If you are a current or former student of UAB's ESL Teacher Education program and would like to add your own testimonial, please contact our webmaster, Lisa Preston at lkirkpat@uab.edu.

Perspectives from district and state administrators who had completed UAB's ESL program
You have a SUPERB ESL program at UAB!!Spezzini_class
~Janet Smith ('01), former ESL Program Area Specialist for the Shelby County Schools (retired); former Spanish Teacher at Pleasant Grove High, Pleasant Grove, AL

I LOVE that UAB was not a degree that was easy and easily obtained!
~Dolly Smith ('04), ESL Coordinator for the Alexander City Schools (retired); former English Teacher at Benjamin Russell High, Alexander City, AL

The ESL program at UAB is exceptional, effective, and enjoyable! Thank you for the valuable support you have provided to our district.
~Kathy Nichol ('04), ESL Supervisor for the Baldwin County School System, AL; former Special Education Teacher in Loxley, AL

The support system that the ESL program offered was valuable to me because I made connections that can assist me anytime that I may need it. If I had to describe the program in one word, it would be "family." Each cohort is like an extended family. I would suggest this program to any student who may decide to embark on this incredible journey.
~Demica Sanders ('08), Director of Special Education for Midfield City Schools, Midfield, AL; former Special Education Teacher in Birmingham City Schools

When I was in the ESL program at UAB, I was teaching in a middle school with many ELL students and found the knowledge I gained from the program to be extremely beneficial. I now work with technology at the State Department of Education, where an understanding of ELL students has proved invaluable in designing and implementing technologies solutions to meet these students' needs.
~Joan Green ('04), Educ. Specialist, Technology Initiatives, ALSDE, Montgomery, AL: former Business Education Teacher at Riverchase Middle, Pelham, AL

Perspectives from mainstream teachers who earned ESL certification through UAB's program
The time and energy UAB has invested in educators has built a powerful program for ELLs. It was such an empowering experience for me to be a part of something so amazing for these children.
~Lisa Essman ('04), Literature Teacher at Pelham High, Pelham, AL

As a 6th grade social studies teacher, I find that my ESL training helps me on a daily basis. All of my students have benefited from techniques I learned during my UAB coursework. I wish all content teachers would have the opportunity to learn more about their ELLs.
~Julie Caine ('06), ESL teacher; former Social Studies Teacher at Montevallo Middle School, Montevallo, AL

Taking the courses in the ESL program changed my way of thinking and teaching. Before the courses, I considered myself to be overall a pretty good teacher. But I also had the feeling that I was not completely reaching my ELLs. That wasn't fair. Now I feel confident that I know strategies, methods, and resources that will help ALL of my students. They deserve it!
~Veronique Zimmerman-Brown ('07), former UAB Instructor for EDU200 & EDU500; former Math Teacher at Montevallo High, Montevallo, AL 

The ESL program at UAB provided me with the tools I needed to give ESL students academic opportunities that they otherwise would have missed out on! The program prepares you for a real world application of strategies to assist English language learners to progress along with their English speaking peers. The program is outstanding! Its high standards and exceptional teaching staff made the program truly worthwhile.
~Monique Vandenbeele ('05), 6th Grade Teacher at Ridgeview Elementary, Orange Park, FL; former Gifted & Talented Teacher at Chelsea Middle, Chelsea, AL

Comfortable teaching strategies were proving to be ineffective for the ELLs in my Physics, AP Physics and Physical Science classes. In the UAB program, misconceptions were replaced with valid information and teaching strategies. I have been forever changed by a new understanding of what it means to be an effective teacher for ALL students. With the right information, any teacher can offer ELLs more than just a "chance" for academic success.
~Cindy Hunt ('06), ESL instructor at Columbus State, GA; former ESL Teacher & Track Coach at Auburn High, AL; former Physics Teacher at Austin High, Decatur, AL

UAB's ESL program has made me a better teacher. First I learned to reflect upon who I was in order to determine how my prejudices were shaping my beliefs about teaching. Then I grew by gaining information about other cultures and second language acquisition. I can now be an advocate for my students as well as a trained teacher with a suitcase of ideas to use. I am empowered through this program, and my colleagues come to me for best practices when dealing with ELLs. It is awesome indeed!
~Connie Ray ('07), Special Education Department Head at Moody High, Moody, AL; former Special Education Teacher at Shelby County High, Columbiana, AL

Without knowledge of the difficult task of language acquisition, a teacher does not truly understand the multifaceted learning experience that awaits English language learners on a daily basis. These classes have armed me with the necessary tools and education I need to ensure that all my students are given a rigorous and meaningful educational experience. I have learned how to incorporate subject matter and language development with hands-on activities that create a sense of belonging and self-worth in all students.
~LaTasha McMillan ('08), Assistant Principal in Helena; former ESL teacher in Shelby County; former English Teacher at Thompson Middle, Alabaster, AL

Perspectives from mainstream teachers who became ESL teachers upon completing the MAEd/ESL

This program changed my life and I am a better teacher because of it! I highly recommend it to anyone thinking about entering this field. The courses are set up in a way that is conducive to a busy schedule. I was able to work on my ESL certification while teaching and coaching full time. The professors are extremely knowledgeable, approachable and passionate about what they teach and they truly prepare their students for the ESL classroom.
~Katie Heck Collins ('07), ESL Teacher at Gwin Elementary, Hoover, AL; former French Teacher at Thompson High, Alabaster, AL

Julia Austin and Susan Spezzini really took an interest in me as a person - a bit rare these days within high-profile research institutions - and that made all the difference. I found a lot of common ground with both of them, and that connection helped me to know I made the right decision to pursue certification in ESL. The last two years as an ESL instructor have been the most rewarding of my 15 year public educator career.
~Oscar Glasscock ('07), ESL Teacher in Walker Co. Schools & Football Coach at Cordova High; former English & ESL Teacher at Calera High, Calera, AL; and former English Teacher at Citronelle High, Mobile, AL & Cullman High

Perspectives from ESL teachers who earned an ESL master's degree at UAB
What I enjoyed most about UAB's ESL program is that we leave with real resources and strategies that are useful to us and our students.
~Lenesha N. Moyegun ('09), ESL Intern at Moody Elementary and Moody High, Moody, AL;  former Spanish Teacher with the Midfield City School System, AL

Because all of our classes followed National Board Standards in English as a New Language, achieving National Board Certification was just a matter of writing lesson plans the way I had learned in the UAB program. This has opened many doors for me, as well as given me opportunities to earn a little extra money. Thank you!!
~Anne Betbeze ('04), ESL Teacher at Calera Elementary, Shelby County; former ESL Teacher at EPIC Elementary, Birmingham, AL; former Elementary Teacher in the Birmingham City Schools

Perspectives from new ESL teachers who completed UAB's alternative master's program

The UAB ESL program has changed my life and helped me realize how much I can help others. I feel that the program empowered me and that now I can impact my students' lives and help them achieve their goals.
~Suna Huneidi ('07), ESL Teacher at Riverchase Middle, Pelham, AL; former English Teacher in Amman, Jordan