Formalizing Teaching Experience Through TEFL Certification

Phyliss Martinez, Certificate Program in Teaching English as a Second Language

While some students take classes and then volunteer to get real-world experience, Phyliss Martinez, a UC Berkeley School of Law program administrator, is taking the opposite route. Already a volunteer at St. Elizabeth Catholic Parish as an adult ESL instructor, Martinez is pursuing the Certificate Program in Teaching English as a Second Language to formalize her teaching skills.


With lessons learned in her first course, Methods and Materials for Teaching English as a Second Language, Martinez now finds that she brings a different viewpoint to the classroom. "Many of the students had taken most of the curriculum, but many of them had not taught," Martinez says. "I'm in a classroom situation, and can say, 'Oh, this just happened the other night.' I could literally take something that instructor Sedique Popal had talked about and take it right into the classroom the next night. But I could also shed light on something that he was talking about to students who hadn't really taught."

Though she hasn't been in a classroom in 35 years, Martinez is finding success early on. "I did this with absolutely no real knowledge of what the coursework would entail," she says of registering for the certificate. "The Extension program is very accessible. Because everybody is coming from different places, there's more of an eclectic, collaborative feel than what you'd find in traditional undergrad or grad programs. It's more about people having a world sense."