[Contribution by Dara K. Fulton who is an ESL teacher who is passionate about helping people. She is currently applying to graduate school to obtain a MSW and volunteers at various non-profit organizations. Her interests include immigration, workplace rights, and gerontology. Dara is also a freelance writer and blogger. Connect with Dara on Linkedin!]
I am an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher. I’ve been teaching for seven years. I’m passionate about helping adult immigrants learn the English language. I enjoy learning new cultures and languages. During my experience as a teacher, I’ve had students face difficult circumstances, some that required referrals for housing, healthcare, legal counsel, or a chance to have their voices heard. I’ve had the opportunity to listen to their stories, provide comfort in their time of need, and be their ear. The many “thank you” messages I received was moving and humbling. I realized that there is a strong connection between the teaching profession and social work. The problems some of my students had to deal with eventually interfered with their ability to learn English. As a teacher, I was only allowed to teach. To me, that wasn’t enough to help my students; I wanted to do more. I began taking training classes relating to social work. I received a Family Development credential learning how to empower families in need to become self-reliant. Although I already had an Associate’s degree and a Bachelor’s in English, I went back to school and graduated with an Associate in Human Services degree. I’ve taken trainings on case management and read several books about the social work field. I became a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), and I am now applying to graduate school for a MSW. Also, I participate in hosted debates on Twitter regarding issues in the social work field. I’m a determined person, and I believe I can still have a career as a teacher and be a social worker as well. My hope is to continue educating and helping people who live in underserved communities. I have a big heart and want to do my part in making a difference in this world. Someday I hope to have that chance.