Getting to Know You – Robert

This week, my interview is with Robert.  Robert is a Philly native, which is awesome.  I can’t say I have found many in this program.  Anyway, he has experience teaching English abroad and domestically, which make his contributions in class extra interesting since he has seen how different countries approach teaching English.  Read on below to learn more.

What’s your name?  Robert

What’s your hometown? South Philly

Robert in Ecuador
Riding the Swing of Death at Mirador de Turi, Ecuador.

Where did you go to undergrad?  I received my B.B.A. in Economics from Temple University in 2011.

Have you ever taught English before?  After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I spent a year teaching kindergarteners in Zhuhai, China. Working with young children is both exhausting and extremely rewarding.

Robert with his students in China.

For the last two years, I have been teaching adults at Kaplan International at 12th and Walnut. My students come from a range of different countries. The best part about working with adults is that instructors can draw from their rich variety of experiences.

Why did you decide to get a Master’s in TESOL? I decided that if I wanted to pursue teaching seriously, I had to be acquainted with the current concepts in TESOL. Additionally, I knew that a Master’s degree would expand my opportunities both in the States and overseas.

What made you want to come to GSE? I wanted to study TESOL in a challenging environment. My current cohort contains a mixture of domestic and international students who are all very enthusiastic about their academic studies. Besides having a great student body, the faculty at PennGSE is extremely knowledgeable about what they teach. The low student-to-faculty ratio means that students can have a very intimate learning experience with their professors.

Making tutus on MLK Day of Service at GSE this year. (via)

What do you want to do after you graduate?  After graduation, I would like to teach university students overseas. China and Korea are currently on my radar; however, I am open to other teaching opportunities.   

Enough about school, tell me something fun you like to do outside of class!  When I’m not studying educational linguistics, I experiment with street photography. Besides the larger museums like the Philadelphia Art Museum and Penn’s Institute of Contemporary Art, other worthwhile spaces to check out include The Fabric Workshop, Vox Populi, and Philadelphia Photo Arts.

Men Playing Chess
Men Playing Chess (Santiago, DR   2015)

What do you think of Philadelphia? 


Do you have any advice/comments/words of wisdom for prospective students?  First, observe as many classes as you can at your schools of choice. It is best to go earlier in the semester and try to obtain a copy of the syllabus. Second, try to link up with current students and ask them for advice. Third, think about what you want out of the program in the long run. Smaller programs might allow you to foster more intimate experiences. Larger schools might have a stronger alumni network.

Robert 02
Napping in the Philly Snowpocalypse of 2016


Thanks so much, Robert!


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