Tom Kerner ’82: A New World of Teaching After Retirement
June 1, 2018
After a fulfilling career in teaching, Tom Kerner has found new rewards in mastering and using an international method for teaching English as a second language.
During his time at Saint Rose earning his B.S. in Special Education, Kerner learned a valuable lesson. “You can’t just plunge into instruction,” says the Albany native, who retired in 2012 after 27 years of teaching in Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont public schools. “You have to know what your students’ performance levels are and what skills they bring to the task.”
About a dozen years ago, Kerner discovered a huge group of students who weren’t receiving that benefit. He learned about the issue during a trip to Cambodia, from a friend from Schenectady who was living there. While university students in Southeast Asia are required to be proficient in English, the vast majority are taught by native English speakers – expatriates from the United States and elsewhere – with no training as teachers.
“There’s no requirement of teaching expertise,” says Kerner. “I found they had no idea what to do other than follow the curriculum.”
Read more about Kerner’s story and how teaching English across the world reconnected him with part of his past here.