Connie Hanna: TESOL Instructor
By Anna Fay
Piecing things together
Connie Hanna, a valuable member of the Western Carolina
University staff, has found a comfortable living here in the
mountains. She teaches English to non-native speakers in the
brand new Intensive English Program (IEP) at Western. When
asked why she chose this new program and selected degree,
she replied, “I like to play with language. I like to
piece things together using language.”
Hanna received her Master’s Degree in TESOL, or Teaching
English to Speakers of Other Languages, from Western in 2007.
Since September 2008 Hanna has been setting up the administrative
functions of the IEP and developing the curriculum. According
to Hanna, “The Intensive English Program is a four-semester
course of study with special focus on teaching the reading,
writing, speaking, and listening skills students will need
to succeed in an academic environment.”
Hanna looks forward to getting the program on its feet. 2009
is the first year that TESOL has been active and running.
“I received my first applicant! I am very excited!”
Teaching TESOL is not Hanna’s first job in the mountains
of North Carolina. She moved to Cullowhee from Texas in 1987
to work with the North Carolina Center for the Advancement
of Teaching (NCCAT) where she planned professional development
seminars for public school teachers.
Too fun to retire
When asked why she has stayed in North Carolina for over
twenty years; Hannah says it was a “good environment
for her children.” She was also very content with her
job at NCCAT. But that is not all that's busied Hannah during
her 21 years in the mountains. Just recently she joined a
Sylva program that encourages local food production and sustainable
agriculture. “We could solve a lot of problems in Western
North Carolina through these programs.”
“Retirement? I thought about it a few years ago, but
TESOL seemed more important and has taken up most of my time.
It is too fun to retire now!” Hanna is not even thinking
of retirement now that the new department is up and running.
She plans to be around for a few more years working with TESOL