Victoria Solis earned a master’s degree in TESOL at Temple University, Japan Campus (TUJ) in summer 2011 and now teaches at a university in Chiba. “It’s quite stimulating being a teacher. I love what I do,” she says. Victoria is from the Philippines. After graduating from university there, she moved to California.
1) How did you choose TUJ’s TESOL Program?
One summer when I was a student in the Philippines, I went with an outreach team to a small town that had been engulfed by a landslide. The school was destroyed, and I became an instant teacher in a classroom tent. What we did for those children gave them courage and hope. I realized what I wanted to do in my life – I wanted to be a teacher.
I had always wanted to come to Tokyo. I chose TUJ because it has a very good master’s program in TESOL which offers both practical teaching techniques and theoretical background. Also, whether I decide to stay in Japan or go back to California, I can use my degree to find work — as the program is U.S.-accredited and also recognized as a Foreign University, Japan Campus by Japan’s Ministry of Education. Faculty are well-known in the field of TESOL and the flexible schedule allowed me to work and study at the same time.
2) What was memorable at Temple?
I was by myself in a foreign country with a language I didn’t speak. I felt overwhelmed, yet excited. Most memorable were the people I met at TUJ. Faculty and staff were kind and I made good friends. One moment that stands out was after the earthquake of March 11. TUJ worked hard so students could get to a safer place. I was one of those who flew to Hong Kong – free of charge – on the charter plane arranged by Temple University for students who wanted to evacuate. I was impressed by how much the school cared not only for the education of their students, but for our well-being as well. I don’t think a lot of schools do that.
3) How did you overcome challenges?
The first challenge in earning my master’s was overcoming my own insecurities. I had no experience teaching English nor am I a native speaker. I felt like I had to work twice as hard as others if I wanted to succeed in the program. After a few semesters, I got a part-time job. The challenge there was to balance school and work. It was all difficult, but I was able to graduate after just a year and a half.
4) How did your career change after you graduated?
Earning a master’s degree helped me achieve my goal of teaching at a university. I am currently teaching English part time at Seitoku University in Chiba. Having completed TUJ’s TESOL program, I have more confidence as a teacher and I know I can help my students reach their goals in mastering English.
5) What are your dreams?
I have very simple dreams. I want to be a teacher and keep getting better at what I do. And I hope to be the kind of teacher that can help my students discover their potential and fulfill their own dreams. I hope to someday look back at everything I have accomplished and be proud. My current dream is for my status as a part-time university teacher to change to full-time. That would be awesome!
TUJ’s TESOL Distinguished Lecturer Series comprises nine intensive weekend seminars a year. Three hours of each seminar (Saturday 2:00 – 5:00) are free and open to the public.
For information on coming seminars, click here.