A log and description of an odessy into the world of ESL

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Hi folks: My name is Gerry Landers. I hail from Atlanta originally. I am now teaching ESL at Auburn Univ. in Auburn, Alabama. I have studied Spanish and Japanese as an exchange student and so I have a special compassion for students coming to the US to study our language, for I know how they can feel overwhelmed. After a ten-year career in the airline business ended, my path led to a Masters in Applied Linguistics/TESL from Georgia State Univ. which I finished in December 2002. From there I took the job at Auburn. In my position at Auburn I teach in the IEP. I teach all levels of grammar and reading as well as listening/speaking classes. I also teach international teaching assistants (ITA’s) who are studying in graduate programs from all kinds of departments on Auburn’s campus. These three courses for the ITA’s are offered by the English department in an effort to improve the level of ability the ITA's have at their disposal in the classes they teach as part of their graduate programs. One of the courses I teach is a teaching/classroom skills course for the American university format for those who are new to the American university environment. Our department also teaches a listening/speaking course for this audience as well as an academic writing course for them. I am relatively new to the ESL teaching community, but I am excited about the way the technologies available to us now can enhance the experiences we provide for our students in ESL or EFL classes.

In the next step in the unfolding of my career path, I have begun to take classes toward a PhD from the English department. I plan to get this PhD in English (very slowly, owing to the fact that I will be working full-time while I pursue it) with a heavy concentration in linguistics and an emphasis on teaching ESL. I just yesterday found out that I have been formally accepted into this program. I hope to somehow incorporate into my dissertation, and into my studies for this degree, the use of web-based technologies into the ESL classroom and the teaching of ESL. I wonder if I might be taking on an overly-ambitious plan here, but I have faith that I will figure it out as I go along in the degree program.

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