Student Stories

Jay Riley

Teaching in Korea: Jay Riley, MA-ESL '11

Jay Riley ’11 is an award-winning teacher whose Master of Arts in English as a Second Language (MA-ESL) online degree led him to a faculty position at Daegu University in South Korea.

Before earning his position at Daegu University, Riley worked at an inner-city public elementary school in South Korea. That position required a bachelor’s degree, but Riley knew that he would need a master's degree to advance to the university level.

He started searching for a school that met four criteria: the flexibility to complete the program overseas, affordable, a mix of theory and practice, and a thesis component. 

While pursuing an online degree from the other side of the world was challenging, Riley felt truly engaged by Hamline School of Education’s MA-ESL program.

“I’ve always felt that reflective practice is the best way to improve as an educator,” he said. “Hamline did a fabulous job providing students with the technology to work both synchronously and asynchronously as we completed several group projects that dealt with reflective teaching practice.”

As a lead professor at Daegu University, Riley teaches English as a second language, English for specific purposes, English economics, and English organizational behavior. Additionally, he serves as a mentor for other professors at the university, providing them with feedback on teaching styles. He recently received a best instructor award from the university.

“I would highly recommend Hamline’s MA-ESL program for the affordability and convenience as well as the academic and professional value of the program,” Riley said. “Knowing that I have the professional background in ESL to succeed has helped me win several awards, receive promotions, and begin to seriously consider jobs in the industry which would have once been out of reach.”

Since Riley graduated, Hamline has added a new Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MA-TESOL) for students seeking to work in higher education in the United States or abroad.  

Find out more about Hamline’s graduate ESL and TESOL programs offered through Hamline School of Education, or contact the Office of Graduate Admission to learn more about joining the Hamline community.