We’ve now met teachers for a plethora of backgrounds, living across the globe and teaching, Spanish, German and French! Now, it’s time to meet another English teacher. Here’s Tim to tell us a little about what teaching for Lingoda means to him.
Tim, please tell us a little about yourself!
My name is Tim, I’m originally from Manchester in England but now live in Portsmouth. Manchester is very famous for football, I’m not a huge football fan but if you need to know which team I support it’s Manchester United!
I’ve been teaching English now for nearly five years. I’ve taught in language schools and I also taught in a very small town in the middle of nowhere in Thailand, which was interesting!
I’m also a qualified yoga instructor and meditation teacher, but don’t worry I won’t be testing your yoga skills in my classes… or maybe I will!
I have a black Labrador called Daisy who sometimes likes to stick her nose into the class, I’m still trying to teach her English!
What does the average day look like for you as a Lingoda teacher?
I get up at 6am every day and start the day with meditation and yoga, then take my dog down to the beach for a swim. After that I come back and review my lessons for the day. Any preparation for the lessons I will have done the day before. I usually teach about four or five lessons a day starting about 8am.
In between lessons I’ll go to the gym for an hour and then after I’ve finished teaching, usually about 5pm, I’ll do my preparation for tomorrow’s lessons. Working from home is great as I have the flexibility to do things like, such as: go to the gym, take my dog for a walk and anything else I need to do.
What is it that you like the most about the platform?
I’ve worked for some other online companies and I can honestly say that the Lingoda platform is the best one I’ve worked with. The lessons are the best I’ve worked with also, an hour may seem a long time as some other online companies only do 45 minutes but an hour really allows you to get deep into the subject and allows the students the opportunity to practice speaking as much as possible. The other great thing about Lingoda is the students are from all round the world, this makes it very interesting for me, and I think for the students to be able to practice speaking with lots of different accents is also important.
What is it about learning and speaking other languages that you enjoy?
I have always loved languages, even from being a child I was fascinated by words. Not surprisingly, English was my favourite subject at school! I speak some French, but I am not nearly fluent enough yet, but I love the way other languages deal with certain things. For example, there is a tribe in Africa that does not have words for left and right, they only use compass positions. So, instead of saying there is a spider on your left arm, they will say, there is a spider on the upper north east of your body. I find this kind of thing very interesting.
Why do you think people should learn languages?
Learning to speak another language gives you an insight into another world really. There is a concept known as linguistic relativity (which Lingoda has a lesson about) which states that the structure of a language affects the speaker’s worldview. So, by learning another language you not only broaden your communication horizons but also your whole view of the world!
What do you like most about the English language?
Well I think the English language is very expressive. It is very subtle and nuanced and has lots of double meanings which makes it complex and interesting. There are no masculine and feminine nouns either which makes it arguably easier to learn than other languages. It has become the language of the world so learning to speak it is like having a passport or visa to so many countries. Wherever you go in the world someone will speak English.
Why do you think people should visit, or even live, in an English speaking country?
Well if we talk about the UK first, we are a nation with thousands of years of history which makes any stay here so interesting. The Tower of London is almost a thousand years old but is surrounded by the most modern buildings. I think this is what the UK does really well, preserving its ancient past but progressing forward into the future. Of course, the UK is not just London though, London is almost like a separate country within the UK. As you travel further north the people become much friendlier, even though the weather may become colder! My home city of Manchester, in the north of England is a wonderful city which was the birthplace of the industrial revolution in the world. Of course, you have Australia, Canada, the US and New Zealand, which are other English-speaking countries, each with their own unique take on the Anglo-Saxon world view.
If you had any tips or advice for a language learner, what would they be?
Read as much as possible, listen as much as possible and practice speaking as much as possible. Confidence is key. Don’t worry about making mistakes, just keep speaking and the more you speak the more confident you will get, the more confident you get the more fluent you will become. If you combine this with reading in English as much as possible, such as news sites then you’ll have confidence and vocabulary! Be committed though, that’s probably the most important thing. Find out what your motivation is and keep that it mind. Make sure you have a clear motivation though, without one it will be difficult. For instance, if you just say, ‘well I wouldn’t mind speaking English, it will probably be useful,’ this will only get you so far. Have a purpose, such as, ‘I want to speak English so that I can watch all the Harry Potter movies in their native language’ for example! Have a clear purpose and motivation and keep reminding yourself of that.
And lastly, Tim, what words of wisdom do you have for anyone who may be thinking about taking the leap into language learning?
You only regret the things you didn’t do. In meditation we talk about the fact that the present moment is all we ever have; the future has not yet been written and the past is only a story you tell yourself. Only now exists. Live in the now fully and enrich your life and worldview by learning another language. Your teachers will be so gentle and patient with you and will only ever encourage you and support you. You won’t regret it!
If you’d like to meet more English teachers like Tim, sign up for your free 7 day trial with Lingoda. As Tim says, you won’t regret it!