ESL teacher Kelsey Evans is currently completing a ten-month teaching program in Vietnam through the English Language Fellow Program (ELF) that began in June 2018.
While earning both a BA and MA in linguistics from Fresno State, Evans began teaching English as a second language by getting involved with the American English Institute (AEI) during her Junior year as an undergrad.
Evans initially joined as a volunteer conservation partner and teaching assistant. During her Senior year of undergrad, she completed an apprenticeship with AEI and was offered a position teaching English classes after she earned her BA and entered into graduate school.
“Working at AEI throughout grad school was a fantastic opportunity. In addition to getting to work alongside experienced teachers, I was also able to see how the concepts and methodologies I was learning about applies directly to the classes I was instructing,” said Evans.
Evans stated that she had always been interested in putting her linguistics degrees to use in teaching overseas, so when she learned about the ELF program she took advantage of the opportunity to pursue it and was supported by her advisors and colleagues.
“I had a lot of the staff at AEI encouraging me to apply. The director, Cheryl Chan, would turn to me from time to time at work and say, ‘Why are you still here? You should be teaching overseas.’”
When Evans learned that she was accepted into the program and would be completing a teaching assignment in Vietnam, she was excited and ready for the new challenges that would allow her to rise to her full potential in her career. She was equally delighted to be completing this assignment through the ELF program in particular.
“I was ecstatic. Not only was I finally going to be teaching overseas, but through an amazing program. ELF provides many opportunities for professional growth and development. I have had some opportunities to provide teacher training through workshops, which is a new experience for me,” said Evans. “Although I will still be teaching English to university students, I have a lot of flexibility to make this assignment my own.”
Evans anticipates that this teaching assignment will allow her to expand upon her knowledge in the field as well as give her the chance to exercise her personal creativity in her approach to teaching overseas.
“I am most looking forward to the opportunity to stretch myself in news ways professionally. As I mentioned, teacher training is a big component of the program, which has been a really great to experience,” said Evans. “I currently have a couple of ideas in the works that I’m really hoping will come to fruition.”
During the development of her own projects while on assignment, Evans plans to incorporate what she learned during her time at AEI into her work with students in Vietnam.
“AEI provided me with my foundation for all of my teaching experience. In the four years that I worked there, I got to teach almost every skill area and language level that the program offered. AEI gave me a wide range of experience and also provided me a lot of resources to improve and supplement my instruction with and they continue to do so,” said Evans.