An interview with an English language teacher

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What do you consider to be the most challenging aspects of your work?

That’s a difficult one.  As a non-native teacher I always feel that I have to be on top of what I am doing and that more is expected of me. I’m not sure whether that’s my expectations or those of my employers.  I feel that I have to prove that I can do it and that I can do it well.

Have you ever come across any negativity?

No but I know people who have.  I have a feeling that if my accent was stronger I might have done. I’m always very conscious and self evaluate constantly. The assumption of many employers is that the accent has to be standard English but that’s not necessarily true.  My Dissertation was about Students’ perception of non native teachers teaching here and when I was doing my interviews with the students it was clear that it’s just the assumptions of the employers not the students.   It’s about good teachers and bad teachers in my opinion, not about native and non-native teachers.   It’s an unjust divide.

What advice would you give someone following a similar career path to you?

Don’t be afraid because I know that it can be done.  I find that quite a lot of us get very defensive and it’s better to use self-assessment and reflection.  They shouldn’t make any assumptions or look at stereotypes just look at it as a blank slate.  It’s a very international career path and what’s really great about it is the cultures and people that we get to meet.  I think that seeing them all communicating and interacting is fascinating.  Part of the world comes to me instead of me going abroad. 

What do you like best about living in the UK?

Brighton!  I love Brighton and I don’t mind the weather that much.  I really like people’s sense of humour; it’s quite dry and similar to the Polish sense of humour.  It’s just the right amount of distance and affection. 

What do you do to relax?

I watch films, swim, I like travelling a lot and I go to Poland to see my friends and family.

Questions by Gill Balfour, Editor of i-studentglobal

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