An interview with an English language teacher
An interview with Kamila Bateman, English Language Teacher at the University of Brighton International College.
Kamila Bateman is an English Language Teacher at the University of Brighton International College in the south of England. She is Polish and has been educated both in Poland and the UK. She talks about what it’s like not just to study in the UK but also to teach here.
How old were you when you started studying English?
I was eleven, which was quite late actually. At the age of 12 I started private lessons as my parents decided that the method of teaching wasn’t really great – it was mainly using the translation method.
Can your parents speak English?
My mum does to a communicative level. She’s intermediate, my father doesn’t speak any English at all.
Did you think then that you would end up being an English teacher?
No I specifically didn’t want to be a teacher. I really didn’t want to, I thought I would do something else. I wanted to go into translation and wanted to translate books and at the time I was really into Jane Austen and I thought I could translate all Jane Austen’s books. After seeing the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice I had this vision of Britain and the English that is obviously nothing really like the actual truth.
Then I came here as a Social Programme Organiser when I was 19 and they didn’t have any teachers. It was a small school in Worthing and it was a very busy summer period. They just ran out of teachers, they needed someone to teach a small pre-intermediate class for two weeks and they asked me. I had been a student at that school before, when I was 15, and I kept in touch with the staff. I was at university in Poland at the time and I thought it would be a nice idea to earn a bit of money and a good way to brush up on my English. I had no idea they would ask me to teach but I really enjoyed it. I had a great class with students from European countries so I could relate to their languages and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I had had bad experiences at school and I didn’t like most of my teachers in High School and that gave me the idea that there was no way I could be a teacher.
What did you study in Poland?
I studied an English Studies Degree at Adam Mickieincz University in Poznan, Poland. The course included methodology, history of the English language and literature. That was the first year and then in the second and third year we could split and I chose English literature, translation and methodology.
When and why did you decide to come to the UK to study?
I finished my degree in Poland and started my Masters in English and Canadian literature in Poland. It was a part-time course and after a year I decided to come back to the UK because I really liked it here and to do the same job, either as a Social Programme Organiser or an English teacher; it was then that I met my partner so everything changed.