Home Country: United States
As an active volunteer for a non-profit in the United States specializing in basic literacy and English as a second language, Joann has years of experience in volunteering locally and working in resource-poor settings abroad in her job as a scientist. With a keen interest in cementing her fluency in Spanish and achieving her long-standing goal of becoming TEFL certified, Joann is confident she will be an effective volunteer tutor, an avid learner and an enthusiastic blogger in sharing her volunteering experience.
Why are you passionate about teaching English abroad?
I have a love of languages and a bent for teaching. I enjoy meeting and communicating with all types of new people but I especially like to reach out to students who would like to learn English. I have a passion for immersion in the day-to-day life of a different culture. I value this highly because it gives me an opportunity to learn how others live and work and, at the same time, provides me with a new perspective on my own culture.
What experience/skills can you apply to teaching English abroad?
I have volunteered for three years with Washtenaw Literacy, a local non-profit specializing in Basic Literacy and ESL, and have taught group classes and conducted one-on-one tutoring. I have also worked in a developing country setting and managed a combined local/international staff. I have lived abroad for 6-9 month periods and can adapt and thrive in different cultures.
Why do you believe you will be effective in teaching English abroad?
I feel that my most important strength for effective teaching of English abroad is my ability to make connections. I am able to bridge cultures as well as gender, age and personality differences. These bridges form the groundwork for a good working relationship with a student. I enjoy listening as well as speaking and find it enjoyable and rewarding to help others express their ideas in the English language.
What are you looking to gain from the experience?
I value the TOEFL training which will be provided with this scholarship because it will expose me to new learning techniques and it will enhance the effectiveness of my teaching. From the volunteer stay, I hope to gain wisdom and perspective through my interactions with a variety or learners from different walks of life and with varying levels of English proficiency. This experience will also provide me with the opportunity to become more fluent in the local language.