Maribel Fernández, an educator from Uruguay, shows that even those in established careers can benefit from returning to university.
|Degree Course||MEd Teaching English To Speakers Of Other Languages|
|Year of Graduation||2005|
Your time at the University
I had been a teacher of English for almost twenty years when I decided to return to university. I felt that experience alone was not enough to enhance my career prospects in a discipline that is permanently raising its standards, so I decided to reinforce my theoretical knowledge, and widen my vision.
I have a strong belief that the teaching of a foreign language must be backed up by a deep understanding of all the complex processes it implies: the TESOL programme at Edinburgh enabled me to achieve this.
My favourite memories of the period of studies have to do with teamwork, with getting together to look for materials, sharing meals, fun and worries, helping each other to succeed, encouraging one another to go on, to work harder, not to give up when things were not so fine.
Making friends is undoubtedly a valuable extra bonus of your university studies. And it is even more interesting and valuable when you can benefit from an intercultural environment.
Your experiences since leaving the University
After leaving the University I worked for several years in a Language Institute that prepares ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) examinations. Their students are candidates at Oxford and Cambridge tests and also IELTS (International English Language Testing System).
I was the Vice President of URUTESOL (Uruguayan Teacher Association) for two years and now hold a position in the fiscal committee. URUTESOL is a non-profit organisation with the objective of promoting teacher development opportunities and it is a sister association and member of TESOL international and IATEFL (International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language). I have been a member for many years and on the board several times, occupying different positions. Even though this is voluntary work, it requires time and dedication. In return, you can connect with lots of colleagues, learn from one another, reflect on your teaching practices and organise academic events where you can sponsor key note speakers from different places in the world. In a country with a modest budget like Uruguay, this is a necessary step to keep up standards of teaching knowledge.
Graduating from Edinburgh gave me the chance of becoming a teacher educator and coordinator. It is a plus in my CV and has enabled me to face the challenge of training future teachers with much more confidence. It has enhanced my career prospects in many different ways, indeed.
I started teaching online teacher education courses and my former experience as a long distance student has helped me find efficient ways to engage trainees in a virtual environment.
In February 2019 I met some fellow Edinburgh graduates in Punta del Este. We enjoyed a great Burns supper and shared our experiences and memories.
I strongly advise current students to take advantage of the excellent opportunities that Edinburgh offers. Study hard, do your best, make the most of your time, meet friends, learn about different cultures and help us all to build a better academic world where knowledge and values go hand in hand.