The Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) Program brings secondary-level teachers of English, English as a Foreign Language, math, science, and social studies, including special education teachers in those subjects, to the United States for a six-week program to take academic seminars for professional development at a host university and to observe and share their expertise with teachers and students at the host university and at local secondary schools.
The program consists of general academic seminars focusing on new teaching methodologies, student-centered learning, content-based instruction, lesson planning, and instructional technology training for teachers.
Zulfizar Mansurova, a Core Trainer from Fergana, has always admired the Fulbright program and its participants. She regularly followed information about the program on social networks and on the websites of the American Councils. "I have always been on the move with the goal of being awarded for this program. "Congratulations you are a Fulbright finalist!" What an amazing feeling to read this email message. I remember reading it over and over to make sure it was true or not," she says.
Her destination for Fulbright TEA is Montana State University. The program date in the USA; is September 13-October 27, 2022. She has a lot of expectations from it, hoping that it will give her the opportunity to acquire and exchange unforgettable experiences and skills with other teachers.
"The ESN (English Speaking Nation) program, I am currently working on has had a huge impact on my achievement. The reason is that I, as a Core Trainer in this project, had the chance to study courses organized by the most experienced TESOL instructors, which caused me to change my perspective on teaching. My confidence and experience in professional and academic skills have increased. Before I applied to the ESN project, I had no idea that it would have a lot of possibilities for the development of my professional career. With the motivation of experienced Couches, the ESN team, friends, and American Council support, I took a step forward toward the goal. After one achievement, other achievements follow. The ESN program is my first step and next is Fulbright award for my success. So, always take advantage of every opportunity to develop your profession.
Of course, it takes hard work, persistence, self-belief, determination, and sometimes sleepless nights to achieve this success, but once you are selected as a program participant, you will forget all of that, and you will be full of joy. What you have achieved will inspire you, and motivate you to strive for more innovations, if only you keep moving forward.
I express my gratitude to the American Councils, ESN staff, my dear Couches, and our country, who supported and encouraged me to achieve such achievements," she notes.
Umidakhon Usmonova is also a Core Trainer in Fergana region winning the Fulbright TEA program. "Any teacher who is eager to update himself/herself in an English teaching field knows the Fulbright TEA program for sure. You admire the teachers who were in the US through the Fulbright TEA program and scroll through the photos of them with enthusiasm dreaming of yourself one sunny day there. I had the same experience and applied for the TEA program many times. Each failure taught me how to clearly express my goal and experience. The 7th try was successful, and I have been nominated as a Fulbright TEA finalist for the 2022 Fall," she recalls.
Her firm conviction is that the experience and knowledge which she will learn in the program will foster teachers in their professional field as well as will be unforgettable in their life which is more than studying at a single university. Since there will be representatives from more than 65 countries around the globe.
"I can say with confidence, that the knowledge and experience I have acquired in the ESN project served as a springboard to my success. I believe to come back with personal and professional experience and apply it in the field of enhancing the English language in Uzbekistan. To my peers, I want to say that never stop dreaming and learn from your failures," she notes.
Another finalist of the Fulbright TEA program is Dilnoza Tojiboeva. She has been working as an English teacher at school number 13 in Margilan for 4 years. She is a Regional Peer Mentor (RPM) of the ESN program. She was nominated as a fellow of the Fulbright TEA 2021-2022 program organized by the US Embassy. "The selection process was intense. It consisted of 3 stages: the application process, the interview, and the TOEFL ibt test. There were many excellent candidates. I strained to be a successful candidate and I managed it," she says.
"During the interview, I shared my experience within the ESN project since I participated in ESN workshops and training. I felt these workshops conducted by ESN played an important role in my personal and professional growth which helped me to be selected for the Fulbright program.
I hope Fulbright TEA program will be a key to my professional development. This program will bring teachers from different countries to the US to take academic seminars for professional development. I will study general academic seminars focusing on innovative methodology there. Moreover, this program will include a practicum with a US partner teacher in a secondary school. I am very grateful that I have an opportunity to observe and share their expertise at a local secondary school. I believe this experience will be beneficial for every student and every teacher in my community after coming back to my home institution. I am going to conduct seminars for teachers in Margilan to share all the knowledge which I gain in the US. I would like to improve gender equality in Margilan. I really want every girl to have her own position in society.
