After I had passed my Cert. TESOL in 1996, my first teaching position was in Skopje, Macedonia. At the time, I thought it was extremely hard work, and in a sense it was because there were no teachers’ books. This meant that we had to work everything out, which meant in my first year I got a real sense of what grammar, word formation, syntax etc was all about. In my second year I went to Moscow to work for EF English First. In those days, you were asked to teach using the kids’ summer school books, which were truly awful. So, I took it upon myself to write all my own lesson plans, ignoring the books (but not the grammar, vocab etc that they needed for the end of course tests). Of course, in those days, there was no internet, which made things a lot more difficult. After Russia, I moved to Milan where I put my first two years of teaching together and became a freelance business English teacher, and 16 years later, I’m still doing the same thing. Of course, I have used text books because I have taught in traditional English Language Centres, where the students require them. However, I have always enjoyed the idea of creating lesson plans from scratch and then improving them as I have used them in class.
I suppose my teaching style reflects my experience. I have always enjoyed creating lessons and experimenting with different methodologies and so on. My classes tend to be less ‘traditional’ and more ‘let’s see if this works’. Of course, this only works if the lesson plan is well-structured otherwise the lessons would seem disorganised at best and chaotic at worst. However, I would say that an easy-going attitude to lesson plans is always better than an attitude where everything on the plan must be done exactly as it says.
"Best Teacher We Ever Had" - Awarded to me by my secondary students when I left. Sadly, no actual official awards but who needs them? :( Teaching is its own reward.
2008 University of Cambridge Certificate in Teaching IGCSE First Language English. 2006 University of Cambridge Certificate in Teaching IGCSE English as a Second Language. 1996 St. George’s International Trinity College Cert TESOL. 1988 – 1991 Manchester Metropolitan University BA English Studies.
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