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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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If you majored in English at Minnesota State University, Mankato, or if you completed one of our minor programs, please take a moment to post an update to tell us what you've been up to since graduation. We would love to hear from you!



Kadidja Kone Haidara (MA TESL, 2015)

I have been teaching English at a Technological University since I returned home (Mali). The experience that I acquired while studying at MNSU helped a lot, specifically in the fields of assessment, second language acquisition, and teaching innovations. I am really grateful to the TESL faculty of MNSU. My classes are large and the students are not oriented based on their levels. In the same class, one can find false beginners and intermediates. Therefore, designing a lesson that can meet their needs and uniqueness can be challenging in a teacher's busy schedule. However, a graduate from the TESL program can successfully make it.


Rubaiyat Jabeen (MA TESL, 2016)

I am using the skills and knowledge in my academic and professional development. I am working as an ESL Coordinator at CELP, MNSU and working on doctoral program applications.



Ngongose Bilikha (MA TESL, 2015)

I'm a year 3 teacher at a British school in Doha, Qatar. I thought I would complete my program and continue teaching in the States, but when I was offered a couple of positions in the Persian Gulf, I decided to relocate to Qatar. Here, I teach English, Social Studies, Math and Science. I honestly cannot remember the courses now, but I remember taking a course on student assessment. That course has given me the secret to raising test scores. I've learned how to make learning objectives and expectations very clear, so that the students can easily transition from one stage of the scaffolding process to another. My students are given 3 summative assessments per year, and in the Middle East this is a big deal, but I've learned to assess them formatively, in order to rectify some of these deficiencies before they take their exams. As a TA at MNSU, I learned how to conduct one-on-one conferences with my students. I honestly did those conferences grudgingly, but after having given a diagnostic writing and reading test at the beginning of this academic year, I decided to start implementing this particular strategy in my class. It worked!!! Concepts and skills that are not easily mastered during a whole class instruction can be easily mastered during a one-on-one conference. Oh, and how can I forget the whole notion of placing a greater emphasis on mastery instead of just coverage? Here there is a tendency to rush over concepts, but I treat my class as a family. We all learn differently and each child works at their own pace. I've had to do a lot of differentiation while challenging kids to attain mastery in every single subject. I learned that in order for me to be a great teacher, I had to be knowledgeable. Well, I've never had a knack for science, but when I found out that I had to teach science and Math to my students, I developed a special bond with all the Maths and Science teachers in my team. In order to teach effectively, I've had to "keep current" with all those new and fascinating theories in the realm of international education. I thank all the TESL teachers at MNSU, they taught me how to make learning meaningful. So instead of boring our students with rote learning and myriads of worksheets, we make learning fun. Recently, I taught them how to write instructions in sequential order by making wolf-crispy-cakes in class. We made it, and later had a writing assignment that required each student to write down the instructions and later insert the right connectives. Let me stop here. Thanks to the entire MNSU TESL staff!!! I owe you. (Please send more of your students to the Arabian Peninsula. We are desperately needed here.)


Jessica Jorgenson (MA Literature & English Studies, 2009)

I earned a doctorate from North Dakota State University after completing my MA from MSU, Mankato. I am now employed at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, KS as an Assistant Professor of English. I also work in the writing across the curriculum program and will serve as Director of Writing Across the Curriculum beginning in Fall of 2017.


Kristyn Blessing (MFA Creative Writing, TESL minor, 2008)

After graduating in 2008, I taught English as a Second Language at Michigan Technological University, Finlandia University, and Shandong University of Science and Technology in Jinan, China. For the last four years, I have been teaching in the English as a Second Language Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.


Jun Akiyoshi (MA TESL, 2013)

The knowledge and skills that I acquired from the MA TESL program are highly valuable for me as a future language educator as well as a language teacher educator. I especially admire how professors in the MA TESL program teach international students in their classes. Upon completion of my MA program, I returned to Japan and taught English for a while. Then, I came back to the US to deepen my knowledge in the field of TESOL. I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in Composition & TESOL at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.