As the coordinator of M.Ed. in Teaching English as an Additional Language program for international teachers in the Faculty of Education, being part of the celebration of a decade of program’s service on December 10, 2015 was an honorable experience. Closely observing students’ progress in this intensive 17-month program, despite all the challenges of study in a new academic context reminds me of my own challenges when I was an international doctoral student in Australia.
Now, watching my own students in their graduation gowns at graduation ceremonies is remarkably rewarding. But above all, and beyond graduation ceremonies, stands the joy of hearing success stories of our alumni. Observing how our alumni apply their experience and knowledge gained at Simon Fraser University to make change in their own lives and the lives of their students and communities is the most fulfilling moment of all.
I feel deeply grateful for the opportunities that being part of this program has opened for furthering my research on international education. In my latest study, I am reviewing our students’ autobiographies to understand their main derivers for making the move to study with us to become English language teachers. The stories I read in the autobiographies are moving, reflecting immense determination and sacrifice. Students’ stories remind me of my deep commitment to hearing their voices, and my obligation as a program coordinator to respond to their needs.