Beccy O’Neil is driven to make a positive impact by teaching English as a second language.

beccy o'neill

Beccy O’Neil is making an impact on the lives of English language learners in the Twin Cities through her experience in the Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) minor and certificate program. The senior English major talks about what she has learned.

What drove you to enroll in the TESL minor program?

I chose to enroll in the TESL minor program because I see the need for strong, compassionate English language teachers. As someone who has always been passionate about language, I believe that I make a difference in the lives of our growing immigrant and refugee population through TESL. 

How was your experience with the faculty been?

The faculty within the TESL minor have been so incredibly supportive. They work to keep students engaged in the material and encourage students to think critically not just about pedagogy, but about the world as a whole.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years, I hope to be working with adult English language learners in the Twin Cities area.

Which part of the program did you find the most valuable?

I found the Community Engaged Learning portion of the program to be very valuable, both in a personal and professional way. In CI 3611W–Basics in Teaching English as a Second Language, I was able to step out of the classroom and into the Twin Cities community as a volunteer. I worked with the Hmong American Partnership to teach adult learners, which solidified my interest in becoming a teacher, as well as helped me understand the needs of my community.

Any other thoughts you want to share about your experience?

English language teaching can make a real difference in the world, and through the TESL minor, you are invited to be a part of learners’ lives in a very personal way. TESL is not just about teaching English and American culture. It’s a way to expand your own understanding of other languages and cultures by learning from your students.

Learn more about the TESL minor and certificate program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.