Johanna is a current student in the 2019-2020 LTS cohort. Her story highlights how a teacher’s goals in TESOL can be enriched by a program focused on multiple languages.
Hi Johanna! Please introduce yourself to the readers, and tell us all a bit about you!
Hi, I’m Johanna! I come from Bend, OR where I grew up and spent most of my life. All during my time growing up, I knew that I liked grammar and reading, and I thought that I wanted to be an editor for a publishing firm for many years. However, as I moved on to my undergraduate studies at Willamette University, I took a job tutoring English to students as part of the American Studies Program there, and I found out that I loved not just thinking about English on my own but also sharing it with others.
Outside of my interest in language-y things, I am interested in crochet, hiking, animals, spending time with friends, and trying to play sports. At any given time, I have three crochet projects going on, but I never seem to complete them. And when I say “hiking,” I really mean nature walks. I do not have the dedication to really call myself a hiker. However, this year, I have tried playing the most sports since I was in middle school PE. A group of us in LTS like to get together for badminton, basketball, football, rock climbing, etc, and while we haven’t mastered any of those sports yet, we sure are enthusiastic participants. When I’m not pretending to have an active lifestyle, I like to be at home where I have two cats and a tortoise. I like to spend time playing with them and enjoying their company. However, they are some of the worst study companions as they always try to get between me and the computer.
How did you find out about the LTS program? What made you want to apply for it?
I found out about LTS when the teacher of the class I was tutoring for recommended it to me. She praised its reputation for multilingual teacher education and thought it would be a good fit for my desires in a program. While I had originally planned on doing doing an MA TESOL, I decided to look into LTS. After some research, I became excited at the concept of working alongside teachers of other languages and at the prospect of what I would learn from everyone’s different experiences with language teaching. I ultimately decided to apply for the program after doing a CELTA certificate and working alongside a highly diverse cohort of teachers from around the world. I learned I loved working with people who had experiences different from mine and that challenged my preconceptions of teaching. Shortly after finishing my CELTA, I applied for LTS, confident it was the ideal program for me.
Tell the readers about your travels! Where have you been before, and where do you hope to go in the future?
I have not done extensive international travel, but I’ve done a little. I went to Japan for 2 ½ months when I was in high school on a Rotary Exchange program. When I was there, I lived in Tsuruoka, Yamagata and attended Chuo High School. This experience was my first experience on my own and my first experience out of the country, so it was a highly defining moment in my life. I also travelled to Spain when I was 22, and that is where I did my CELTA certificate. I spent one month in Valencia, and then I travelled the Mediterranean Coast for a week before heading back to reality. In the future, I hope to travel throughout Latin and South America and the Carribean. In particular, I would like to go to Mexico, Peru, and Brazil, but I would go anywhere I had the opportunity to.
I know that you have a GE position at CASLS. Can you tell us about how that has been? What have you been up to over there?
I am a GE at the Center for Applied Second Language Studies (CASLS) which has been an experience largely congruent with what I have learned in LTS. At CASLS, they prioritize teaching through complex scenarios and immersive experiences which has been interesting because I have been able to be a part of testing those and designing supporting materials around those. However, the most rewarding part of the job has been working in collaboration with the other grad student in the office. We have been able to tag-team a lot of projects and learn in collaboration with one another. Having someone else to bounce ideas off of and brainstorm with has made this job enjoyable and productive.
We’re nearing the halfway point of the LTS program. What has been your favorite part of it so far? What has been the most challenging?
My favorite part has, of course, been taking the teaching practicum course with Laura Holland in Fall Quarter. It was such an enjoyable class, and I learned a lot about creating a quality discussion course while being able to immediately implement the things I learned in the class we all co-taught. I always woke up excited to go to this class. Shout out to Laura for making my first quarter on campus warm and welcoming and for giving me the confidence to start my master’s degree strong.
The most challenging thing has been realizing that I won’t be able to work will all the wonderful people in my cohort this closely beyond this year. I have really enjoyed everyone’s knowledge, perspectives, and kindness, and I will miss everyone greatly once we graduate. I have really learned the value of working with people you like and respect. It results in hugely positive working environments where you can learn a lot and contribute a lot to those working around you. The other most challenging thing is when professors require submission of an assignment in hardcopy. Why do I keep losing all my hardcopies? Where do they keep going?
Any exciting plans for Spring break?
Nothing set in stone yet, but hopefully I’ll get out of town for a few days and maybe go see some water, like at a lake or at the ocean. That would be a breath of fresh air.