An interview with an English language teacher



What were your first impressions of living and studying in the UK?

Well I was expecting all English men to be like Fitzwilliam Darcy, which of course wasn’t the case.  It was a year before I actually studied at Sussex University as I did my CELTA, and I worked as a cleaner, in a furniture shop and in a Care Home.  I really wanted to work as an English teacher but it was seasonal work.  I was teaching in the summer and for a couple of weeks here and there and with financial help from my parents and my partner’s parents I was able to continue with my studies.

You went on to study a Masters in English Language Teaching at Sussex University.  What prompted that decision?

It was a really interesting course, which had an advanced practical teaching element and was very useful.  I loved it.

What were the differences between studying a Masters in Poland or in England?

It was very similar but there was a very big difference from doing a Bachelors degree.  Studying for a Masters was very open and taught me the ability to ask questions rather than finding the answers.  That was the best thing about it. 

Were you taught in English in Poland?

Yes totally, both the Bachelors and the Masters. We were taught both by Polish teachers and native English teachers.  It’s always so for English subjects but there are universities in Poland now that teach entirely in English regardless of the subject.

How long have you been working as an English language teacher?

Seven years on and off – four fulltime. 

What would you say are the advantages of being a non-native English teacher?

The empathy factor; I think is the biggest.   I can definitely identify with the needs of the students and the stress that they go through, the silent period when they’re too scared to say anything.  I went through exactly the same process and I think that anybody who wants to become a language teacher should sign up for another foreign language course because it really teaches you a lot.