Megumi Wolf, Elementary Education — ESL

Where are you from, and what brought you to UW–Madison?

I am from Janesville, Wisconsin, but was born in Japan. I chose UW–Madison because I wanted to be involved in “Grace City Students,” a campus org and church here in Madison. I had the opportunity to be involved in this org all my years at UW. UW–Madison’s reputable Elementary Education program also played a part in my decision. When I heard there was a “Teaching English as a Second Language” program focus, I was so excited! Having a multilingual and multicultural background, I knew that this was the program for me.

What is your major, and how did you choose your major?

My major is Elementary Education with a teaching ESL focus. I always wanted to be a teacher and have many educators in my family that inspired me to continue the “family business.” My mother was a kindergarten teacher in Japan, and my father is a pastor. This made it natural for me to go right into teaching!

What was your most meaningful experience at UW–Madison?

My most meaningful experiences at UW–Madison have been all the friendships and connections that I created. I have met so many people who have helped me every step of the way, coming into my life at the perfect time and moment. They encouraged me and inspired me to continue forward.

What class or professor had the greatest impact on you, and why?

The class that has had the most significant impact on me was my History 119 class with Professor Suzanne Desan. Seeing Professor Desan’s excitement and love of history inspired me to dig deeper into history and value its importance. Knowing history is important because I believe that it is crucial to understanding others’ experiences. I want to carry this into my teaching practice as I seek to understand my students’ cultural backgrounds and histories. The past is full of opportunities to learn.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Do not be afraid of taking things a step further! Even though it may seem intimidating at first, do it! As my program supervisor Mary Klehr says, “What you put into it is what you will get out of it.” If you want that meaningful experience, put in the work to make it happen!

How will you celebrate your graduation?

I will be celebrating my graduation with my family, reflecting on my time at college, and eating good food!

What are your plans for the future?

Currently, I plan to get a teaching job after I graduate. Whether it’s here in Wisconsin or somewhere around the world, I am ready for new experiences! I am exploring my options to see what would best help me grow as an educator, especially as an ESL teacher.

You’re a UW–Madison expert now, so we must ask: What is one thing every UW student should experience?

Every student should take the time to sit by the lake at Memorial Terrace. Soak in the atmosphere, get away from the busyness, and find a few moments to yourself! The experience will help you in the long run.

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