My advice for my colleagues and peers is never to give up. Your tenacity leads to your bright future. It is high time to go ahead.
I would like to tell my huge thanks to the US Embassy, ESN staff, and principal of school 13 in Margilan. If you hadn't been in my life, I would have never achieved my goal," Dilnoza notes.
Nazira Nasimova, an RPM of ESN program, wins Fulbright TEA 2022-2023. She got to about the Fulbright program from her colleagues who are also part of the ESN program: Ms. Umida Usmanova and Nilufar Nosirova. They were the finalists of this program and their success motivated her to apply for Fulbright TEA for the spring term of the program. She will spend two months of winter in one of the states which will be appointed by the program in 2023.
"Before 2020 I was an ordinary teacher at school who dedicated her whole free time after work to train applicants for entrance exams of universities. Even though I had heard about a lot of successful teachers who won different programs, I was the one who thought that winning that kind of program or grant was beyond my ability. It was when I heard about the ESN program at the teacher training institute, everything changed in one day. After the presentation about the ESN program, I decided to apply. When the process of teaching the ESN teachers began, I realized that I had found the best opportunity to develop professionally. I met so many experienced coaches and the best educators in my country. I have filled the gaps in my teaching and found the answers to my questions. It was in this program that I met the alumni of the Fulbright program who encouraged me to apply for it. The opportunity given to me to be a member of the ESN program was a life-changing one which was one of the key factors which helped me to be a finalist in the Fulbright program. The ESN program helped me to believe in my abilities and thanks to it I became a confident person who can make difference in people’s life by providing qualitative teaching.
I really want to tell all my colleagues to never stop learning and use every chance that is granted to them. Because life is short, therefore, we should try to make a positive difference in people’s lives. There is always progress in life where educators of the country are active life-long learners," she says.
Makhprat Abdullaeva is glad to share her inspirational story of how persistence and continuous self-development transformed her from an ordinary school English language teacher to Master Teacher.
From the early stage of her professional career, Makhprat shared a great interest in collaborating with foreign colleagues to improve her English language teaching skills. As a person who continuously seeks professional development opportunities, Makhprat participated in several programs to enhance her language and pedagogical skills. Some of these programs made a life-changing impact.
"In 1998, my participation in the TEA (Teaching Excellence Award) program administered by American Councils for International Education (ACCELS) opened the way for my success. Since that day, I have been in the field of teaching education as a teacher, teacher-trainer, trainer-consultant and researcher. For me, teaching is learning. The productivity of learning is vivid if it occurs in practice and in real situations. I always follow this statement and try to eliminate the challenges," she recalls.
“In 2019, under the scope of the Fulbright-DAST program, I and my fellow partner Judy Smetana from Pittsburg University, organized and conducted training for school principals on Education Management and Leadership, and for Professor-Teachers of the Avloniy Institute and Regional In-Service and Retraining Centers in different regions of Uzbekistan. Since that year, I have stayed connected with Dr. J. Smetana and we shared ideas on improving school principals` managerial skills. We have developed a training manual on Education Change Management. She motivated me to do research in the field of Education Management and recommended me to apply for the Fulbright Scholar in Residence Program. My participation in the ESN program inspired me to continue learning about the experience of our American colleagues in the field of Education Management. Engaging with Couches, CTs and RPMs within the program, I have improved not only my networking and teaching skills but also my managerial skills. I understood that the right management is the key to success in every sphere. That is why I applied for Fulbright SIR Education Management, and I was successfully selected. My host university is Pittsburg State University, located in Kansas State, the U.S. I am so excited about studying at Fulbright SIR from August 17 to December 17, 2022. The program that I am enrolled in at Pittsburg State University covers various aspects of teaching. I will be engaged in activities that would give me a better understanding of Human Resource Development. Throughout the program, I will work with university scholars, who will serve as my mentors in my journey of learning about curriculum development. I also hope that this experience will contribute significantly to my scientific research on "Developing Leadership Skills of Secondary School Principals.”
After program completion, I plan to return to Uzbekistan to continue improving the quality of school education in my country. I believe that success is the fruit of our hard work, sincere desire, and, of course, love of learning and teaching.” notes Makhprat Abdullaeva.
