ESL Teacher Interviews: Minoo Short

Kaplan are delighted to talk to Minoo Short, the head teacher at Anglo-Link. Minoo has been a Course Director at a number of English language schools and is an English teacher and teacher-trainer.

What made you become an ESL teacher?

English was my favorite subject throughout my primary and secondary education. After finishing high school, I attended an English Language Institute to prepare for the Proficiency test. Once I had passed the test, my tutor asked me if I was interested in taking some of the elementary classes.

That’s how my ESL career started almost 33 years ago. A few years later, after I had moved to the UK, I obtained my Cert. and Dip. TEFLA qualifications, and I have been an EFL teacher and teacher trainer ever since. As of August 2011, I also have a YouTube Channel and teach one-to-one lessons online.

How would you describe your teaching style?

Personalized and engaged. I really like working with the individual, adapting my lessons to their level, needs, interests, learning style and personality. As I mainly teach one-to-one, I can allow the lesson to unfold, rather than plan it too much in advance. I would also like to feel that in every lesson I am learning as much from my student as they are learning from me.

What cultural insights can you get from teaching ESL?

I have been very lucky to be able to meet and teach people of many different nationalities and backgrounds. The cultural exchanges and the sharing of life’s experiences with my students have been extremely rich, and the key to my own personal development. My TEFL career has taught me to be respectful of and curious about each individual and his or her unique culture.

Have you experienced cultural difficulties from teaching ESL?

Not really, possibly because it was not me who had to settle down in a foreign country and embrace a totally new culture. I worked in a residential school in Belgium for 15 years, and we have been running our own immersion courses in the UK since 2002. Therefore, it has always been my students who have traveled to where I teach.

Which other ESL teachers do you admire and why?

I have worked with many great teachers and I would like to mention them all. However, if I had to choose one, it would be my TEFL trainer, Rosemary Aitken. Her way of teaching truly inspired me when I was her student, and made me choose TEFL as a life-long career.

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

I would say that it can be the most amazing and fulfilling career if you are creative and flexible, if you enjoy working with people and if you are good at listening to others and understanding their needs.

What do you think is the future of ESL teaching?

As I see it, at the rate the internet is taking over the role of mass education, the mid to long-term future lies in online teaching and the virtual classroom. I believe that internet and mobile technologies are providing us with great tools to make our teaching more learner-centered and more creative.

Which superhero would you be and why?

Although I am not sure he is classified as a superhero, I am going to choose Yoda as my favorite. I like the fact that his speech is characterized by simplicity of words and imperfect grammar, and yet he delivers the greatest words of wisdom.

I think Yoda can inspire many second language learners, as he demonstrates that it is not necessary to have mastered all the advanced structures and a whole range of vocabulary before one can begin to communicate in a new language.

Many thanks to Minoo for some insightful answers. Do you agree with what Minoo has had to say? Who has inspired you to teach or learn English? Let us know by leaving a comment!

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