When I was asked to write a blog post about my experience writing the master’s thesis with the aim of encouraging current students, I thought, wouldn’t shots of espresso be a more appropriate encouragement than a blog post? I’m sure they are all exhausted! I was instantly transported back to those coffee shop dwelling months, hunched over my laptop, crunching data, devouring literature on my chosen field, and living off cappuccinos and croissants. Writing the thesis was not, and is not, an easy process. As current students can attest, it requires an enormous amount of diligence, effort, and self discipline.
I chose to write my thesis on teacher training and professional development within the Community of Madrid’s bilingual program. During my studies and experience teaching in public schools, I perceived a need in the training teachers receive, so I set out to explore the system in place. The end result of months of research and data collection was a project which uncovered inadequacies in the teacher training offerings, as well as concrete suggestions for improvement.
Towards the end of the writing process, I learned about the Alice Gould Award offered by the Daughters of the American Revolution chapter of Spain, and decided to submit my thesis for consideration. The award was open to any Teach and Learn in Spain Master student, and was rewarded on the merits of the research project. At our graduation ceremony in June, I was surprised and honored to receive the Alice Gould Award for my thesis research project. Winning the award came with a 400€ grant and the privilege of having my work published into a book in the Biblioteca Benjamin Franklin within the Instituto Franklin – UAH. Receiving this award was such an incredible honor, and the hours poured over data, hunched over my laptop, ignoring friends and family was all worth it!
After graduation, I continued living and working in Madrid. In the fall of 2016, my book was published and revealed at the 3rd International Conference on Bilingual Education in a Globalized World hosted at Instituto Franklin – UAH. I had the privilege of presenting my research at the conference, while building connections with various people in the bilingual education field. Seeing my book in person was surreal, but seeing people buy it was beyond surreal! At that moment, looking back on the process of writing the thesis, I was encouraged that hard work really does pay off.
It’s been almost two years since I graduated from the Teach and Learn in Spain Master program, and I’m still living and working in Madrid. I have been teaching English part time at the International Institute of Spain, and work as a freelance teacher trainer and educational consultant. My experience at the Instituto Franklin-UAH opened up many doors for me here in Madrid, and I’ve been incredibly thankful for the network and support I have as Franklin Alumni. As I prepare to further my research through a PhD program in the near future, I am grateful for the building blocks Teach and Learn provided me not only in educational research, but also in the world of bilingual education as a whole.
So, to those of you current students reading this blog post…hang in there! Put everything you’ve got into the last stretch of the academic year, you never know what’s waiting for you on the other side of graduation!
Sara Kells. Franklin Alumni Master Teach & Learn in Spain 2015-2016
She is teaching english language and american culture in the International Institute.
She completed Teach & Learn in Spain Master in Teaching on June, 2016.