The “Get to Know Us” series intends to give our audience and prospective students a closer look into who we are and what we do here at The Center for American Language & Culture.
Today’s post features Dr. Amy Moyer, ESL Coordinator for the Center for American Language & Culture (CALC). Read below to see what she had to say about her experiences abroad, what drew her to teaching ESL, and what she does to support the Center & its programs.
What brought you to the field of English as a Second Language (ESL)?
Well I would say my first study abroad experience in Krakow, Poland. I spent a summer abroad in Krakow and met many different kinds of people from interesting places. I was already an education major, with the intention of teaching high school social studies, but that first experience abroad opened up my world view.
Not only did my interest in travel and culture grow, but I also discovered that teaching abroad was a viable way to start my teaching career and travel. And ESL was the best way to do it.
Right after I finished my undergraduate degree, I immediately started my masters in TESOL. Actually, I went back to teach English in Poland over two summers shortly after receiving my degree.
Do you have a most memorable teaching experience with ESL?
I would say that teaching ESL in Saudi Arabia offered the most memorable experiences. While there were a lot of great things about living and teaching in Saudi, one of my favorite things about being there was tutoring. I did a lot of tutoring in the evenings because there were not a lot of recreational opportunities and I was there without my family. I was a tutor for two families on a regular basis. While it allowed me to make a little bit of extra money, it was the connection I made with the families that was really valuable to me.
Often after tutoring, I would eat dinner with the family, watch movies or go to the mall. I even taught one family how to make chocolate chip cookies. Through these interactions, I became a part of their family. That experience allowed me a completely different view of Saudi life, then if I had not tutored.
What does your role do for the Center for American Language & Culture (CALC)?
I handle our ESL programs, the classes we offer, the students we have enrolled, and their academic needs.
As a part of my role, I administer our pre- and post- program testing, create and assess our curriculum, and keep our current students on track. I am also involved in creating new programming.
Right now our CALC is growing, so we are looking at different opportunities. It’s been really exciting to see the different kind of students we will be serving and where the Center is going in the future.
What makes TCNJ’s Center for American Language & Culture unique?
Well, our focus is on success in the academic setting. We don’t have 16 different ESL classes; we have very few because we want to get our students ready to integrate fully into their academic coursework.
The skills that they are learning in their ESL classes are in sync with what they’ll encounter in their regular academic classrooms.
So I think that CALC is unique in that way; that it is very much focused on academic rigor and providing an experience that will help students succeed in the academic setting.
Tell us something about yourself that people may not know.
When I graduated high school I didn’t go to college right away. Instead I traveled across the United States.
I ended up moving to northern California where I was a caretaker on a 100-acre property in the coastal mountains of Sonoma County. I lived there for 2 years, in a cabin with no electricity or running water.
I worked in the gardens and with the fruit trees; planting and pruning, canning and drying. I learned so much from that experience. About myself and about life. Although sometimes I wish I had gone to college sooner, this experience was invaluable and definitely shaped me. So if you ever get on Survivor you want me as your buddy because I know which herbs & twigs you can eat.