Meet Our Students: Mary Ellis | TESOL Certificate Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Certification

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Meet Our Students: Mary Ellis

Today we are excited to introduce you to Mary Ellis, a current student in our full-time summer program!

Name: Mary Ellis

Hometown: Bristol, Tennessee

Background: My educational background is in English rhetoric and linguistics, and my teaching background is in first-year college composition.

Why did you choose the TESOL Certificate Program?

I chose the TESOL Certificate Program because I wanted a program that would challenge me, expose me to a variety of teaching approaches and backgrounds, and give me learning experiences within the ESL classroom. In reality, the program has become so much more than what I expected. Not only has it given me a new tool belt for teaching nonnative English speakers, but it has helped me to find, nurture, and embrace my own identity as an instructor. Although I have been in the classroom for a couple of years already, I’ve always struggled with confidently labeling myself a “teacher.” After my experience in this program, I finally feel ready to enthusiastically own that title. Teaching is not just my job anymore; it’s truly becoming my vocation.

What has been your favorite class and why?

My favorite class has been Classroom Practices. Not only do we learn from texts, assignments, and class discussions, but Michelle teaches us strategies and tips by modeling them herself in the classroom. The class is rigorous, but both the online and onsite portions of it have challenged me to think critically and creatively. This course allows me to learn, engage with, and apply material simultaneously, an invaluable opportunity.

What are your career goals?

After this program, I hope to combine my certificate with my Masters in Rhetoric, Writing, and Linguistics to work in a small college as an ESL, composition, or writing center director.

What advice do you have for prospective students considering the program?

In short, become a sponge. Soak it up! You may rarely have another opportunity to learn from so many different sources. In this program, you learn not only from your instructors and coursework, but also from your classmates, your mentors, your CLP students, the workshops offered, and even just from time spent at TC itself.