“Ahh you’re from Scotland! I know, you don’t speak English there.”
I have lost count of the number of times I have heard someone say that they really like the British accent or that they would like to HAVE a British accent.
By far one of the most popular lesson requests I have had from students is for interview preparation skills.
Picture two different people, both English language teachers (and real people). They are both female, both in their mid-twenties, and they both want to move abroad to teach English.
This week LinkedIn let me know that I had hit my one year anniversary working as an online ESL tutor. When I first set foot on this path I had no idea that it would lead to me being self-employed as an online tutor full time, blogging, making videos for a YouTube channel, creating a website, and with a Facebook and twitter accounts related to my work.
Last week I closed my computer, packed my backpack, and headed off for my first long distance walking holiday along the West Highland Way in Scotland. The West Highland Way is a 96 mile (152 km) walk starting in Milngavie, a short train ride from my home in Glasgow, heading through the Highlands of Scotland, and finishing in Fort William. The Way passes through rolling hills, meadows of bluebells, spectacular mountainous scenery, along the shore of Loch Lomond (the largest freshwater loch in Scotland), and through several small villages.
Wise words indeed from Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, in an interview with Nanette Varian.
This is something that has been on my mind this year as I have ventured into pastures new.
I have been self-employed as an English tutor since July 2014, and have been almost exclusively teaching private students (as opposed to freelancing for other companies) since January 2015. Being self-employed, although incredibly rewarding and liberating, is one of the hardest things I have ever done. I have spent 2015 having the biggest ups and downs of my life as I struggled to find my inner confidence. Every time I did something new, a new video, a new private student, a new blog post, a new photo, I had a little voice in my head asking if I was capable of this. Every time I put myself “out there” on the internet, the doubts surface again.
So how have I dealt with this?
I haven’t always had jobs I loved. In fact, like a lot of people, I have had many jobs which I despised. But in 2009, I was lucky enough to get into teaching full time and have been there ever since. I have had many ups and downs in my job, but luckily many more ups than downs. This week has been a mixture of both, but since it has ended on a high I’ve decided to write this slightly self-indulgent post to remind myself how I feel when I’m on a high from work.
I had been teaching ESL in the classroom for nearly 5 years when I moved to teaching mainly one-to-one lessons online (and in person) in 2014. I found that although I had an enormous amount of resources at my disposal for classroom teaching, especially for young learners, I struggled to figure out what would work for teaching online.