By Matthew Jellick (MAT-TESOL ’12)
The forum of the online platform, through which I experience the MAT@USC, has actually offered more benefits than limitations. Any initial skepticism I had was immediately discarded, as the dynamic formed between myself and my classmates went to transcend the boundaries set forth by the internet, reaching beyond the restrictions implemented by such things as time and space. Each week I am able to connect with people all over the world, from Asia to Europe, and from North America, to South America! While this may indeed be possible as well within a classroom setting in such a diverse city as Los Angeles, we would unfortunately not get to experience the real-time circumstances of varying international classrooms, and the unique perspectives each of our students shares with us, manifested through our retelling of the week’s activities and lessons. It’s truly a remarkable occurrence every time we meet. I love hearing the stories from my classmates in China, Japan, Singapore, Mexico, Spain, and of course, California!
Because of the camaraderie established between us, sometimes it is frustrating to not be able to break out of our 2″ square on the Adobe platform, and actually meet each other in person, to have lunch (or a beer) and share stories about life as we know it, outside the realm of the classroom. Thankfully though, with a personally strong ambition for traveling, I have been lucky enough to be able to incorporate visits with classmates, to coincide with my trips to their respective countries! Whether visiting for cultural festivities such as Lunar New Year (Singapore), simply passing through on a trans-Pacific layover (Japan), meeting up for group projects (Korea), or coming home for short respites (California), I am grateful for the opportunities which I have been presented with, enabling me to meet a handful of my colleagues in person, whom I spend so much virtual time with, online. While our conversations inadvertently somehow shift towards the topic of school, it is nonetheless great to be able to share stories without the use of a headset or Skype! Perhaps because we only meet virtually, our actual physical encounters carry so much weight and significance that we stand in awe for a few short seconds, not really trusting our dimensional senses, as there, in front of us, are classmates whom we are so used to seeing only on a computer screen. It’s a much more satisfying experience than sitting next to each other, dreary-eyed at 1:00am during class, where our embraces stretch beyond time zones and continents!
Numerically speaking, over the course of these past three terms, I have only been able to connect with a few of my classmates when our timing and locations have matched up. While there are countless other friends I have made during this Program who I would like to meet in person, unfortunately, our paths have not yet crossed, whether here in Asia, there in California, or somewhere in between. However, with plans to remain teaching abroad, while continuing to travel, I hope that even after I graduate, I am still able to connect with the vast worldwide network which has been established here, from the confines of this small online platform.
Mater Dei High School Alumni! Matt Barkley, Matthew Jellick (MAT '11)
Graciela Almada, Matthew Jellick (In The L.B.C.)
Dr. Evelyn Monat, Aileen Nguyen, Matthew Jellick, Naomi Sato (In The L.B.C.)
Brent Meske, Matthew Jellick, Heather Reichmuth, Patricia Pacot (In Korea)
Sherrie Lee, Matthew Jellick (In Singapore)
Lyn Sato, Matthew Jellick (In Japan)
Matthew Jellick (MAT-TESOL ’12) logs into the online version of the MAT@USC platform from South Korea, where he teaches high school English. Originally from California, he hopes to continue teaching and learning from overseas, as he travels around the world working with ESL students and experiencing the beautiful and diverse cultures which they bring to the classroom.