Mendota's McCauley speaks about teaching journey from U.S. to Turkey

Alyssa McCauley, third from front left, with her students in Turkey. (Photo contributed)

OGLESBY ­– Illinois Valley Community College alumnus and Fulbright Scholar Alyssa McCauley of Mendota recently spoke to the college’s Multicultural Education class on her teaching journey from the U.S. to Turkey.

McCauley graduated from IVCC in 2018 with her AA and AS degrees. From there, she transferred to Illinois State University where she majored in Secondary English Education and minored in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). 

During her undergraduate career, McCauley gained experience in teaching through field-based work, summer education and student teaching. She worked in schools across Illinois such as University High School in Normal, Heartland College in Normal and Chicago’s Farragut Career Academy and Benito Juarez.

McCauley said, “In my undergraduate experiences, I was supported by mentors who inspired me to face challenges that felt out of reach. It was through their patience and feedback that I continued to develop my skills, flexibility, resilience, and teaching philosophy.”

McCauley encourages future teachers to listen first, don’t compare one experience to another, and ask questions.

Her mentor, Dr. Lisya Seloni, helped her understand the beauty and complexity of multilingualism and multiculturalism that encouraged her to apply for the prestigious Fulbright Scholars Award and to go to Turkey.

McCauley accepted a position at Eskişehir Osmangazi Üniversitesi, in Eskişehir, Turkey. She left in September and is expected to come home in June.

“The past nine months have been life-changing in terms of my growth as an educator and as an intercultural communicator.”

McCauley will be teaching at LaSalle-Peru Township High School this fall. As someone who grew up in the Illinois Valley, she is looking forward to teaching in the community that helped raise her.

For information on IVCC’s Education Psychology program, contact Jill Urban-Bollis at (815) 224-0429.

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