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Student Profile: Barry Wicksman, TESOL Graduate Certificate
With three degrees, and now a CityU graduate certificate, Barry Wicksman is known for his extensive range of knowledge and interests. His students at Northern Marianas College have started calling him Superman 101 because of his passion for learning anything and everything, from poetry to weightlifting to Asian history. Barry’s love of learning propelled him into teaching.
“My vocation and lifelong profession has been teaching,” he said. “I’ve taught all levels of students from kindergarten through university. And I’ve taught in schools from the hills of Northern California to the streets of Shanghai. I love teaching and it is my way of life.”
In 1999 Barry abandoned the chilly winters of New York in favor of the sunny beaches of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth nestled between Japan and The Philippines. For more than 10 years he has worked as an instructor at Northern Marianas College, teaching history and English.
To meet his school’s requirements for teachers – and for his own professional development – Barry applied to CityU’s Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) graduate certificate. Barry spoke to us about his experience since graduating in 2013. Here’s what he had to say about the program:
“The program was very comprehensive and covered all aspects of teaching ESL to international students, from the theoretical to the practical. This provided the future ESL teacher with the knowledge and skills necessary for successfully carrying his or her responsibilities in the classroom.
“Moreover, the online format was student-friendly. This was my first online course and I found it easy to access and use. I particularly enjoyed the discussion board. The exchange of ideas and experience was most beneficial and made learning meaningful and relevant. I also met some extraordinary and dedicated future ESL teachers.
“Furthermore, the CityU instructors were well qualified in their field and provided relevant, organized and focused lessons and assignments. The instructors also provided stimulating readings and practical materials, activities and websites. I am presently using many of these to enhance the quality of my own teaching assignments to benefit my students. In addition, the instructors provided meaningful feedback that greatly added to my comprehension, and improvement as a teacher.
“One particular insight I gained from the program that has taken my instruction to a higher level was the importance of having students assume agency. I now focus on helping students develop immediate as well as metacognitive skills through strategies suggested in CityU’s TESOL program.”
For Barry, the TESOL program was another opportunity to satiate his superman appetite for learning, but it also provided him the tools to share that passion with his students. Since completing the program at CityU, Barry said he’s equipped to effectively teach English to a broad variety of international students, and can continue instilling a love of learning in all of his students.