March 2019 NNETESOL Member Spotlight: Sumeyra Gok

I am a doctoral student at the University of New Hampshire. I currently work as a graduate assistant in the UNH education department. I previously taught ESL at a public high school in Worcester, MA and EFL at a private language institute in Turkey. My introduction to the field of TESOL was a result of a few different decisions. Having been born and raised in Turkey, I was a beginner level ESL student at a high school in Northern Virginia when my family first moved to the United States. While I was an ESL student myself, I did not consider becoming a teacher. After returning to Turkey during my senior year, I decided to major in American Studies in college because I already had the English language advantage compared to my peers in Turkey. However, even after completing my undergraduate program, I did not see myself as a teacher. Regardless, I completed an intensive certificate program and I started teaching English at a language school. It started out as a temporary job while I was figuring out the next steps for my life and career. But as I started to become more confident in my teaching, I also started to enjoy it and to see it as an actual career for me. By then, I was looking at graduate programs in the U.S. for American Studies but I also started sending applications for Master’s degree programs in Education. Needless to say, I chose the Education path. I got my teaching licensure in Massachusetts and started to teach at a public school in Worcester. Although I am not teaching at the moment, I am still involved in public schools. I visit middle schools and high schools in the Manchester area for my graduate work.

My favorite strategy for ESL classrooms is the game Kahoot. I discovered it while I was teaching at a summer language institute in Boston a few years ago. It is an online game tool, which requires students to connect live and answer questions. I used it in different settings and I always received positive feedback from my students. It is especially useful for reviewing vocabulary or answering trivia questions. Also, it is free and people can create their own questions or use the already existing ones by other users!

Lastly, I am a part of NNETESOL because it gives me the opportunity to connect with teachers and educators around me. I think it is important to be involved locally and to meet with people who share the same interests and teach in similar settings.

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