Student profile
Kate Taylor

Kate Taylor

"The course has definitely had the desired effect of improving my employability. In fact, I have just started a new job in English language assessment, which I know I would never have got without the knowledge gained on the MA."

Course
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) MA
Entry year
2018

"There were a couple of reasons that drove my decision to study for the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) MA. Firstly, I had over five years’ experience of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and was keen to underpin the practical knowledge I had already gained with some of the corresponding theory. Secondly, I felt as though I had stalled a little in my career and was not sure what to do next. TEFL is a strange profession, with hundreds of opportunities around the world for entry-level teachers, but fewer (and seemingly far more competitive) options for those with more experience. I am lucky enough to live close to Guildford, so given the University’s reputation and the range of modules on offer, the decision to apply to Surrey was a no-brainer.

As a linguist myself, I have always been interested in the language learning process. But my particular interest in TESOL in fact began when I worked in the editorial department of a company that produced course books for some of the major ELT publishers. It made me want to see how these materials were being used on the other side of the world. Since then, I haven’t looked back – TESOL combines contact with people from all over the world, geekiness about language, and cutting-edge educational theory.I really enjoyed the small class sizes and the combined lecture/seminar delivery.

"You are able to ask questions at any point and it is a comfortable environment for sharing your experience and benefiting from that of your teachers and course mates."

In terms of specific modules, I loved Testing and Assessment. I already had a wealth of experience in preparing students for exams and had also worked as a speaking examiner myself, but most of the concepts were entirely new and really made me think.

The academic staff were really helpful and most were clearly passionate about their subject. The facilities at Surrey are decent – the Library is very well equipped. I think that the experience of being a student again has definitely given me lots to consider as a teacher. Producing and receiving feedback on written work has also helped build my confidence in doing the same for my students.

I suppose I am most proud of the fact that I have successfully navigated the brave new world of electronic libraries and online resources. I am also proud of myself for taking an additional advanced course in French and, despite not having used the language for over ten years, holding my own among recent A-level students!

The international environment has been fantastic – I’ve enjoyed making friends and learning from people of a wide range of backgrounds.

"The opportunity to take a free course in a foreign language, too, has been really valuable. Every language teacher should remind themselves of what it feels like to be a language student from time to time."

I have received lots of support from my lecturers and tutors, especially in the form of academic references and encouragement about the various potential employment options I have considered over the course of the year. The course has definitely had the desired effect of improving my employability. In fact, I have just started a new job in English language assessment, which I know I would never have got without the knowledge gained on the MA."

 

Discover more about our language, communication and translation studies courses, including our Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) MA.

 

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