ESL Certification: Cooperating Teacher’s View

Ana Rawson

Ana Rawson, MAT 19 (1988), is interviewed here by Colleen Garrett, MAT 40 (2008), whose previous posts have been quite popular.  Directing her school district’s teaching of English to speakers of other languages, Ana also holds several other distinctions, including representing the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union to the WIDA Consortium. Besides her own ESOL teaching, Ana teaches SIT’s ESL Certification course, Advocacy in US Public Education.

In addition to being her teacher in the Advocacy course, Ana works with Colleen daily during the internship as an on-site peer and resource.  This critical and special role of Ana’s is called that of a “cooperating teacher.”

PART ONE – A Cooperating Teacher’s View

  • What were the most valuable parts of your MA in Teaching from SIT?

Colleen Garrett

One of the most valuable parts of my experience at SIT was the opportunity for reflection on my own cultural background, and learning to see this as a strength in my teaching. In my class, my values and convictions were reinforced and I acquired tools to translate  ideas into action, and advocacy. When I arrived at SIT I had been teaching in California for 10 years, my MA allowed me to explore teaching beyond the nuts and bolts. It enhanced the skills I already had and expanded my vision of education.

  • How have you applied this learning?

Experiential learning is a difficult factor to trace, because it seeps into how you think, and the choices you make in your life. Currently, I direct the program for English language learners in my school district. My practices, whether I am teaching young people or working with teachers on staff development, reflect my belief in planning experiences where learners can work together in building their knowledge.

It is this process of questioning, reflecting, and solving problems that leads to lifelong learners. The value of celebrating differences, believing all students can learn when support is provided, and advocating have been central to all aspects of my life.

  • What have you noticed about SIT interns at your school?

This year we have two interns working at Brattleboro Union High School and Brattleboro Area Middle School.  Inkyoung is from Korea and Colleen grew up in many places. Although they have different backgrounds, they share an eagerness and dedication to learning about teaching. They bring to our students varied perspectives on culture, and expand our classroom walls with international experiences.  SIT interns ask thoughtful questions and share a vision of equity and respect.

  • How does working with SIT interns inform your professional practice?

Each intern views teaching through a different lens depending on their background and experiences. In answering thoughtful questions and clarifying the purpose of structures I have an opportunity to examine classroom practices and refine my own thinking.  In listening to interns I have the opportunity to see teaching from a fresh point of view. It is rewarding to watch the growth and insight interns develop over the course of the internship.

  • What are some reasons you teach Advocacy in US Public Education at SIT?

Teaching advocacy at SIT completes a circle for me. I received my MAT 22 years ago and have been working in public school since then. When I started working in Brattleboro, there was no ESOL program. At the start, a great portion of my job was advocating for space, materials, and most important, understanding from those who worked with English language learners.

It has taken many years, but the program has grown from a file closet to a fully equipped classroom space, and we have a staff development program for teachers. In the Advocacy course, it is my goal to be able to give new teachers the tools to define their own passions and reach their goals through successful advocacy. It is an opportunity to return to new teachers what I have learned about advocacy since I left SIT.

  • What are your desires for the future?

Teaching is at the center of my life, and I will continue to do this in some way as long as I am able. After 30 years of working with children from preschool through grade 12, I would like to find ways to pass on this experience to new teachers and to help them navigate their journey into the teaching profession.


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One Response to “ESL Certification: Cooperating Teacher’s View”

  1. Extra reading for ESL Certification | one minute teacher Says:

    […] ESL Certification: Cooperating Teacher’s View « MAT Admissions – ESL Certification: Cooperating Teacher’s View. By matadmissions. Ana Rawson. Ana Rawson, MAT 19 (1988), is interviewed here by Colleen Garrett, MAT 40 (2008), whose previous posts have been quite popular. Directing her school district’s … […]

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