A Passion for Teaching

The Juggling Act: How One Man Earned His MAT TESOL Degree James Winter is a graduate of the MAT TESOL program and a proud alumnus of USC. Currently he lives in Sao Paulo, SP Brazil and is currently applying to doctoral programs.

There are a number of reasons why I pursued a master’s degree in teaching TESOL, but one that proved to be a catalyst for my career change was when I had the opportunity to teach in a private school called Colégio Criação (Creation School) in the neighborhood of Pirituba here in São Paulo, Brazil. I taught approximately 167 classes per month to fourth through 12th graders. What began as a test trial to see if I could make it through a week of teaching turned into the reason why I applied to USC Rossier and earned my master’s degree in teaching TESOL.

downtown sao paulo brazilAfter teaching at Colégio Criação, I did my student teaching at Dante Alighieri High School in downtown São Paulo where some of the best learning opportunities were. Every classroom had SMART boards, and there were several different laboratories at the school, which allowed teachers such as myself to see the available resources for education. Through observations, case studies and teaching opportunities, I discovered my passion for teaching English. I now teach and tutor adults one-on-one and help them work on several different areas of English from pronunciation to grammar.

I have learned that there is no other feeling that compares to how I feel when I help students, both young and old. It is so rewarding to teach a new language to others that will prove most valuable in their lives. I will always be grateful to Colégio Criação for allowing me to serve as a teacher for six months and to USC Rossier School of Education for providing the platform for me to continue learning. I was able to see the importance of education. I was able to see why it is important that those of us who want to educate also need to be tough and willing to work long hours and implement rules in the classroom to establish and maintain order where there may not be any in inner city schools.

Teaching is not just a profession for those who were born to be teachers. In fact, some of the best teachers may be those who acquire the desire later in life, whether that means they are teaching after a military career like I did or whether that individual is simply passionate about teaching what they have learned to other students who are anxious to learn from the best. My goal is to continue working toward being considered among some of the best teachers in the industry by working tirelessly to positively impact students.