December/January

MEmber of the Month:

Tabitha Kidwell


Occupation: Professional Lecturer


Institution: American University


Years Involved in/Teaching ESL?
About 13 years, plus 5 years teaching French and Spanish



Why did you become an ESOL teacher?

I first started teaching English when I was placed in Madagascar with the Peace Corps. I taught English to secondary school students and adults in a little town on the Mozambique channel for two years!

What other jobs or careers did you have before landing in TESOL?

I've mostly worked in language education, teaching English, French, and Spanish, but I also spent one holiday season managing an ugly Christmas sweater store!

What do you love about your career?

I love learning from my students and colleagues.  The TESOL field brings you into contact with so many interesting people from fascinating backgrounds!

Who or what inspires you?

I'm inspired by the students I work with.  They navigate master's level studies in their second (or third, or fourth) language, and have such interesting perspectives on life in the US. 

What has been your greatest accomplishment (so far)?

I graduated from UMD with my PhD last spring!  Competing the dissertation was a huge accomplishment which I'm really proud of, especially since it involved spending 8 months in Indonesia collecting data and working with EFL teachers.

What goals do you have for the future?

Having just finished my PhD, I'm taking a little pause on new career-related goals.  My big goal now is trying to find a good work-life balance, and to actually take breaks when school is out of session!

What is your favorite part about teaching?

Giving others the tools they need to achieve their goals.

Training teachers is like _____.

planting seeds, because meaningful growth requires time, a supportive environment, and lots of nurturing.

The three things I always keep in my desk/have in my teaching bag are:

A dry erase marker, duct tape, and an LCD projector dongle.  And I always have chart paper and markers in the trunk of my car! 


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