My Favorite Professor in the MAT Program

profile pictureTawni Kirkpatrick lives in Westminster, California. She is a current student in the Master of Arts in Teaching program at USC and is obtaining a multiple subject teaching credential. She is a part time student and is excited to be more than half way through the program!

All of the professors I have had at USC have been amazing! I’ve learned so much from each and every one of them. I feel like I have taken a small piece of each of them with me into the world of teaching. Often times, things that each professor taught me pop into my head when I’m in the classroom for my fieldwork, and I’m able to put their words into action.

Dr. Michael Genzuk stands out in my mind as my favorite professor because of his enthusiasm for teaching and his inspirational classes! He was my professor for EDUC 501-Instruction for Teaching English as a New Language — which has been one of my favorite classes in the MAT program.

As an aspiring teacher, I went into EDUC 501 wondering how teachers could manage the enormous responsibility of teaching students who were still learning English. I wondered what the magic formula was for teaching coursework and English at the same time while also teaching students with other needs. I was excited by the idea, but I have to admit I was a little intimidated too.

Human head with gears and objects of scienceOnce I joined the class, all the pieces fell into place. Every week Dr. Genzuk led us on a journey down the road of educating students who would be learning English while learning content. He guided us through strategies we could use to reach students who have a language barrier. A critical lesson I learned from Dr. Genzuk was how important it is to get to know students’ backgrounds, bring their cultures into the classroom and use that to help them learn effectively. Now, I have so many methods that I can use with students who are English language learners, thanks to Dr. Genzuk.

I think I learned so much from Dr. Genzuk’s class because I felt we were a community of learners as he facilitated discussions and let us discover new ideas by making connections to our own prior knowledge. Dr. Genzuk really uses all the teaching practices we learn in the MAT program. He was always interested in hearing our ideas, and he let those ideas guide the class. Not only does Dr. Genzuk make each class interesting, but he shows his students that he has confidence in our ability to educate students and be great at it too. Dr. Genzuk is an inspiring professor who sends educated teachers into the classroom.

Thank you, Dr. Genzuk, for giving me the knowledge and resources I need to successfully teach students who are English language learners.