As a student I was always drawn to languages, studying French, Spanish, Latin and Japanese. My first professional teaching experience was while I was still a university student, when I taught English for a year in France as part of my Year Abroad. I was so encouraged by the positive feedback that I received in this role that I decided to continue teaching abroad when I graduated from university. In 1997 I secured a job in Japan and moved to Tokyo, where I lived for the next 14 years before moving back to the UK in 2011.
My philosophy to teaching is that the more students actively engage with the subject matter, the more interested they are in it, and the more they learn. I strive to maximise my students' active participation in lessons by eliciting their opinions and encouraging original interpretations of texts, giving plenty of positive feedback when appropriate. I have found that this builds their confidence and motivation, and the quality of their work invariably improves as a consequence.
Likewise, I am quick to praise improved use of vocabulary and sentence structure; I place a high emphasis on reading outside of lessons, as this is an invaluable and cost-effective way to improve these two areas. I therefore assign a book and set a certain amount of pages to read per week - a vocabulary book in which to record new words is a vital aspect of the student's path to improvement.
I myself have always enjoyed reading, and I feel that my students pick up on my love of literature and feel inspired to help themselves in this way.
I have been teaching English for 23 years. I spent 14 years in Japan teaching English as Foreign Language, where I taught in schools, universities, companies and language schools in and around Tokyo. Since moving back to the UK, I have worked as a private tutor, mainly teaching GCSE English Language and Literature, but also A-Level, Key Stages 1, 2 and 3, and 11-Plus.
My extensive experience as an English teacher has given me in-depth knowledge of my subject and how to impart that knowledge to my students as effectively as possible. I am familiar with a wide range of texts (novels, plays and poetry) and know how to further my students' understanding of these, for example by eliciting their own interpretations and ideas. I also know how to help my students express and organise these ideas coherently and accurately on paper by encouraging more advanced sentence structure and vocabulary. Strategies such as these have helped my former students to meet, and in many cases surpass, their predicted grades.