[Picture above – My first picture upon my arrival in the USA. Dream-come-true moment. Times Square, Manhattan, New York City. Local time 5.50 PM]
“Be realistic – plan for a miracle!” I truly believe that everything is possible if a person has clearly set goals, a strong will, determination, ambition, and a positive attitude. I have always wanted to be an English teacher in order to educate, support, inspire, and motivate children to study and to believe in themselves. My parents always encouraged me, and sent me to private English classes and American Camps in Macedonia. My passion for the English language is as great as my passion for teaching and working with children, and I put a lot of effort into constantly increasing my knowledge.
In terms of academic achievements, I have consistently maintained a strong academic record, graduating with the highest grade point average (9.84 – on a scale from 6 to 10) in my class at FON University’s Faculty of Applied Foreign Languages. I was also awarded a full scholarship during my Bachelor studies due to having the highest academic achievements on the Faculty in 2009 – with an average grade in my third year of studies of 10.00; and I was honored to be proclaimed the Best Student in a competition of around 300 students. Furthermore, in 2013, FON University opened a student competition for scholarships in Master’s studies. After passing all my exams and completing an interview process, I was awarded a full scholarship for MA studies in Applied Linguistics in 2013 and graduated July 2017. In the meantime, I was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and became a Fulbright scholar. The Fulbright Foreign Student Program enables graduate students, young professionals and artists from abroad to study and conduct research in the United States. The Fulbright Foreign Student Program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide. I have just started my MA studies in TESL/Applied Linguistics with concentration on CALL; in August 2017 at Iowa State University, located in Ames, Iowa.
As soon as I completed my undergraduate degree, I began work as an English Teacher in three schools (one primary, two secondary) in my hometown of Struga. I must admit that it was really challenging working with students as young as five and as old as eighteen at the same time. In addition, in 2013, I was asked to be a teaching assistant in American Literature at the Faculty of Foreign Languages. I managed to meet the challenge of preparing lessons for students aged 5 to 23 (university students) because the feeling of making a significant contribution to the students’ progress gives me a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment at the end of each day. This was an amazing experience that has increased my confidence as a teacher, given me valuable professional experience, and has also made me a flexible educator who is ready to meet any challenge.
While engaged with these projects, I also began collaborating with Peace Corps, and I have worked with two Peace Corps volunteers so far. We had excellent cooperation, practiced team-teaching, and facilitated fund-raising projects to help the Music High School with classroom and office supplies. Since September 2015, I have become a member of two NGOs, where I contribute with translation and preparation of projects on multiethnic issues and cultural and artistic values. In addition, I am currently working as a project manager on a project titled “Together towards Success,” approved by the Municipality of Struga. I frequently organize visits to the American Corner for my students, and I am a tutor for several English language competitions. Recently, my students won 1st and 3rd place in a local competition, and 2nd place in a regional competition organized by the English Language Teachers Association of Macedonia (ELTAM).
I believe that being a teacher requires a lifelong commitment to learning. As listed in my CV, I have attended more than 15 professional development training courses. One of the most important courses for my personal and professional development was a course I attended in Maidstone, Kent, United Kingdom which was also a tremendous inspiration for my initiative to pursue a studying opportunity in the USA. I was awarded a grant by the National Agency for European Programmes and Mobility, which covered all my expenses. It was an incredible course, which enabled me to meet colleagues from all around Europe, share professional experiences, advance my understanding of motivational techniques in teaching English, attend educational visits to London, Tunbridge Wells, Rye, and Kent villages, and experience a new culture.
As a teacher, I have the ability to change a direction, a mind, a future, a life. I want to make a difference in the world, to undertake useful research, and, ultimately, to pursue a PhD and become one of the best teachers of English in my home country. I possess a genuine passion for teaching, and great enthusiasm and determination to constantly improve.