January 14, 2016
by Annelise Marshall
Maggie Mitteis is famous in her hometown of Ashton, Nebraska, just like the other 231 people who live there. She has taught University in Poland, coordinated a refugee literacy program in Lincoln, Nebraska, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine. She likes to think her Ukrainian language skills are superb, but her host grandma has assured her they’re really “getting terrible”.
Why did you choose to enter the LTS program?
Finding UO’s LTS program was sort of a happy coincidence. I was living in Eugene and working at the UO Testing Office when I discovered the program. I immediately set up a meeting with Keli Yerian. I was extremely impressed the program’s multifaceted approach to teacher training and intrigued by all the available hand-on experience. Coupled with the opportunity to teach an advanced English course in an American university setting (something I had never done before), saying “YES!” to LTS was a no-brainer.
What is your GTF context?
Right now, I’m teaching Oral Skills 6 in the Intensive English program. The course focuses on fine-tuning listening and speaking skills that will help students succeed when they matriculate into the university, so we do a lot of work with note-taking, impromptu speaking, and asking follow-up questions. It’s the same course that I taught in the fall, so I’m excited to teach it again. Now that I have more of a grasp on how the course is structured, I can really work on tailoring it to fit the students’ needs. Plus, my cohort friends shared a lot of teaching ideas that I want to try incorporating.
What is the most challenging part of your GTF?
Honestly, the amount of structure I am given in the IEP still takes me slightly aback. My pervious teaching situations–especially my Peace Corps years–were dominated by creating materials based on very general instructions or topic ideas. These materials were usually made of construction paper, and often, created the night before class. It took me awhile to become accustomed to being given a detailed, week-long lesson plan over a week in advance. It’s been great to have a teaching experience that requires a different kind of discipline, and it’s really made me grow as a professional.
What is most rewarding about your GTF?
I really enjoy the students in OS6. They’re motivated, they’re fun, and they’re not afraid to try new activities. The class is structured in a way that really allows them to grow in confidence and autonomy. And now, I see my students from the previous term around campus, and they’re so excited to be university students.
What are you most looking forward to in your remaining time in the program?
Right now, I’m excited for Winter Term. My OS6 section is a great size and the group dynamic is building quite nicely. My class schedule is a mix of linguistic theory, curriculum development, and Eastern European history, so everyday feels genuinely interdisciplinary. And, the LTS cohort is coordinating a weekly jogging/running group. All the things I like are happening with a great group of people!