Now that week one is in the books, I wanted to give you some first impressions that I had in regards to the program, coursework, and just how many options there really are in the field of TESOL.
The TESOL program at Oklahoma City University is diverse in age range, nationality, and purpose, which I think makes this a very well rounded program. Class sizes range from 8-12 people, and in one class we have traditional and non-traditional students, international students from Korea, China, Japan, and Singapore, and interests range from teaching English in their home country through the TESL program, linguistics research, and teaching abroad.
There are also a surprising amount of available extracurricular activities relating to TESOL studies. We have opportunities to help instruct citizenship English lessons at local libraries for recent immigrants who are looking to pass the citizenship exam, as well as helping international students from Japan’s Kindai University on improving their English proficiency and pronunciation.
As for the coursework, it seems fairly standard. Research and writing of course has a 12 page research paper, but that’s about it. I’ve been writing those in my sleep since my undergrad in Religion back in 2007-2011. Really where the most learning is going to happen will be in Second Language Acquisition. Here we are delving into best practices for learners of second languages and most effective teaching methods, as well as trying to understand how people acquire a second language.
Before I applied for this program, I had been researching TESOL intensive classes that are designed to prepare and certify people that were strictly wanting to teach abroad. I’m certain that while these weekend seminars would have served their purpose as far as getting a certification, now that I am enrolled in a Master’s program, I am glad that I didn’t take that route.
This program not only opens doors for me as far as teaching abroad, but having professors that have connections with some of the top schools in Asia, Europe, and the Americas certainly makes finding a job 1000x easier than if I had tried to do it on my own.
Even if I decided that I didn’t want to teach abroad after graduation, I have learned that current Masters students are already placed in adjunct professor positions throughout the state (side note, it has always been my dream to be called Professor). There are also numerous opportunities for publication and research positions in this program, and I plan on taking full advantage of that!
So for me, it’s a no brainer to take advantage of the path that I have set for myself. I’m looking forward to learning more about the program, and more about the opportunities that come with being a Master in TESOL!