Virginia Kate Gillenwater Kita

Master of Science in Education


Ms. Kita currently teaches English at a Japanese school (grades 7-12). We talked to her about why she chose to study for a Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.) at Temple University Japan Campus and her dream / goals.

What do you do in your current job?

I teach junior high school students beginning English pronunciation, communication phrases, writing, and phonics. At the high school level, I teach "Oral Communication" classes to first and second year students. My position involves creating and carrying out lessons, as well as helping to design exams appropriate to each level. The top priority is to make the classes engaging and comprehensible, yet challenging.

Why did you want to study for master's degree?

Before coming to Japan, I had already decided to be a teacher. I am licensed in the US to teach Spanish, Social Studies, and English. Once I came to Japan, I wanted teacher training in TESOL in order to better meet my students' needs. I also wanted a credential that would be useful at the primary level and the tertiary level, which is why I chose the master's degree program.

What was the biggest challenge during your time at TUJ?

The biggest challenge for me was making time to study and attend classes week after week, given my commitments at work and home. The challenge was particularly daunting during the peak times when papers, presentations, and studying for exams all came at once.

How did you overcome that challenge?

I learned to make better use of my time. I always tried to keep up on my readings and to begin preparation of papers and presentations well in advance of due dates. I also found ways to take advantage of my commute time on the train.

How do you envision your degree and your experience at TUJ will help your future career?

The master's degree in TESOL has already helped me in the classroom. I believe that having the degree will demonstrate my commitment to the field and my desire to teach English in different settings. I also believe it will advance my career, as this degree will qualify me for opportunities in the future for which I otherwise might not be considered.

Tell us about your dreams and aspirations.

My dream is to become an excellent teacher. I want to be able to communicate clearly and effectively with students of all ability levels, and to make English accessible to them. I hope I can motivate students to take on the hard work of trying to master a foreign language; moreover, I want them to believe that this goal is within their reach. Eventually, I would like to gain experience with students of various skill levels and abilities. I would also like to have more opportunities to research topics related to language acquisition and motivation.

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