Bakhadir Mambetkarimov, an ESN Core Trainer from Karakalpakstan, always dreamed of becoming a Fulbright program finalist. In his opinion, this program would help him to improve his English language teaching skills along with language proficiency. Bakhodir’s lifelong motto is “Learn effectively and teach effectively. Bring out the best in your students.”
"I am happy to share that I was awarded a fellowship for the Fulbright TEA program. I am going to Appalachian State University in North Carolina for six weeks (September 13 – October 27, 2022). I have high hopes for this trip. I am sure I will return with new skills, and inspired to continue helping my students in their English language-learning journey.
The ESN program plays an important role in my success because it created a unique learning atmosphere for me. Through this program, I met many enthusiastic teachers, coaches and TESOL instructors. Through various program activities, I could improve my teaching skills. Exchanging ideas and sharing experiences was always important for me, and within the program, I had a chance to interact with English language professionals not only from Uzbekistan but also across the globe. This experience broadened my professional horizons.
The fact that I applied for the program earlier, and had several unsuccessful attempts, the application submission process was easy for me this year. I felt more confident while going through the selection stages. With this, I need to note that the biggest motivation for me was the positive-minded teachers I met within the ESN program. Many of them encouraged me to apply for the program. This support together with my persistence and motivation eventually helped me to achieve my goal.
Adiba Parpieva, an ESN Core Trainer from Namangan, believes that participating in a teacher exchange program is a perfect opportunity for teachers, especially English teachers, to visit the country, where they can explore a new culture, acquire new skills, and expand their professional network. Following her beliefs, Adiba actively applies for educational exchange programs.
"When I found out about the Fulbright TEA program for the first time, I applied for the program without any hesitation. Two years in a row, I have not been selected as a program finalist. Despite this fact, I continued working on my development and keeping in mind that things would come to me at the right time. This year I have applied once again for the Fulbright TEA program (Media Literacy Cohort), and I was selected as a finalist. I chose the Media Literacy course since information dissemination has been a key in many social processes (including educational processes). In our community, students have access to various types of information. However, finding accurate information, and being able to use critical analysis is very essential in my opinion. In September, I am going to study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for six weeks. I hope I will learn many useful methods and ways of teaching. I also hope that I will improve my creativity, collaboration and communication skills, as well as increase my digital literacy skills through interacting with various information and technology,” she says.
"Without any doubt, I can say that the ESN Program helped me to be selected as a finalist. ESN Program gave me a chance to improve my self-confidence and communication skills. I became more experienced, and I was confident while answering the questions during the interview.
Participation in an exchange program is not a one-time event, but the beginning of an exchange of ideas that continues throughout life. The experience that I am going to gain will change me not professionally, but also personally. Educational and cultural exchange programs support personal growth, lead to a deeper understanding of foreign cultures and strengthen international relationships. That’s why I recommend all my colleagues to participate in educational and exchange programs and be a lead teacher of Uzbekistan," Adiba notes.
Billura Ikramova, an ESN Core Trainer from Bukhara, is excited to share her success on her professional achievement.
"I have applied for the Fulbright TEA Program three times during the 10-year period, not counting the years I was on maternity leave. I am grateful to the ESN program, as it made me more competent and confident. Consequently, this led to the success of being selected as the finalist of the Fulbright TEA program," she recalls.
Her course will start this fall. Billura is going to study at Appalachian State University in North Carolina State. "I am going to study a pedagogy program there. I had the opportunity to choose elective courses and I chose the gender-equality classes. I think that by learning more about gender equality, I would be able to make my contribution to the improvement of gender-equitable education in my home community.
I am also thankful to the ESN program for connecting me with the community of EFL teachers who have experience in various fields. I learned a lot from colleagues and peers within the ESN program. Now I am sharing my experience with other teachers who are interested in applying for the Fulbright TEA program or want to be a part of the ESN program. All I achieved happened after I started improving my teaching and training skills with the courses that the ESN program provided. I would like to separately highlight that my experience attending and presenting at the TESOL Regional Conference provided me with invaluable insights.
My advice to my peers is to believe in yourself, use the opportunities, connect to the community of EFL teachers globally and do your best to achieve your long-term goal!" she notes.