On May 11, 2018, I graduated and earned my Masters of Arts in Teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) from the University of Southern California. This was a very proud moment for me as I am the first in my family to earn a master’s degree (and a bachelor’s.)
When I decided that I would pursue a degree in TESOL, I had two choices; attend in-person or online. After much consideration, I chose the latter.
USC offers a unique experience for their online students with their synchronous learning component of their online programs. I remember a classmate saying that we were “spoiled” in our online experience. I agree.
As online students, we were able to have the on-campus experience in our homes. There were students who lived in various parts of the U.S. and the world including China and Laos during my time in the program and yet, we met weekly in real-time via Adobe Connect. Classes were 2 to 2 ½ hours and acted similar to a traditional classroom that included lectures and discussions. Because we were able to meet weekly, it was easy to build relationships with each other.
The TESOL program requires you to create lesson plans and teach lessons in a face-to-face classroom, and tutor students in an online platform too. A selected amount of lessons are to be filmed depending on the course. The great benefit to the program is that it does not require you to quit your full-time job nor are you required to student teach full-time.
The professors were wonderful. They each had something special to offer to the classroom with their experiences and background in the TESOL world. The support staff was amazing as well. Every student is assigned to a student support advisor and receive schedule coaching calls to help you navigate through your program.
The program did not come without stresses though. I will admit I was a terrible undergrad student! I’ve been in teacher mode for so many years that it was quite difficult to discipline myself to study and show up on time to class. But nevertheless, I am thankful for my online experience with USC. I do not think I would have the same (positive) experience anywhere else.
Now, I just need to consolidate this student debt…