ESL (English as a Second Language) is a very particular field of work. Because you’re dealing with linguistics, the range of jobs in the industry is incredibly broad. In this case we’ll just focus on teaching English as a second language and within Europe. Oh and by the way, don’t judge my English here😉
I once told a friend who frequently played the lottery that if he just opened an English school (here in Italy), he’d hit the jackpot in less time and with less money. In the latin countries specifically, a person’s good level of English is a plus, compared to Germanic or Scandinavian countries where a decent level of English is assumed. There is so much demand, that it actually doesn’t make a difference whether you work for a school or fly solo.
Having an American father and Italian mother, since birth, languages have always been a part of my identity. At school however, literature and books in general were my biggest enemy. I saw books the way other kids saw monsters under their beds. There was nothing that bored me more in the world than reading. If you locked me in a room for a day and gave me the option of having a book to read in the meantime or sit alone with my thoughts, I would opt for the latter. Whenever we had our infamous book reports to present, I’d just invent a book or take a movie and change the names of everything. I was once a devout Christian, and yet, I couldn’t even make peace with the bible. However, whenever the rare occasion popped up in English class where we would look at etymology or vocab, you would see a sudden spike in my interest. I always liked studying words but despised reading them. So, when I moved to Madrid at 22 and in no time found a job teaching English with a school called Vaughan Systems, everyone in the family said “Wait, you got a job doing what?!” Understandably, the class I hated most at school was called English, but…it wasn’t the grammar I hated, so it took some explaining on my part.
Vaughan had its own system, its own method, and didn’t just hand you (the teacher) the manual and throw you in the deep end. Instead, they spent a few weeks teaching you how to teach. This was fascinating to me. Having a manual was one thing but learning how to teach a language just blew my mind. After all, I knew Italian and had studied German, French and Spanish, but always with outdated approaches. So, I finished the course, and then, indeed got thrown in the deep end. Later, I moved to Dublin where I found myself teaching Spaniards and Italians on the side for extra cash. At this point, I was taking things to different level. The manual started to serve as a reference point more than a lesson planner because I started to develop my own ideas. Nothing was wrong with my previous ways of doing things, I was simply evolving. It’s one thing to teach a person something they might need, it’s another thing to teach a person something they do need. Then, while living in Sweden, I found that teaching English was basically out of the question because everybody already knew it. For reference, in Sweden I met the only people I’ve ever actually mistaken for Americans. That, is an example of just how great their English can be sometimes. Though Sweden didn’t play any role in my teaching experience, a peculiar thing happened one day when I noticed that a few aspects of my teaching methods, could easily be applied to learning Swedish. I started to notice that my methods had more to do with linguistics than just a language. Some time passed, and I began to focus more on my own methods.
I analyzed 5 random minutes of 100 conversations. My understanding of the statistics is the foundation of my method.
Though it is my sales pitch, it is backed by truth, knowledge and experience and empirical evidence. When you simply learn a language, you can forget it over time, whereas if you understand a language, it becomes second nature. The school counts on you returning, lesson after lesson, month after month. My method, actually has a destination. The destination is basically that point where you as a student say to yourself, “Ok, got it. I’ll take it from here.” Understanding this concept is fundamental. With languages being so vast and some constantly evolving like American English, one might ask how there can be a finish line or destination if you will. The question is legitimate, but unfortunately, it’s based on a massive industry’s scheme. See, you’ll notice that the entire industry’s strategy is to teach you the answer, not the equation. Society would be upside down if our math teachers had taught this way. They teach us that if you have 1 object and add another object, we now have 2 objects. What they don’t teach you is that 2 is the sum of 2 objects combined. This is why you don’t have to take a math class every time you are confronted with a set of numbers you haven’t summed before…because now, you know how to add. In effect, using my method, I don’t teach English, rather, I show you the anatomy of the English language, that way one day, you’ll be able to answer your own questions…you’ll be able to improvise. Most parents would agree that you couldn’t possibly prepare your child for every street in the world, that’s why you teach them to simply look in both directions before crossing any street.
My catch phrase is, “Once you take a course with me, you’ll never have to take another lesson.”