ESL Teacher Interviews: Mau Buchler

In Kaplan’s third “Interview with the Experts”, we talk to Mau Buchler.

Mau is a semi-nomadic educator, content creator, TEDx speaker and instructional designer.

His motto is "Surf, sing, learn, love, live."

You can discover more about Mau by visiting his Google+ profile.

What made you become an ESL teacher?

Sounds corny, but I sorta feel like ESL chose me; not the other way around. I was 17, needed money and knew how to speak English. In Brazil, that makes you a teacher. It’s a massive market, but there’s no regulation on English teaching, so many people don’t take ESL professionals seriously. But, I just had a knack for all aspects of it, so I stuck with it.

How would you describe your teaching style?

I’d describe my style as Impromptu Teaching. I always know WHAT I want to teach, but I usually don’t know HOW I’m going to teach it until about 5-10 minutes before the lesson starts. And even then, I’ll toss it all if I feel that the mood requires something else. If it’s a class, I get the students to brainstorm, then vote for activities.

All I do is direct the activities to make sure they cover the topic I’m teaching or practice the structures they’ve learned. If it’s a private student, I just ask questions that force the use of the specific structure I’d planned to cover.

Mau is the one with the sword!

What cultural insights can you get from teaching ESL?

Wow. All of them, I think. Language is one of the most intense forms of identity that a group of people can have. A language’s sounds and structures carry culture, history and beliefs. Once you make sense of a language as a manifestation of culture, you then need to understand other cultures in order to adequately transmit this information to them. It’s a trip.

Have you experienced cultural difficulties from teaching ESL?

All the time. Once, I stopped a class and told a Korean student to take off the swastika he was wearing around his neck. He apologised profusely while explaining that it was a buddhist symbol. I really felt like an idiot.

Which other ESL teachers do you admire and why?

It’s hard to say, offline, because I really haven’t seen other teachers teach. But, online, I like Drew Badger’s videos, Jason Levine as Fluency MC and Sylvia Guinan.

What would you say to someone was considering being an ESL teacher?

If they’re considering teaching online, I’d tell them to contact me. My English-teaching platform ( will start beta-testing very soon, and I’m gonna need teachers. Good ones.

What do you think is the future of ESL teaching?

I think the future of ESL is the same as the future of all education: More independent learning, and better communicators working as teachers.

Which superhero would you be and why?

Ironman. I’m just a regular guy, but if I need something, I build it.

Big thanks to Mau for his entertaining and honest answers. Tripppin looks like a fun and innovative project. Where does "Edutainment" fit in the world of ESL teaching? Please leave a comment with your thoughts and feedback.

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