Tirzah Allen: Master of Arts in TESOL

MATESOL major Tirzah Allen admits that she has the traveling bug. Immediately after high school she packed her bags and headed to Scotland for a year-long adventure. She worked odd jobs, met people from all different backgrounds and explored a new country. “That time planted the seeds of travel in my life,” Allen says. And it wasn’t long before those seeds started to germinate.

Immediately after she graduated with a BA in English and communication, Allen began researching grad schools. “I had no idea that MU offered grad programs, but I happened to stumble upon it,” she says. “I chose TESOL because I wanted the ability to open more doors and be challenged continuously. I don’t want to be too comfortable but keep extending myself. This requires a built-in sense of adventure.”

Allen’s sense of adventure is being temporarily satisfied during her studies at Multnomah. Not only does she have enriching classroom time, but she also participates in weekly on-campus ESL classes. “This is the full program plus the tools to succeed,” she says. “I’ve had the opportunity to meet with people from Burma, Vietnam, Cuba and beyond.”

Interacting with her ESL students gives Allen a joy that is evident to everyone around her. “What are you smiling so much about?” a professor asked her after watching her banter with several students from Cuba. “Do you actually LIKE what you’re doing!?” he said jokingly.

Whether she is preparing a London Fog for customers in Multnomah’s on-campus café, or experiencing the “teacher’s high” at the front of the classroom, Allen strives to cause people to ask, “What’s different?” through her example. This is how she sees herself reflecting Jesus in her professional life. “Finding a Christian in a public setting is like finding an agate on the beach,” she says. “There is something that sparkles. I can’t always out rightly incorporate the gospel in every environment, but I can always show others what I believe.”

Allen is also enjoying each of her professors. “These are teachers who really care,” she says. “It emanates from them and they go above and beyond what is required. Their servants’ hearts are evident.”

“I am learning that a teacher’s journey is one of servitude,” Allen says. “I want to inspire my students to aspire to be more.”

Allen doesn’t know where the seeds of travel will take root. “I’d love to teach overseas,” she says. “Anywhere, anytime, any way. Wherever God sends I will go. For me it’s sporadic; I’m taking my life one step at a time.”