Along with course-work, students in our program take part in a practicum, gaining hands-on teaching experience. Students are assigned a class of adult ESL students at the Community English Program (CEP), a language school for adults that is run through the Teachers College TESOL and Applied Linguistics programs. The CEP provides English as a second language and foreign language instruction to adult learners of diverse nationalities and backgrounds. In addition, the CEP serves as an on-site language education lab in which TESOL and Applied Linguistics faculty and students enrolled in the programs teach the courses and use the CEP as a setting for research.
Every Friday, students in the TESOL Certificate Program work in teams of 3 or 4 to teach a class at the CEP. (Each team works with the same CEP class throughout the summer.) During the week, team members meet with each other and with their teaching mentor (an experienced ESL teacher) to create a lesson plan and appropriate materials. Mentors also observe each student in the classroom, and provide individualized feedback and support.
I also want to take a moment to tell you what an incredible teacher Drew is, and I could not have had a better mentor than Monika. They motivated and challenged me, and I feel that my successes have largely been due to my experiences with them. I value every instructor I had in the program, but these two people stand out in my mind as I continually strive to improve my teaching methods and connect with my students. --Shawna