Written by Veronica Crisler, Media by Jack Wang
Coming into Greenville College three years ago, I believed that my calling in life was to become a journalist. With this degree under my belt, I’d follow my dream of travelling the world, one country at a time, meeting new people, seeing new places, learning new things. My eagerness to do well in my classes and experience as much of the college as I could spurred me onward in pursuit of my dream. I would be a journalist who brought the facts and truth to a nation that tends to focus more on itself and less on others, and in my few spare moments of not changing America’s view of foreign problems, I would write short stories and novels based on the experiences I’d have while travelling. It was a genius plan, really. Even though I was extremely naïve at the time (and that may not have changed), I still look back on those expectations and am grateful that I dreamed so big. Though I may not change the world with a few news broadcasts or wittily written blog posts, I do know that I have the power to change some things by reaching out to one person at a time.
So there I was, a few months into Spring semester, sitting in Alexandria LaFaye’s office, scheduling courses for Sophomore year, when BAM!, she asks me what I want to do with my life. After my long explanation, she said something along the lines of “Well if you want to travel and connect with people from different cultures, you should take some TESL courses. International schools are always searching for native English instructors to teach the language.”
This is how God works. Four and a half classes later, I am only seven weeks away from earning my TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) certificate, a piece of paper that will allow me to travel to any non-English speaking country and apply to teach English at their schools. There are even online-based education programs that hire TESL graduates to teach online courses; you can teach English from your own home! But these are not the only perks of having this skill.
Greenville College teaches us to reach out to those around them, and to share Christ’s love with everyone we come in contact with. What better way to do that than to teach English to immigrants, refugees, and students whose dream it is to study in America, Singapore, or Britain! A TESL certificate is also a qualification that will make any elementary or high school teacher candidate stand out from the crowd. More and more school districts are seeking qualified ESL teachers. Having a TESL certificate means having a practical, nurturing, supportive way to interact, teach, and build relationships with people from anywhere!
This is the time in the semester when we just so happen to be making changes to our course schedules, both for next semester and the upcoming year. It only takes 15 credits to get a TESL certificate. That’s 5 extra classes instructed by awesome professors who love practicing what they teach. It may seem like a lot, but when you look at the bigger picture and see past the continuous 9:30 TTH classes, turning in homework assignments that only Ed. majors should have to complete, and learning exactly why English phonetics follow specific rules that make absolute no sense, you will see that getting this certificate will open doors that you never thought possible. Getting your TESL certificate means giving yourself the opportunity to live an adventure and to take others along with you.
Here is a podcast with Veronica Crisler who explains her learning experience in the TESOL program at GC.