After speaking with Sandi Walker, a recent graduate of our online Master of Arts in Bilingual/English as a Second Language (ESL) Education program, we couldn’t wait to share her story with you. 

Walker taught high school-level Spanish for eight years before deciding to make a pivot in her career trajectory. Her aim? Becoming a bilingual elementary teacher. “I decided I could serve my students better if I got my master’s degree in bilingual education. I knew that it would also offer me more opportunities in the future,” she explained. 

Real-World Skills in Real Time 

Walker is now a third- and fourth-grade teacher to bilingual students and is finding her UTPB courses highly valuable in the classroom. She highlighted the course Language Development and Acquisition, which deepened her understanding of language development. Of the course, Walker said, “I was able to see the varying levels of my students in real-time, and it helped me know how to differentiate my instruction each day.” 

She also gave high praise to two other courses: Teaching Reading and Language Arts in Spanish and Teaching Math. Sandi said that those classes directly correlated with the work she was already doing with her students. With the new information she learned in those courses, she was able to make immediate adjustments to her lesson plans and better serve her students. 

Throughout her time in our online ESL/Bilingual program, Walker acquired other advanced skills that she immediately applied in her classroom as well, including: 

  • Organizing students into cooperative learning groups for collaborative skill practice. 
  • Applying “dictado” techniques to improve language conventions and writing skills. 
  • Incorporating culturally relevant bilingual books to enhance learning and encourage cross-language transfer. 

Benefits En Masse 

Our entirely online program has provided Walker with more than a few benefits during her time as an online student. 

A Supportive Faculty 

Walker was quick to acknowledge the warm and supportive nature of each of her professors at The University of Texas Permian Basin. For instance, she recalled a time when she lost her connection to the entire online system. Upon reaching out to her advisor, she was pleasantly surprised to discover that the advisor was already taking proactive measures to correct the issue. 

During every video conference with her professors, Walker consistently felt their genuine interest in her as an individual and her specific needs. She expressed, “It was truly refreshing and heartwarming, reaffirming my belief that I made the right choice when I selected UTPB.” 

A Sense of Accomplishment 

Walker will be the first to tell you that online classes are just as demanding as in-person ones. Despite juggling the physical, emotional, and intellectual demands of coursework alongside a full-time job, she found that these challenges ultimately paid off. “All of these factors contributed to my personal growth and gave me a great sense of accomplishment upon completing each course,” she enthused. 

A Growing, Global Network 

Some prospective online students fear they won’t have opportunities for collaboration with like-minded peers. Walker is here to debunk this myth about online learning. She found that online courses enable students to collaborate with people from around the world, rather than being limited to those who can attend in person. She added, “I had the chance to work in groups, make friends in my field, gather ideas and feedback, and maintain these relationships even after graduation.” 

The Flexibility to Live Your Life 

One of the many advantages of being an online student at UTPB is the flexibility to complete your work when you want, where you want. As a busy woman with a family and a full-time job, squeezing in time for work at specific hours wasn’t always easy. That’s why our online format worked so well for Walker. “Working online allowed me to be at home while I worked, stopping for family dinners and scheduling my work around important family events when necessary.” 

The freedom to work from the comfort of her home and at times that aligned with her personal schedule, rather than reshuffling her life to fit a fixed class schedule, made her academic journey more feasible and convenient. 

Why Choose UTPB? 

For Walker, choosing UTPB was the obvious choice for her unique set of needs. “UTPB offered the classes online, which was important because I teach full-time, and it would be very difficult to attend classes in person. It was also the most cost-effective option that I found online.”  

When asked if she’d recommend this program to others, she said, “Yes. 100%. I would recommend this online program because the advisors and professors are knowledgeable, professional, supportive, and caring.” She also appreciated that the professors adjusted their instruction according to the constant changes in the education field and that each course strategically builds on knowledge learned in other courses. 

If you’re uncertain about whether you can have your cake and eat it too, we’re here to assure you that you can. Our 100% online, 30-credit Master of Arts in Bilingual/ESL Education paves the way for you to achieve your goals. With the option to complete the program in as little as one year when taking courses full-time, you can swiftly earn your degree and embark on the next exciting chapter in your life. Don’t hesitate: Apply now to seize this opportunity and transform your future.