By the time Madeline Rehm graduated from college last December she knew what she wanted to do, and she knew how she was going to do it.
As a college student with an independent spirit, the Lake George, N.Y., native had taken some time off to live and work in Spain, teaching English as a foreign language to children there. “I loved watching kids who at first couldn’t handle a new language go from zero to total understanding. It was exciting to watch.”
When she returned to Siena College in 2016 to complete her degree, she switched her major from Biology to Spanish.
“In my last semester of college, I began researching MAT ESOL programs because I knew that this is what I wanted to do,” she says. “I sent an inquiry to Clarkson’s MAT program asking if they had a program for English as a New Language /TESOL. As it turned out, they were in the process of creating the program.”
Last October, Madeline met with Catherine Snyder, associate professor and chair of Clarkson’s Department of Education, and Nikki Foley, program coordinator. “It was an informal meeting that turned into an interview. They immediately got me into classes for the spring.”
The 39-credit MAT ESOL program can be completed in 12 to 22 months, depending on the path students choose. Madeline originally planned to approach the degree as a two-year program. “But by taking two courses now, I will probably adjust the timeframe.”
“That’s one of the things I like most about this program. It is very individualized. And the classes have been great so far.”
As part of the program, Madeline will also complete an internship in an English as a New Language (ENL) classroom or at a bilingual school.
“I am considering adding a Spanish certificate to my degree after the coursework and internship. A double certificate will make me more marketable.”
Reflecting on her decision to pursue teaching English to non-native speakers, Madeline is thoughtful. “In today’s political climate it is especially important that refugees and immigrants who come to the United States be able to communicate so that they have the resources to not only survive but thrive. English language competency is essential to their success.”
“I am excited to be a part of that.”