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Steven Gomez (B.A. 2007, M.A. 2012) ESL Instructor and Teacher Educator U.S. State Department and PH International

Steven Gomez (B.A. 2007, M.A. 2012)
ESL Instructor and Teacher Educator
U.S. State Department and PH International

Steven GomezWe caught up with CSUSB alum Steven Gomez while he was in Estonia—only one of the many  destinations that have characterized Steven’s far-flung career teaching English abroad. 

Since completing his B.A. in English (Literature track) in 2007 and his M.A. in English Composition (TESL concentration) in 2012, Steven’s teaching career has taken him to

Italy, China, Japan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and most recently the country of Georgia.

How did Steven rack up such an impressive resume of international teaching experience? It began when he was completing his M.A.  During his academic summer breaks, he travelled to Italy to teach Italian children English at a summer camp. Steven enjoyed working there so much that he has continued teaching at the summer camp for the past 10 years.  After finishing his M.A., he traveled to China to teach writing at the Dongbei University of Finance and Economics in Dalian, China.

Steven has also trained other English teachers through the well-respected U.S. State Department English Language Fellow (EL Fellow) program, whose diplomatic mission is to foster mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries by teaching English and conducting teacher training programs in more than 60 countries. As an EL Fellow, Steven was assigned to train K-12 English teachers in Kyrgyzstan. There, he developed a selection of lesson plans and compiled them into Steven Gomez's ESL Cookbook for Kyrgyzstani teachers. He also directly collaborated with Kyrgyzstani students to record KYRGA-WHAT?, a Kyrgyz-English rap video. Looking to maximize his experience as an EL Fellow, Steven also organized local community activities at American Spaces, community sites modeled after American libraries and housed within Kyrgyzstani organizations that partner with the U.S. State Department.

For the past two years, Steven has been working with the international non-governmental organization (NGO) PH International where he specifically contributes to their Georgian Civic & Tech through English Language initiative. As a teacher trainer, Steven has a team of three instructional leads who help him disseminate his proposed curriculum across Georgia to more than 60 instructors at 20 different schools. He regularly visits school sites to continuously assess the effectiveness of his curriculum design and to determine specific professional development strategies for local Georgian teachers.

It wasn’t until Steven had been teaching for a couple of years that he more deeply understood the practical value of the TESL theories he had studied at CSUSB. In addition, Steven believes his own time as a learner of Italian led him through a process of self-discovery about language acquisition that informs his work with English language teachers and students.

Steven has most enjoyed witnessing the positive impact his teaching has had on the learning outcomes of his individual students, but in his current role as a teacher trainer he values contributing to students’ success beyond his own immediate classroom.  He adds that every English teacher abroad is not only an English language instructor but also a diplomat for their home country.  Steven thus recommends that teachers abroad remain sensitive to the nuanced dynamics of intercultural communication.

For international teaching jobs, Steven advises that candidates should begin assembling a teaching portfolio to share with recruiters and potential employers. These portfolios should include lesson plans, prompts, and learning activities, among other materials. He also urges new teachers to thoroughly vet lesser known recruiters or websites. For his first job, he asked the recruiter for the name of a recently hired teacher in order to gain that teacher’s first-hand impressions of the institution. He also encourages students to join the TESOL International Association to learn more about the field and to begin developing a professional network; Steven himself found his last two jobs by searching the TESOL Career Center.

Steven has had such a rewarding experience teaching English abroad that he hopes one day to establish his own English language camp in Sardinia, Italy. In bocca al lupo, Steve!

Additional resources:

Dept. of English Career Pathways ESL Teacher

CSUSB Career Center Teaching Abroad Presentation

The U.S. State Department Travel Advisories

Additional international teaching job search websites: