It was at the age of eighteen that I got my first job in Information Technology, and after almost 30 years in the field, I finally decided to change my career and return to school for Linguistics. I had studied Japanese in college, and Greek after that, and as a language lover, I had always been interested in the subject and how language is constructed. It was in 2010 that I began to study French, and as I sat in class, I started to wonder why it was so difficult for an adult to learn a second language. Often, I would learn a rule, have it in my head, and then fail to use it when it was needed. I also noticed that although some of the words my instructors used sounded exactly alike to me, the instructors would insist that they were completely different! Well, after two years of lessons, I realized it was time to close my IT consulting company and follow my three real passions in life: words, language, and linguistics.
I reached my first goal of earning my Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics in 2016, and though I had planned to stop there, I felt I still didn't know enough about Second Language Acquisition and why adults have such difficulty learning a new one. Yes, some of the questions had been answered. For example, I learned that a child has a natural ability to acquire grammar rules just by listening to the language and using it, but an adult has to make an effort to learn and memorize the rules, just like they would need to do if they wanted to learn to play chess! But after earning my BA, I still wanted to learn more about the mind, especially the adult mind, and how I could make it easier for adults to learn English. So, I continued my studies at The Graduate Center at the City University of New York, where I earned my Masters in Linguistics.
Along with those two degrees, I also have my Certificate of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA) from Cambridge University. However, after talking with my students, I'm not so sure that all of those pieces of paper are the most important keys to successful English instruction. Certainly, my training has provided me with information on how grammar and language works, and I use this information to help my students to achieve their goals in English, but because I am also a language student myself, I know I need to feel comfortable with my language coaches. After all, language learning is about using the language, and so the coach should be someone who the student actually wants to talk to.
And I've learned that, fortunately, my students find it very easy to talk to me. Perhaps it's because I'm interested in almost every subject, and I believe I can talk about almost any subject, as well. So, if you want to talk about art history, I'd be very interested in hearing your thoughts on Abstract Expressionism, and if you want to talk about something like the future of technology, I'm ready to discuss the pros and cons of driverless cars. Whatever your interest is, I'm ready to teach you how to talk about it in English!
Furthermore, I think my success as a teacher comes from my ability to improvise (I was originally in theatre!) and so I use a lot of role-play in my sessions. Through me, my students regularly have to deal with all sorts of characters, and on some days they might have to repeat their lunch order several times to an incredibly forgetful waiter ("Sorry, but did you order the vegan special or the double bacon hamburger with cheese?") and on others, they will be called to a meeting by a terribly grouchy CEO ("How much are we paying you people to turn in this garbage anyway?"). Of course, my background as a New York businessman – one who has had to interact with professionals from every sector – allows me to specialize in business English, but my other specialty is Pronunciation, and indeed, I am currently developing in-depth courses in both American English and what I call "International" English, which is for students who will mainly be using English as a lingua franca.
So, whether it's for pleasure, travel, or business, please contact me for your first lesson on the path toward fluent English!