March 24, 2022 | Michelle Dzisiak
This month, we’re sharing Melissa’s story.
Melissa is a graduate of the Teacher Certification Program in Arizona.
Melissa’s drive to earn her teaching certification stemmed from a passion for learning languages and social engagement.
Living abroad, having a family, and juggling other responsibilities meant that Melissa needed a teacher certification program that was flexible to her hours and lifestyle.
With TCP Arizona, Melissa was able to work asynchronously and attain her state teaching license online from anywhere in the world.
With a sought-after American teaching license in hand, Melissa is able to continue living and teaching abroad as a Primary Education/EAL Teacher.
“TCP was the perfect fit for my situation. I teach full-time at an elementary school, have a small child at home, and active social life, but I was able to incorporate my studies into times that worked for me. If anything, the program enhanced my teaching in real-time as it helped me reexamine my lessons and encouraged me to try out new techniques.”
Let’s dive in to hear about Melissa’s experience with Klassroom’s Teacher Certification Program and how she was able to pursue her US teaching license online while living abroad.
What drew you to pursue a career in teaching? Was this a lifelong dream or a new interest?
I began teaching U.S. citizenship and English to immigrants at 18 due to my personal love of language learning and passion for social engagement.
When I moved to Europe, I had the opportunity to develop my practice to include children, which was a little scary at first!
Now, 16 years later, I feel so fulfilled with my career choice.
Why did you decide to pursue a US teaching license online and take an alternative route to become a licensed teacher instead of the traditional education path?
I chose an alternative route to U.S. licensure because I am still living abroad.
I needed a program that allowed me to study despite the time difference and that built upon my university studies.
Has your alternate route to certification been manageable while juggling your other responsibilities?
TCP was the perfect fit for my situation.
I teach full-time at an elementary school, have a small child at home, and active social life, but I was able to incorporate my studies into times that worked for me.
If anything, the program enhanced my teaching in real-time as it helped me reexamine my lessons and encouraged me to try out new techniques.
What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far?
I learned a lot about the rationale and intention behind the development of the U.S. Common Core Standards, which I did not have experience with before I left the U.S. I needed a firm understanding of these concepts in order to teach more effectively.
Was there a teacher in your life who inspired you? If so, who was it and what impact did they have on you?
My high school English teacher, Angela, inspired me at a very impressionable time in my life.
She was open and honest with her students about the world. She encouraged debate and dialogue.
We were asked to explain our thinking constantly.
At that age, it was so unusual for a grown-up to ask you to challenge her and have that grown-up tell you your argument changed her mind about the topic.
I will carry that feeling with me into each classroom I lead.
Angela and I are still in contact and meet for coffee when I am home for visits and I tell her often how grateful I am to have had her!
What area of teaching are you specializing in? Why did you choose it?
I am a primary education/EAL teacher.
I love learning new languages. Working with young students gives me the opportunity to share that joy with kids new to English.
I want to help second language learners feel confident in their academic abilities.
Are you currently working in a teaching capacity? If so, could you tell us a little bit about your experience teaching so far?
I have been teaching at a bilingual German school for the last 6 years and in multilingual kindergartens for another 6.
In that time I have worked with Montessori, Reggio Emilia, British curriculum, American curriculum, and IB frameworks.
I love that as a teacher, I am also learning constantly.
We are always trying something new or working with colleagues who are trained in different concepts.
There is every opportunity to develop in whatever direction you want to take.
What is your favorite thing about working with students and/or what is the thing that you’re most looking forward to when you are in a classroom?
My kids are absolute goofballs and I love it.
I have 1st graders at the moment and they are so resilient and open to new things.
Every day in the classroom is different and every new year, even though the curriculum is the same, the kids make the concepts new.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about getting certified to teach?
Really think about what you will do when the kids are having an off day. When they are misbehaving and unfocused.
Are you patient enough to corral twenty-four to thirty 7-year-olds? Are you empathetic enough to understand what they need at that moment? Could you do it with 15-year-olds?
What age group resonates most with you?
So much of my day is centered on the social/emotional needs of the students (and the parents, let’s be real).
I didn’t know that when I started as an adult educator.
Are there any final notes, thoughts, or comments you’d like to add?
Teaching is not easy. It’s not a career that lets you leave the work on your desk every day at 5 pm.
To be good at this, you have to be willing to work really hard and with no guarantee of payoff.
However, I absolutely love that kids I taught five years ago stop by to say hi and remember lessons we did in grade 1 or something funny that happened on a field trip.
I truly feel this is a vocation and I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Are you thinking about becoming a teacher and getting your teaching license online while living abroad?
Start your teaching career and find US teaching jobs with Klassroom. Learn more about our online teacher certification program and become a teacher today!