“I never thought I’d be here, you know? Standing in front of a classroom, teaching English to a bunch of eager faces.” English wasn’t the language I was born into, but it’s become the language that has woven itself into the fabric of my life. I remember those early days, struggling to find the right words, the right expressions. It was like building a bridge between two worlds, my native tongue on one side, and this new, captivating language on the other.
I’m an English Language Learner student turned English teacher now. It’s funny how life takes you on unexpected journeys. Back then, I used to sit in the back of the class, quietly absorbing every word my teacher spoke, every sentence I read. Each new word felt like a treasure, a key unlocking a door to a world of stories, emotions, and connections.
Becoming fluent in English wasn’t just about grammar and vocabulary; it was about discovering a new part of myself. As I stumbled through conversations, made mistakes, and laughed at my own mispronunciations, I was embracing vulnerability in a way I never had before. I learned that learning is messy, but it’s in those moments of vulnerability that true growth happens.
Now, as I stand in front of my own students, I carry those memories with me. I understand the struggles they face, the frustration of not being able to express themselves fully, and the triumph of finally getting that sentence just right. Every lesson I plan, every word I explain, is infused with the empathy born from my own journey.
Teaching English isn’t just about imparting grammar rules and vocabulary lists. It’s about building bridges for others, bridges that connect their dreams, thoughts, and aspirations to the wider world. I see the excitement in my students’ eyes when they grasp a new concept or confidently participate in a conversation. It’s like witnessing a spark ignite, a spark that has the power to light up their futures.
As I guide them through the complexities of the English language, I remind them that it’s okay to stumble, to make mistakes. Because I’ve been there. I know the frustration, the self-doubt, and the sheer determination it takes to keep going. And if I can inspire even one student to fall in love with language, to see the beauty in the way words dance and create meaning, then I’ve succeeded.
So, when I look back at my journey from an ELL student to an English teacher, I’m reminded that life has a way of surprising us. Through the struggles and triumphs, the mistakes and the growth, I’ve come to understand that learning isn’t just a one-way street. It’s a cycle of giving and receiving, of building bridges and lighting sparks. And I’m grateful for every step that led me here, to this classroom, to this opportunity to make a difference, one word at a time.”
I am grateful to Sigma Tau Delta’s Study Abroad Scholarship for assisting me in being able to pursue this English Education study abroad program in Maastricht, a vibrant university town in southern Netherlands near the borders of Belgium and Germany. The program allowed me to continue to grow my personal cultural competence as well as inform new teaching practices that can further allow me to be an educator who is a meaningful leader within the classroom.
Study Abroad Scholarships
Study Abroad Scholarships provide up to $3,000 for the purpose of studying in a program that furthers the applicant’s engagement with Sigma Tau Delta’s mission for an academic term or year in a certified, undergraduate program outside the country in which the nominating chapter is located. The scholarship also provides up to $1,500 for applicants whose study abroad program does not constitute a full academic term. Applicants should demonstrate academic scholarship and chapter service; they also must explain the relevance of their study abroad program and activities to fostering the discipline of English, including literature, language, writing, or literacy.
Scholarship Eligibility Criteria
- General Eligibility Criteria
- Currently an undergraduate student
- Plan to study abroad in a certified undergraduate program
All applications will be submitted via the AwardSpring Online submission process.
Application Deadline: November 6, 2023, 11:59 p.m. CDT