We spoke to Annaelle More, who is a teacher here at the English Language Centre. We asked her how she became a TEFL teacher and why she is passionate about teaching.
What is your background and how did you get into teaching English as a foreign language?
Since I was a little girl I dreamt of becoming a teacher, perhaps because I grew up in a family of teachers. I have a degree in English and Communications (BA) as well as a postgraduate certificate in Education (PGCE). While I was waiting for the school year to begin, a language school who were desperately looking for someone to help out with a few classes, contacted me. This is how my journey in this industry began. It took me exactly two weeks to realise that this was in fact where I wanted to set my roots. I decided to do a TEFL masters course and I am now studying towards getting my Diploma in TESOL (DELTA).
What are you currently teaching at ELC?
I teach mid-level listening and speaking in the afternoons. For more information on our courses see here.
What is your favourite level / ESP and why?
I enjoy working with Elementary and Pre-intermediate students as I find this is where one can observe the most progress. I also find that students at this level are often most dedicated and inquisitive. They know enough to make themselves understood but not yet comfortable with the language and therefore eager to learn and explore.
What do you understand under the concept of learner-centred lessons?
In the past, people believed that the teacher was the only one with all the knowledge and therefore had to do all the talking. The learner-centred approach encourages interaction and students’ participation in the classroom. It shows that students can learn from each other and that they too have information. By allowing them to share their opinions and ideas, the focus is taken away from the teacher. The lessons are also far less rigid.
How do you try to keep your English classes interesting?
I allow my personality to shine through my lessons. I keep things light and include laughter in every lesson. I encourage my students to participate and ask questions and every now and then I like to do a spot check to make sure everyone is on the same page.
What do you think is the most challenging thing about being an EFL teacher?
I would say pronunciation and spelling because English is not a phonetic language. It can also be hard to keep a long-term student motivated.
What advice do you give students who are learning English in terms of speeding up their learning or getting the most out of their course here?
Immerse yourself in the language as much as you can. The more exposure you get the faster, you will learn and improve. Meet people who do not speak your language and socialise with them. Watch English movies, listen to songs, keep a journal and meet with locals. [For more tips from teachers, follow us on our YouTube channel or read some of our other blogs.]
What would you say sets ELC apart from some other language schools in Cape Town (or anywhere else in the world)?
Well to begin with it is affiliated with UCT which speaks volumes. The staff are highly qualified and are experts in their fields, which means that the students get to learn from the best! ELC is also not a franchise and therefore have their own unique company culture, which allows the students to get more attention and not get lost in the system.
Do you have any for new teachers starting out on their careers?
You never stop learning how to improve as a teacher. Learn as much as you can from your colleagues through peer observation and sharing ideas in the staffroom. Reflect on your own teaching to think about what you're doing well and where you can improve.