Chris Hastings sums up his experience in one sentence: “So, you ask what did I like the most about being a Fellow, and I say, ‘everything.’”

Alumni Ambassador Chris Hastings was an English Language Fellow in China from 2013-2015 and in Russia from 2015-2017. The fellowship furthered Hastings’ professional development in the TESOL field and offered him new opportunities to train diverse groups of teachers. He continues to draw on his experience as a Fellow in his current role as an ESL Coordinator & English Instructor at Southwest Tennessee Community College.

In both China and Russia, Hastings worked with local universities to promote English language development for teachers and students. In China, he supported South China Normal University’s outreach to several dozen public schools in Guangzhou. He also coordinated with the U.S.-China Center for Education and Culture to organize a faculty exchange with principals from the Nashville Metro School System. Altogether, Hastings and his colleagues were able to provide workshops and leadership training to approximately 500 teachers in the region, impacting over 70,000 students.

In Russia, Hastings was also an integral part of the faculty at ITMO University in St. Petersburg. He trained English language teachers working with undergraduate and graduate students in academic writing, as well as providing workshops on American culture. Hastings also supported the larger community of English teachers through his collaboration with the St. Petersburg English Language Teachers Association (SPELTA). He states, “In any given workshop, I would have between 20 and 100 teachers and students. The teachers came from around the city and would often call me to visit their programs and talk with their staff. Because of this, I got to know a significant number of English teachers in my university and in the city. I felt like I was a member of the community.”

Hastings grew as a teacher and an individual throughout his time as a Fellow. He had the chance to work with a diverse range of teachers, Fellows, and a global network of TESOL professionals. After completing extensive teacher-trainer workshops and organizing conferences, he was inspired to become more active with TESOL International. Hastings presented at four International TESOL conferences, published two books for TESOL Press and served on TESOL’s Nominating Committee. He credits this professional growth to opportunities presented during his fellowship.

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