ESL Teacher Puts TESOL Practices to Good Use in the Classroom


- Vicki Vozza

Term : January, 2013
Department : Education
Program : TESOL

Vicki Vozza has a picture of Senator Leland Yee standing with her and two of her students at San Mateo Union High School's Adult School. The politician, who represents San Francisco and San Mateo counties, came to her classroom because her students wrote to him, asking him to voice his support for English as a Second Language education in California. This is a subject Vozza feels strongly about, as a recent graduate of UCSC Extension’s Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Certificate program, a credentialed teacher, a master’s student at University of San Francisco, and a veteran of the San Mateo County Office of Education.

“The exercise made the students realize how important learning English is,” Vozza says, “and what the end result can be. If they can get their senator to come to school and talk to them, then they can see that writing can generate results.”

Vozza was first drawn to Extension because of its connection to USF’s MATESOL program. As a lifelong supporter of public education, she made it her goal to get the credentials necessary to teach at a community college. The Extension TESOL Certificate qualifies her for a multitude of teaching opportunities, both in the South Bay and around the world.

“At so many of the places that I’ve applied, you have to have a TESOL certificate now; especially in the Bay Area,” Vozza says.

Extension’s program offered the opportunity to network with instructors, find resources and gain practice as a student teacher.

“TESOL is a really rewarding field to be in,” Vozza says. “It’s something people can do for a lifetime. I’ve had students who speak 41 different languages. I had a student who was a judge, who came to the U.S. on political asylum. The experience of working with so many different people from all over the world is really rewarding.”

 She appreciates the ease and convenience of Extension’s Santa Clara facility.

“Free parking, modern building, technology in the classroom, the great computer rooms, the nice lunchroom, hybrid courses—it was all great,” she says.

Since completing her TESOL certificate in December 2012, Vozza has focused on completing her master’s at USF. Vozza hopes to teach ESL at the community-college level.

“I realize how important education is. I’d like to see my adult students get their A.A. at a community college or go on to a four-year college so they can make a living wage in California. I’d like to show them that this is what English can do – get your Senator in your classroom.”

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