be harder to translate than words. I also keenly look forward to studying the way that gender can play into the student-teacher dynamic, as in the case of the male students from a strictly patriarchal culture having difficulty responding to a female teacher, just as some female students may be uncomfortable learning from a male teacher.

My long term goal is to become a distinguished professor of TESOL at a University. In addition to my native Russian, I am nearly fluent in German. I want to continue to utilize my German professionally and I hope to do indepth research in the future concerning the special challenges faced by German as well as Russian students of ESL.

 I have been fascinated with languages since childhood. Thus, I learned ESL in the linguistic gymnasium at my school in Russia, and later entered the Linguistic University, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics. Since my arrival in the US, my English skills have improved enormously as a result of constant communication with native speakers and close attention to cultural details. I believe I have already overcome great odds to be where I am today and am determined and willing to work even harder to fulfill my dream of becoming a teacher. The greatest contribution that I might be able to make to society would be to help generations of foreign students to attain proficiency in the English language and be able to participate fully in all spheres of our modern life, taking full advantage of the many doors that are opened up by mastery of our only fully international language.

 My own teaching philosophy has been influenced by several prominent factors, in addition to my education in Russia and immersion in the US. I am also an avid independent reader in everything that has some relation to ESL, as well as the formal literature in the area. The numerous courses that I completed in the Teaching Program at Hudson County Community College have also helped me to understand the vast complexity as well as potential of my field. I see the ESL Teacher’s role as, among other things, an analyst who pays close attention to learners’ particular situations and providing instruction and opportunities to meet their educational goals that are commensurate with the intellectual interests as well as linguistic and communicative competence of the learner. As a teacher, I want to master the creation of friendly, supportive learning environments that include meaningful and exciting activities that help to reduce students’ learning anxieties and therefore engage them in the learning process.  When students are relaxed and attentive, they will be able to focus on learning.  My central goal is to provide the connection and develop the necessary level of trust so that learners feel comfortable.

 I place a very high priority on understanding students’ interests and needs. To me, most ESL classrooms in the United States are very diverse, not only along ethnic and linguistic lines, but also in terms of the cognitive and language development of students, on top of culture, religion, economic level, social class, national origin, and learning modality. I want to mold a profession around taking these differences into account when designing assessment instruments. Drawing upon my knowledge of teaching ESL and personal experience as an ESL student, I have came to the conclusion that, regardless of one’s teaching backgrounds, a teacher needs to keep an open mind about new teaching approaches, methods, and techniques.  I see NYU as the global epicenter of diversity. It is the perfect location. With your help, I look forward to a lifetime of developing my teaching philosophy and practice in increasingly creative directions.

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