Bernie Bernardo: Master of Arts in TESOL

Bernie Bernardo loves what he does. The MATESOL graduate teaches grammar, listening, reading, writing and vocabulary at Portland Community College and Columbia School of English. “I like the relationships I can build with my students,” he says. “I can’t directly witness to them. But I’m able to show them that I respect them and can learn from their standpoint.”

'I'm their favorite teacher'

The respect that Bernardo has cultivated with his students is paying off. “They tell me that I’m their favorite teacher,” he says. He grins widely as he remembers their kind words. One student told Bernardo that his teaching had made him love English class. Another thanked him for making them feel at home away from their family. And one student told him, “You have been my role model. There is something different about you.”

Bernardo’s not bragging. He’s only reflecting someone greater. “At Multnomah, you learn how to become a teacher who represents our Master Teacher,” he says. “That’s the difference.”

'A different perspective'

MU’s MATESOL program is well-rounded and complete, he says, because it taught him to own an uncompromising faith while training him to adjust to his students’ needs. “As Christians, we have a different perspective,” he explains. “We’re intentional in our mission, but we’re also flexible to be accepted by the world. That makes me proud to be part of MU.”  

The most distinctive thing about the program, though, is its solid biblical foundation. “Everything revolves around it,” says Bernardo. “It has well-rounded curriculum, and it prepared me to incarnate the teaching methods.”

'The training you need'

Now Bernardo says he’s fully equipped to understand learning goals for students of all ages and levels. “I can design curriculum and prepare lessons plans,” he says. “And the program provided me good exposure in my practicum and internship.”

Some of Bernardo’s favorite memories from MU revolve around his teachers. “The professors, in one word, are awesome,” he says. Program Director John Runcie has a special place in Bernardo’s heart. “He is one of the best,” says Bernardo. “He’s down to earth and a good example of a Christian teacher.

“Multnomah’s professors are very accepting, accommodating and sensitive,” he continues. “They teach solid, practical methodologies and provide the training you need to be effective witnesses of the Lord in the academic world.”

That’s the difference, and that’s exactly what Bernardo’s students see in him.