ESL Teacher Interviews: Mónica Stocker
Kaplan are delighted to talk to Mónica Stocker. Mónica started working as an English teacher in 2002 and in 2005 created "El blog para aprender inglés", one of the most popular English education blogs in Spain.
Kaplan first encountered Mónica Stocker back in 2011. We saw great value in Mónica's work so flew her over to the company's head offices in London where she could visit our language schools in the city and learn more about the Kaplan experience. Mónica was suitably impressed and has been a good friend ever since.
Mónica also helped Kaplan with the How to Teach English research, which asked ESL teachers about what tools they use to enhance their lessons. You can find the results in English here and in Spanish here.
What made you become an ESL teacher?
I was encouraged by my husband who is also an English teacher.
How would you describe your teaching style?
My teaching style is a combination of technical skills and coaching. I try teaching my students to understand and speak English rather than just teaching grammar, and I also try to motivate them a lot.
What cultural insights can you get from teaching ESL?
Well, in my case, as I teach mostly Spanish students and I live in Spain I don’t get so many new cultural insights from teaching ESL, but I do learn with my students a lot about different industries, professions and life in general,.
Have you experienced cultural difficulties from teaching ESL?
No, not at all. I teach mostly Spanish students and since I've lived in Spain for many years I know them very well.
Which other ESL teachers do you admire and why?
I admire my husband, Mark Schouman, because of his versatility as a teacher. He can teach students at any level; beginners because he can speak Spanish and advanced students because his knowledge of the English language is very deep.
Besides he is a very cultivated person, he can talk with his students about any subject: geography, history, economics, sports. He is also extremely patient. This is a very important skill for a teacher. If you aren't patient you can’t teach.
What would you say to someone who was considering becoming an ESL teacher?
There are four very important things to remember if you want to excel teaching English. Firstly, don’t choose to be a teacher if you don’t have a strong vocation to become one. You really have to love your job. Secondly, always correct students’ mistakes.
If you don’t correct students’ mistakes, it’s more convenient for the student to have a language exchange than a teacher, there is no added value.
Thirdly, cultivate yourself. A good teacher does not only know his or her subject, he or she also knows about life and the world. Lastly, be patient with your students. Learning a second language is not as easy as it seems.
What do you think is the future of ESL teaching?
A very bright future, indeed. As long as English continues to be the “lingua franca” ESL teachers will be needed.
Which superhero would you be and why?
I grew up watching Batman on television so if I had to choose a superhero I’d choose him. I've always liked the idea that the good guy puts the bad guys in jail.
Many thanks to Mónica for taking part in our interview series. Do you agree with Mónica's answers and advice. Please leave a comment with your feedback.