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  • Writer's pictureStudent Ambassadors

TESOL K-12 Alumni Spotlight: Valery Abila

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

We have so many amazing alumni from BYU, and it is always so fun to hear about how their education is helping them in their classrooms! To learn more about the TESOL K-12 minor, we reached out to Valery Abila to hear about her experience since graduation. Here is what she said:

A little bit about Valery:

"I’m Valery Abila from Atlanta, GA! I like to cook, go shopping, spend time with my friends and family, and I’m starting to get into kickboxing! I graduated in April and am currently in my first year of teaching!"

Where are you teaching and what grade?

"3rd grade in Duluth, Georgia."

What made you choose the TESOL K-12 minor?

"I learned Spanish before learning English when growing up so I was in ESOL classes from kindergarten through second grade. To this day, I remember the names of my ESOL teachers, and I am grateful that they took the time to make sure I learned English so I could be successful in school! I chose the TESOL minor because I know what it's like to be in a class where you don't really understand what's going on because of a language barrier. Since I have been in the shoes of English Language Learners, I originally decided to do the TESOL minor so I could be ready and prepared to help my ELLs feel valued, included, and cared about!"

What are you doing in your classroom to implement what you learned in the TESOL minor?

"I have been able to implement what I learned in the TESOL minor right away this school year! I have students in my class who speak Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Gujarati, and Arabic! In the TESOL classes, you learn a lot about viewing an EL student’s native language and culture as an asset and not a deficit. It has been so rewarding for me, and the rest of my students, to learn about different cultures and learning words in other languages. I have the opportunity to incorporate my students’ first languages into our lessons. I love the smile on their faces when they get to participate in lessons and class discussions by teaching the whole class content vocabulary words we are learning about in their native language."

A piece of advice from Valery:

"My piece of advice to anyone in the minor right now is to keep working hard and stick with it! It will be so rewarding and helpful once you start teaching YOUR class and you get students that are learning English! You are filling up your teacher toolbox by being in this minor. Trust me, this is an important tool that will definitely come in handy!"

Valery also added that during her interviewing process, principals were very impressed when she told them about her TESOL minor. She explained how this made getting job offer and opportunities very easy.

If you want to learn more about the TESOL K-12 minor, check out their website here!

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