Q: What inspired you to want to teach ESL?
I grew up in Bangkok, and in Thailand, English was taught as a foreign language (EFL). We normally learned it in classroom and seldom used it on a daily basis. That is to say, Thai learners were not good at English, and English was not everyone’s cup of tea, me included. But when I was about 14, I met a very kind and understanding English teacher who completely changed my perspective about learning English. I wish I could be like him. He did not only had a good knowledge of English, but also techniques and patience to help me learn the language. That made me realized that I wanted to be a good English teacher who never stopped to learn to become a better one.
Q: Why did you choose TCP at Teachers College?
I eyed TCP at Teachers College a few years before deciding to apply. TCP was at the top of my list because the program offered both theoretical and practicum experiences, which allowed attendees to immerse into the delicate art and science of English instruction in a real-world context. I think teaching practicum is by far one of the strengths of TCP that you would not get from other programs. Apart from these, TCP was run and taught by a team of veteran English education researchers and faculty who were internationally acclaimed and whose academic contributions made improvements for lives of students in NYC neighborhoods. Furthermore, Teachers College was well equipped with a center where you can access teaching and learning resources and seek expert assistance. And as a bonus point, you will have an opportunity to explore vibrant NYC. With all these, I do not think I would find a better TESOL training than TCP Teachers College.
Q: Describe your TCP experience.
At first, I felt a bit intimidated because my cohort was full of experienced teachers from diverse backgrounds. However, it turned out to be a very fun and friendly learning environment where we got to know each other and shared our valuable teaching wisdom. I had classmates from Korea, NYC, and other places. Some worked for educational institutions, and some worked for private sectors. These brought about a diversity in perspectives and ideas for fruitful discussion and brainstorming in classrooms. Our group discussions were very dynamic and lively. If you think attending classes would be boring, you might have to change your mind. TCP sessions were fun, active, and dynamic. Another impression was that TCP teachers were very well prepared. They were proactive, acknowledgeable, and ready to lend hands when needed. Teaching plans were so strategically prepared and sequenced that you found the lessons theoretically easy to digest and practically useful for your weekly practicum in real classrooms at Teachers College. Even more so, you would also receive individual and group feedback from a mentor who helped reflect your strength and weakness from practicum sessions. I found this advantage very rare in other TESOL training programs. I actually learned a lot from my mentor’s suggestions. The TCP staff were also very informative, friendly, and proactive in solving emergent problems for you. All in all, I still do think that TCP at Teachers College will be one of your best learning experiences.
Q: What is your most gratifying moment as a teacher?
I have lots of gratifying moments, which honestly keep my passion in teaching growing even stronger. I feel success when I can make my students understand things they have never understood. I am delighted to see their puzzled faces turn into enlightened ones. I am happy when reading teacher evaluations and realize that my teaching can make better changes in students’ academic and personal life. But sometimes it takes time for a teacher’s work to be realized. For instance, I used to assign my students to read a novel and reading pained them quite a lot. Of course, they complained, and did not seem to appreciate what I offered. However, when years passed, these students grew up and seemed to understand my intention to let them read so that they could learn. Many even thanked me later and told me they could still remember parts of the life lessons the novel taught them back then, which they apply in their adult lives. Of course, a teacher’s work is just like a seed that takes time to grow and to flower. And the blossoming moment is always most beautiful.
Q: What are you doing now?
I am currently pursuing my Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Teaching with a specialization in Educational Media and Technology, at Boston University School of Education. I have been collecting field data for my dissertation on the students’ experiences in using Augmented Reality technology in English language classrooms. I have also worked as a full-time faculty member at the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Mahidol University, Thailand. I normally teach general English courses for undergraduates and EAP courses for English-major students at the faculty. In my leisure time, I work as a novel/article translator and as a tech enthusiast, I enjoy exploring innovative technologies and see how they can be integrated in English education curricula and classrooms.