[email protected]: Interview with a Kaplan London teacher
We had the opportunity to interview one of our teachers in London to find out more about ESL teaching from an insider point of view. At the end of the interview you’ll find a short English exercise in a video. Can you tell us if the teacher is making any mistakes when she speaks?
It has been our pleasure to talk to Tatiane Depieri, Senior teacher at the London - Leicester Square School. Tatiane is from Brazil and has been teaching English for over 9 years. She has been with Kaplan for 2 years and at present is teaching an intermediate level class.
What made you become an ESL teacher?
I’ve always loved languages and I started studying English when I was a child. I really like the fact that by speaking English you are able to communicate anywhere in the world.
The language itself interested me and I wanted to make it possible for other people to learn it and have the same experience I had.
How would you describe your teaching style?
I'd like to think I’m a fun teacher! I like using different activities in the classroom, working on interesting things. For instance, if the focus is on reading then I would pick something they can discuss later and at the same time focus on vocabulary and grammar. I like teaching grammar and I think it’s one of my strengths as a teacher.
My teaching style follows the communicative approach. I want students to speak and be able to communicate through speaking and writing. I enjoy linking activities in the classroom so students move on to something new but don’t realise we are changing the topic or getting into a grammar exercise.
I’m quite strict too and I think my students would say I give them a lot of homework to do!
Which are the most common mistakes and what suggestion do you have to overcome them?
Language mistakes mainly depend on where you’re from or which one your first language is. I would probably say that there are two common mistakes students make with regards to their learning: first, students think that only by reading a grammar book and memorising the rules they will be able to speak English – it doesn’t really happen like that, as the language is not just about rules! On the other hand, other students think that just by coming to class they’ll be able to grasp the language and be fluent in a year. High expectation can be a problem sometimes.
My suggestion to surmount this problem would be 'take it easy but do some studying as well!' Find a balance between memorising rules and using the language in daily life situations, have fun while learning!
What do you enjoy the most in your job?
Definitely knowing people from other countries and learning from them. As a teacher you learn a lot. I have students from all over the world and I constantly learn about their countries and culture. The interaction with them is my favourite part. I also like to see their progress. It’s great to follow a student’s progress from a lower to a higher level. It’s really rewarding!
What would you say to a student who’s about to give up?
’DON’T GIVE UP! DON’T DO IT!’. Sometimes it might be hard to learn a language but you’ll see how rewarding it is once you get there and are able to communicate. Just try to find out what you need to work on and what you’re doing wrong and you’ll be able to focus on what you need and at the same time make progress.
What would you say to someone who is considering becoming an ESL teacher?
I would say "Do it!" It’s a great job. It's rewarding and fun and you will not be doing the same thing every day because you’ll interact with different people and have the opportunity to provide people with the language they need to communicate. It is something they will have their whole lives. Students will always remember you as ‘the English teacher who helped me!’ or they will think “I’m here because I had an English teacher who once thought me English”; it’s a very good feeling!
What is your favorite holiday destination?
Oh I have so many. I love travelling and I guess that’s why I love my job so much as you get to know so many people. My favourite destination at the moment is Thailand, probably because I’m planning to go there soon. I’m sure once I’ve been there there’ll be a new favourite one.
Spot the mistake: Can you find anything incorrect in the sentence Tatiane is saying? Leave us your answer in a comment!