I am originally from the UK (England). About 6 years I took time out from my successful management career to pursue my interests and lifelong dreams of travel and teaching English. Although I had done both to some degree in the past I now wanted to teach and train full time whilst exploring new countries.
I have thousands of hours face to face and online classroom teaching experience. In terms of online teaching alone, I have accrued over 7000 hours. As well as TEFL, I am able to teach IELTS, Cambridge Advanced, Cambridge First, Cambridge Key (KET), CLIL and TEYL. I also have a Cambridge grammar qualification. I intend to add to this later this year with the Cambridge Preliminary qualification. In addition, I studied Theology at Oxford University.
I have taught a wide array of students from young learners aged 4-5 at Level 1 (no exposure to English) all the way through to successful company directors with a solid grasp and understanding of English. Although I have taught all ages I specialise in professional adults (specifically business and financial English, although I also teach general and conversational English).
I find teaching, tutoring and training a rewarding and fulfilling career. Watching someone’s journey from a beginner to an advanced level and interacting with them is opportunity that few other jobs allow. I use a wide array of teaching techniques from TPR for juniors all the way through to instructional and task based for teenage or adult learners (and everything in between). The important thing is to make my lessons and activities relevant, engaging and interactive.
As a result of my language tutor experience, I have had to proof read, grammar check and comment on a wide array of documentation. Everything from CV’s and cover letters, through to websites, proposals and presentations. Even the occasional school homework assignment!
In addition, I have extensive experience of lesson planning, creating tutorials and videos and providing support and development for other teachers. In my wider corporate experience, I also have several years’ experience training and tutoring team members on a wide array of subjects from health and safety through to computer programming.
I have a home office that is specifically geared up to online teaching, video conferencing and recording as well as training with a hard wired fibre connection, full desktop setup (keyboard, headset, HD webcam, mouse etc.) UPS and backup LTE internet in case of emergencies.
I have taught using a variety of platforms as basic as Skype, WebEx and Zoom all the way through to platform and company specific software (although in ‘modern’ online teaching avoiding Skype is the best option). The most common problems experienced teaching online (other than power and internet outages) tends to be delay, echo and background noise at the clients end. This can be frustrating and distracting for the teacher as well as hindering effective teaching but can be easily solved the majority of the time with the client using a headset. If the client does not have one available for whatever reason, it is important to not get frustrated, remain patient and compensate where possible. Reducing microphone volume at the teachers end can help and depending on the software available reducing the volume at the clients end can also be effective. Ultimately, however it is about educating the client and explaining that the best way to progress their English and to immerse them fully in the experience is to use a headset.
The technical aspect, especially problem solving and thinking quickly on your feet is one of the main differences between teaching online and face to face. These types of problems obviously do not occur in a traditional classroom environment and as mentioned can quickly disrupt and distract from the actual teaching. Having done thousands of hours online you get used to it and learn some of the ‘solutions’ mentioned to help mitigate the problem. The other key difference is keeping the client engaged – especially young leaners. It’s important to be visual, use props like flashcards, toys etc. as well as talking slowly, clearly and coherently. Ensuring that your environment is quiet, free from distractions (audio and visual) is also essential. A blank background or where appropriate using specific teaching posters are also vital. Overall, however it is about building rapport with the client at the very beginning and using this throughout the lesson.
Finally, I am fully background checked in the UK (DBS) and South Africa (police clearance) as well as holding a level 2 safeguarding children and adults certification and a general safeguarding for teachers and leaders certificate.