Senior Elementary Education Foundations major and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) minor, Whitley Lubeck, wants to bring her experience with diverse learners and communities to students abroad, and eventually, back to rural Minnesota.
What drove you to enroll in the TESL minor program?
The TESL minor program goes hand-in-hand with my Spanish studies major and gives me the option to teach abroad, which is one of my goals after graduation. After deciding to also pursue a degree in Elementary Education Foundations, the TESL minor has been very helpful with my teaching practicum in elementary school sites around the Twin Cities because there is a large group of English-language learners in the urban area.
How was your experience with the faculty been?
The faculty of this program are great to work with and very knowledgeable. They bring a lot of experience to inform their instruction and often arrange their class in an interactive way, encouraging students to not only learn from them but also from other students.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I see myself working in a rural elementary school similar to the school the one I attended in my hometown. I want to bring awareness to difficult topics in education, an appreciation of diversity, and a drive to seek justice to students in less diverse populations.
Which part of the program did you find the most valuable?
The requirement to do a service-learning project as part of the course “Basics to Teaching English as a Second Language” was very valuable. I learned about the different programs that exist for ESL learners in the community and I was able to use my knowledge from class discussions and activities at my service-learning location. The hands-on experience gave me an authentic glimpse of teaching ESL and helped to prepare me for working in the field.
Any other thoughts you want to share about your experience?
The students in the TESL minor program have a variety of backgrounds and experience in different languages. It is extremely helpful to learn about different languages and how characteristics of the language can affects learning the English language.