Jaclyn Wallach ‘12
M.S.Ed. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Long Island, NY
Tell us about yourself. Where are you from and when did you decide to pursue teaching?
My name is Jaclyn Wallach and I’m from Long Island, New York. I decided to pursue teaching during my senior year of college. I received my undergraduate degree at Binghamton University in Human Development with minors in music, French and global studies. I had been a tutor for English as a Second Language (ESL) students and well as a teaching assistant in one of the university’s ESL classes. Finally, after studying abroad twice, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the realm of international education. TESOL seemed like the best next step.
What about Hofstra drew you to apply? Why the TESOL program?
I knew Hofstra had an excellent reputation. Many of my family members went to Hofstra for their Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degrees, and they all had wonderful experiences. I knew the campus was beautiful, modern and it was close to home. One of my family members also received her Master’s Degree at Hofstra in TESOL and spoke very highly of it. After researching the TESOL program and talking to family members, I learned that the classes were good sizes; the professors had a lot of experience, were personable and always there to help; the scheduling was flexible; and I would receive an interdisciplinary approach to the field. After looking at other schools’ and their TESOL programs, I felt the TESOL program at Hofstra University would best fit my lifestyle and help me in the career I wanted to pursue.
Tell us about a faculty member or several professors that you consider mentors.
Dr. Gordon has been an excellent mentor. I know not only to me, but most likely to every TESOL student that has entered the program. Not only does it seem like she knows everyone by name, but somehow she remembers a lot of what the students share with her - even after they graduate! She is always available to answer questions, even past the “normal hours.” She is always patient, fair but is always reasonable. She wants you to gain experience and to learn from her own experiences. I have used many of her life and professional lessons for the classroom in the field. Her advice is priceless. She gives her students a voice, and I think that makes her an excellent professor and mentor.
Dr. H. Seliger was also a wonderful faculty member. He has great ESOL linguistic experience and actually teaches you to apply those linguistic skills to the classroom. There were countless times during my field experiences and in the professional world where I remembered many of his lessons and have used them to help better my students’ language skills.
How did Hofstra help to coordinate your field experiences? Did you enjoy this portion of the program?
The Office of Field Placement at the School of Education has many connections to many different schools across the Island and in the city. They worked around the clock with other schools. Sometimes, placements don’t always work out, perhaps the student doesn’t work well with a school, or another teacher from another school would like the student to observe or student teach in his/her classroom. The Director of Field Placement, Dr. Ann Marie Ginsberg, was so helpful when I needed to change locations. She took me through the proper steps and it went very smoothly. Being in the field is probably the best place to make the links between the classroom and the “real world.” I know that seems cliché, but it is the absolute truth. It’s the link between theory and philosophy, and real life situations. It is the best way to learn. I really did enjoy those parts of the program.
Do you participate in any extra curricular activities at Hofstra?
During my time at Hofstra, I was a tutor for the English Language Program. I tutored about five different students in reading, writing, speaking and listening. Sometimes we would really work on their academic English skills, other times we would actually sit and talk using every day English to help them with their everyday English language skills. I gained new students, new friends, and I am still in contact with them even after I’ve graduated.
What is your advice for students interested in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages?
My advice for students interested in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages is to use as much of the resources at the school, in the area and in your hometown as possible. The professors are always there for the students to talk to, there are so many international students on campus (including classmates), and there are many cultural events at the school and in the area. There are many ways to apply the skills one gains in the program to your professional career. Additionally, the program helps you to make many great connections post-graduation. I just recently started a job for a company that recruits international high school students to American schools. I teach ESL to those students. The founder of the company was a Hofstra University graduate with whom I took classes. So remember, your professors and your classmates are an excellent source to help you get your career started. Don’t give up!