Home Country: United States
Jason Sean knows first-hand the importance of learning English and access to quality teaching. As a child the first-generation Cambodian American struggled with English as a Second Language. “I felt unintelligent not being be able to express or explain myself because I didn’t know how to speak proficiently,” he says. Empowering students through learning is a driving factor behind his application. “It is important to understand that there are many ways that students absorb knowledge and if a student doesn’t understand something at first, try teaching it in a different way and I am sure you will get results.” With a bachelor’s degree in School Health Education and Single Subject Teaching Credential in School Health Education, Jason has the skills to have a positive impact in the classroom. He’s also taught in classrooms in Taiwan and knows the importance of learning the culture, customs and values of the country and students. “I enjoy everything that comes with teaching English abroad, from traveling and learning about a different cultures to even the little things such as applying for your visa. I love it all.”
Why are you passionate about teaching English abroad?
English wasn’t my first language and I struggled with learning it as a child. Aside from being able to speak the same language as someone, there are other ways to connect with people. Throughout my travels, I have found ways to connect with people such as with hand motions, photographs, video, acting, music, laughter, and even a smile. To be able to teach students abroad and to be able to connect people with the powerful English language would be an amazing opportunity. I was able to study abroad at a college in Taiwan and enjoyed teaching English to those who thirst for it and who genuinely want to learn. It is rewarding to help those people reach their goals.
What experience/skills can you apply to teaching English abroad?
As a previous English as Second Language Learner, I understand that there are many ways to teach and many ways to learn. I’ve completed a Bachelors degree in School Health Education and later a Single Subject Teaching Credential in School Health Education (which has teaching English Language Learners embedded into the credential). I’ve learnt various teaching methods to teach students - from showing videos, power point, and handouts with images. It is important to understand that there are many ways that students absorb knowledge and if a student doesn’t understand something at first, try teaching it in a different way and I am sure you will get results. With my teaching credentials, I have worked with students from ages 5-21 years old. An important skill that I have learned is the importance of being flexible and adapting to a different environment as needed for the job. I have worked as an Academic Adviser and Counselor with students from low-income communities. A lot of students came from homes where English was not the first language and a lot of students were not getting the proper teaching as needed. It is important to meet each student at their personal learning stage. Involving parents in the process is important as well. I speak some Spanish, but if I didn’t know how to explain something to a parent, I would ask the student to translate or look it up in a dictionary online. With teaching English abroad, I would apply my skills of getting the students help with whatever resources I can get my hands on. I have also previously worked as a Program Coordinator for a Nutrition Education Obesity Prevention Program at a continuation high school in South Los Angeles. This experience has taught me the power of teaching students who do not learn via traditional methods. We brought in physical equipment, cooking classes, gardening classes and it was incredible to learn the yearning of learning in nontraditional ways. As a current Substitute Teacher, I can prepare for lessons on the spot. Sometimes a teacher is sick and can’t leave a lesson, so I would have to create a lesson in a few minutes. Sometimes students need an English Lesson on Shakespeare so I have to be an English Teacher. I have been trained to teach all subjects, minimally, but with the curriculum, I could be really creative with lessons and objectives.
I have also traveled so I understand that culture is extremely important. I don’t want to offend culture, religion, customs or anything of importance to an individual, so it would be important to research a country before I volunteer there. Being from Southern California, I have worked with various race, ethnicity, culture, religions and even sexual orientation. I try to be mindful with that in my lessons and interactions with students.
Why do you believe you will be effective in teaching English abroad?
Traveling is a passion of mine and I never thought as a child that I would be able to it due to financial obligations. I enjoy everything that comes with teaching English abroad, from traveling and learning about a different cultures to even the little things such as applying for your visa. I love it all. I have the skills and the time to do this in my life right now and I can bring so much to this scholarship.
What are you looking to gain from the experience?
I am not doing this mainly for my personal gain, but to bring what I can offer to those that really need it. I would love to record teaching abroad and make a video compilation of my experiences to remind myself and to show others that there is so much more to life than making money and following social norms of success. Success is being enough for yourself and sharing it so others can have the opportunity as well.