TESOL certificate launches retired teacher into a new career

Posted: April 29, 2013

Adeline Frostad isn’t retired. She’s just beginning a new chapter of her life.

“I completed my career as an elementary school teacher last year in June,” the 33-year teaching veteran said. “I knew that I had to have some sort of goals and aspirations beyond retirement of that position. My husband suggested looking into teaching English as another language (EAL).

The suggestion seemed to fit with certain elements Frostad had enjoyed most in her teaching experience, which spanned all levels of high school and elementary school.

“My final position was teaching Grades 1 and 2 which was my all-time favourite,” she explained. “I definitely found again that my passion is for the very beginnings of language learning and literacy.”

Frostad contacted David Catterick, Briercrest’s assistant professor of applied linguistics TESOL to explore the steps she should take for EAL training.

“Briercrest had just begun offering their Saskatchewan TESOL certificate,” Frostad said. “It involves the completion of four courses and two practicums required by the government of Saskatchewan to teach EAL and EFL (English as a Foreign Language).

Frostad became the first student to enrol in the year-long certificate program at Briercrest. She completes her studies this April.

“I’m right in the midst of doing my teaching practicum at the Regina Open Door,” she exclaimed. “There are a large number of refugees as well as immigrants. At the Open Door the students begin their language learning with basic literacy and then take Canadian benchmark levels 1-3.”

Although Frostad had many years of teaching experience, she says the change from teaching children to adults has required a paradigm shift.

“One thing that I’ve been practicing is tone of voice,” she explained. “When I speak to the adults I’m very careful I don’t speak to them as you would to a child. That’s been something that I’m really practicing and working on.”

After more than three decades as a teacher, it’s also been quite a shift for Frostad to return to the role of a student at Briercrest this year.

“It hasn’t been easy,” she admitted. “I’ve found the process very challenging. I remember the first time David Catterick said in class that we needed to form ourselves into groups for a group project and I just cringed because I wasn’t sure any young student would want to pair with an old lady.”

She soon found these concerns were unwarranted.

“I’ve found the students to be just incredibly open and accepting,” she said. “I’ve really really enjoyed being surrounded by godly students who are so keen and eager to serve the Lord and willing to give of themselves. It’s been humbling and beautiful to see at the same time.”

Frostad is taking the opportunity for another first-time experience this summer when she and her husband David will be part of a Briercrest team that will be teaching English at the New Life English Camps in Wölmersen, Germany.

“I’ve never been on any type of an overseas ministry opportunity before,” she explained. “David and I will be part of a team of nine that will be working with 13-17-year-olds at the camp. This opportunity is another huge benefit of studying in Briercrest’s TESOL program.”

The fruit of Frostad’s EAL training has had a quick return. She was just offered a teaching position at the Regina Open Door Society, the organization where she is completing her internship. She and her husband plan to relocate to Regina this summer.

“I’ve said a number of times in the past months that my year of study in the TESOL program has been the perfect way to bid farewell to Briercrest – the place we’ve served and love so much,” Frostad exclaimed. “I’ve had this sense all year that I’ve seen first-hand that Briercrest is alive and well and an excellent place to train for Christian ministry.”