Amber Wolak developed a love of TESOL while serving in the Peace Corps in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, West Africa. Through her frenzied early days as a beginning teacher trying to inspire classrooms of 80 students, she realized that teaching was a calling that she simply had to pursue. After two years at a middle school in Mauritania, she spent a year teaching at a university in China. For the last three years, she has been the Program Services Coordinator for the English Language Institute of Skyline College, in San Bruno. Amber is passionate about teaching the whole student, by providing English language learners with the support needed to succeed in all areas of their lives. After graduation, she hopes to work with beginning-level ESL students closer to her home in Concord, Ca.
Integrating English Education with Supportive Services
Many factors influence whether adult non-native English speakers decide to stay in school, and what type of improvements they make in English development and other areas of their lives while they are there. This paper investigates a program at a local community college that integrates English education with supportive services offered through a one-stop model located on campus. Through a lens of persistence, which revolves around students continuing the English learning process over a period of time, this project studies how well this program is working for the students that it serves. By a series of detailed interviews with one of this program’s participants who is on track to achieve her educational and personal goals despite a variety of external hardships, this paper aims to describe what about this model is working, and what areas could still be improved upon in the future.