Student Spotlight: Christine David | Seattle, WA

This student spotlight was written by Christine David. Christine graduates this May with her MAT TESOL degree. She is excited to start her position at Shantou University which begins in August 2013.


Will the Guilty Parties Please Stand for Your Applause

With five graduate school rejections in hand, I began speaking with my USC Admissions Counselor. I was discouraged, thinking no one acknowledged my potential as a future teacher. At 60 years of age, I figured that schools didn’t want to take a chance with me being able to stand the rigors of a graduate program — yet my Admissions Counselor encouraged me to apply to USC Rossier. I completed the application, applied for financial aid and waited on the whims of heaven.

And I was accepted to the MAT–TESOL! Time to buy books and get ready for school.

School was rigorous, with plenty of reading and writing, but I found the work interesting. The more I studied, the more I discovered the magnificence of USC Rossier. First: the instructors knew their material and were helpful. Carlos Cortez taught us the benefits of “Do It Now,” and Mary Mardirosian’s class that summer was magic; I have never had as much fun learning as I did that summer with Dr. Mardirosian. The class roster was full of energetic students with plenty to say about education and how they wanted to teach. Dr. Gena Rhoades’ class was puzzling; so many times I saw that she wanted to contribute to class but held back so students could discover their teaching voices on their own. Gena is a great model for how USC teaches through doing and how students learn to teach others. Dr. Rhoades became my friend and life-coach after I finished taking her class.

Fall courses introduced me to Dr. Christian Chun. Dr. Chun expects excellence. He has a precise yet relaxed style of delving into teaching as if it requires deep thought — and it does. Dr. Chun offered extra reading that added depth to learning, and I’m glad I got to hear his lectures at the TESOL.org conference in Dallas. Dr. Chun believes in cultural sensitivity in life as well as in teaching.

Dr. Jen Crawford taught with passion and enthusiasm for her students and the subject. Never failing to validate a student’s point of view, Jen asked us to be rigorous in our search for our teaching stance. Jen builds fire in her students and shares herself with joy.

My troika — my three guardian angels — are Tiffany Price, Anita Singh and Julienne Jose Chen, members of the student support and academic advising team. These three pillars of strength supported, guided, listened and contributed. On one occasion, Miss Price was walking me through the online learning platform while sitting at home on her sofa — now that’s love and dedication. Anita is amazing at the job search; not only did she review my resume, curriculum vitae and teaching statement, she strongly suggested I attend the TESOL.org conference for job interviews. Anita spent hours listening and directing, and the jobs she suggested were always on target. Finally, Julienne has helped with academics throughout the year, and Julienne is level headed — especially when I am not!

My year at USC Rossier is a year through people, people who have dedicated themselves to training the best culturally aware and prepared teachers in teaching English as a second language. I will teach at Shantou University beginning in August 2013 with Anthea Tse, a fellow USC student. I look forward to passing on the knowledge and caring I have gained to my new students.