Getting to Know You – Rachel

When I think of someone with a kind heart and a great smile, I think of Rachel.  Rachel is in my L2 Writing course and is a total sweetheart.  She has such a cool teaching background as well.  Read on to learn more about Rachel!

What’s your name?

What’s your hometown? Macungie, Pennsylvania (in the Lehigh Valley)

Where did you go to undergrad?  My undergraduate studies took place at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.  There, I studied Foreign Language Secondary Education with a double major in French.  I graduated in May 2011, and that is when I joined Teach For America.


Have you ever taught English before?  I have not yet taught an English course other than my current practice teaching context at South Philadelphia High School and Paul Robeson High School, under the instruction of Mrs. Frances Wilkins.  There, I conduct stand-alone lessons once a week for about 1.5 hours each class.  My biggest challenge is keeping the students enthused about the course-work.  The best way for me to go about this is to cater the lessons to fit the needs and interests of my students.

Why did you decide to get a Master’s in TESOL?  When I taught high school French in Greenville, Mississippi with the Teach For America program, I decided that I wanted to give something else a try.  As much fun as I had instructing American students to learn French, I wanted to see what it was like to teach international students English.


What made you want to come to GSE?  Penn GSE is in a city that has a big place in my heart.  I truly love all that Philadelphia has to offer.  Aside from that, the information I gathered when I researched graduate schools made me believe that GSE is truly my best option.

What do you want to do after you graduate?  I plan to gain some field experience teaching ESOL students.  I hope to teach at a college or university in Philadelphia for a few years before entering into a doctoral program.


Enough about school, tell me something fun you like to do outside of class!  My biggest enjoyment is live music.  My fiancé, Will, and I go to concerts and music festivals whenever we get the chance.  The thrill of live performance makes us truly happy!

What do you think of Philadelphia?  Philadelphia is a wonderfully colorful city filled with incredible opportunity.  Perhaps my favorite aspects of Philadelphia are the music and the arts.  You can find this anywhere you go in the city.  Just take a look at our mural arts program–the largest in the country!


Do you have any advice/comments/words of wisdom for prospective students?  Be sure to really put yourself out there in order to gain returns! The more you are willing to do, the more you will receive.  If you ever come across any programs you can join that interest you, go for it.  You’ll be surprised what you can find both in our city and in our school!


Thanks so much, Rachel!  And you’re 110% right about the murals in Philly – they are phenomenal!


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