My TESOL Journey

By Colette Ruscheinsky

ITBE asked our two 2023 scholarship recipients to write a short article explaining their background and their journey so far in the field of TESOL. This article was written by graduate award winner Colette Ruscheinsky.

After receiving my BA in broadcast journalism with a concentration in television production from Columbia College Chicago, I had my every intention of starting a career as a journalist. I wanted to give a voice to the voiceless. I wanted to share resources to provide people with the tools to make informed decisions. I wanted to take down bullies, abolish injustice, and be an advocate in every possible way. After a few years of working insane hours and traveling, I began to question if I was staying true to myself and my goal to serve.

Eventually, my passion for social justice guided me to working as a writing tutor at the College of Lake County because I am passionate about everyone having a right to education. I instantly realized how much I enjoyed my sessions with multilingual speakers. I became the English Language Instruction tutor for the department and held that title and responsibility close to my heart. Each week, I help students make strides with academic English while also offering them a safe and supportive space to learn and grow. In 2023, I was fortunate to receive an opportunity to teach an English Language Instruction class as an adjunct faculty member for the College of Lake County. I’m finally able to apply my passion and motivation for education equity in a classroom environment. Ideally, I hope I can make each and every student I work with feel seen, feel heard, and feel safe.

I plan on using the support, information, and resources from my MA in TESOL at Northeastern University to make a difference in the ESL/ELI community. I’m hoping to graduate in December of 2023. I also want to work on advocacy projects and policy changes while simultaneously breaking down barriers and stereotypes across the board. Specifically, I especially want to encourage women to pursue their education and shatter glass ceilings everywhere!
My passion for wanting to empower multilingual speakers, especially females, comes from my driving inspiration for everything in life: my three daughters. As a woman raising the next generation of women, I want my daughters to grow up watching their mom not only achieve goals but also see their mother empower other women to reach their full potential.

I tell my daughters and my students on a daily basis that education is the one thing that cannot be taken from a person. People can lose their jobs, their homes, their cars, their land, their stock portfolio, and even their relationships, but their education is something that is for them to clutch on to forever. I tell them that at the end of the day, no one will ever be able to rob you of the information and resources you’ve gained by continuing your education.

When my daughters think back on this time in their lives, I hope they see a mother who was the first in her entire family to not only attend college but also to earn a master’s degree. I hope they see a mother who is strong, hardworking, and passionate. I hope they realize that with empathy, encouragement, and discipline, all things are possible. But mostly, I hope they see a mother who loves what she does and changes lives for the better—one essay at a time.
Spring 2023 - Volume 51, Issue 1