Meet the teacher who is just as enthusiastic about her job as she is about all the numerous hobbies and interests in her life! Her classes are loved by adults and children alike, and we all know young audience can’t be fooled and is always a teacher’s harshest critic. Read this interview to know more about Yulia and sign up for a free trial class on our platform to choose an English course for your child if they are of school age, or for yourself, no age limits :)
Yulia, what made you fall in love with the English language?
I’ve always loved meeting people from different countries! And while in Poland, Lithuania and other neighboring states speaking English is not really a must, going further West is a different story. But I have more experience with meeting people online and welcoming couchsurfers from abroad here in Belarus. I’ve been doing this for 4 years now, and English is truly a universal means of communication.
Do you speak any other languages though?
I also took German back at university. I still have a decent level thanks to classes with students who are learning German, but naturally I’m much more fluent and confident in English. I even switch to English with German people at some point - I can’t help it :) I like the Italian language as well, and I could even consider learning it further down the road, but for now it’s not really a plan or a goal that I’m after.
English is the language that opens doors, right?
Many people see it that way now. By and large, everyone is motivated by either a desire to travel or a chance to do business abroad. In this day and age, traveling is not just very easy, it’s also extremely popular. Meanwhile, some people actually hesitate to go anywhere without basic foreign language skills. Others hit the books after a few trips abroad where they may have felt uncomfortable. IT people, both developers and managers, are the largest group of business people learning English. Everyone understands that international companies communicate in English, and language barriers either stop professionals from getting involved with international projects, or drive them to start learning the language, thus expanding business opportunities.
Learning English is popular for a reason.
The only problem is, many people want to find a magical way learn it very fast and with minimal effort. Advertising feeds the illusion of such a possibility, promising to make you fluent in English in 30 minutes, 5 classes, or 2 weeks. But the reality is, you have to put in a little more, and that’s why frustration may kick in ealy on in the learning process. A person may lose interest, forgetting why they started learning in the first place.
What can help them keep on track?
I know for sure that just saying “come on, you need this” doesn’t really work. Motivation depends on the person but in any case, when you’re teaching adults, it’s very important to show them how they can use what they’ve learned in their everyday life. They need to know they can use it right now, today and tomorrow, to talk about themselves, their sphere of work, current events, etc. One more great way to inspire students is to give them a chance to talk to a native speaker. It’s no longer a class but a real conversation, and it’s a chance for the student to feel their own limits, on the one hand, and on the other, to actually understand how much they can actually say! When you have to talk and there’s no chance to switch back to your native language, the majority of people can say a lot more than they think themselves capable of :)
Did you like learning English yourself?
Sure, and I entered the university for the sake of learning it, with no definite goal of teaching it later on. I had a lot of great teachers who see and teach their subject as a sphere of life, the sphere they love and have been studying themselves with a great passion for many many years. It’s teachers like that who manage to spark genuine interest and motivation in students, as opposed to teachers who follow a program from A to Z and don’t really relate their subject with what’s going on outside the classroom.
So why have you become a teacher of English?
I tried once and I felt it suits me. I had a clear idea of a teaching style I wanted to have, and I also had a few ideas of what I didn’t like about the English classes I took myself. This gave me a chance to try new things and implement the elements I thought were missing from school and university programs. I’ve been teaching English for over 5 years now, and I have a certain set of ideas for classes that work every time, but I also like to try and master new teaching tricks and methods. My background and experience expand with each passing day, which helps collect new interesting thoughts and study files for students.
Was starting to teach online a new experience for you?
It wasn’t completely new or unfamiliar because I’m used to keeping up with my friends from abroad online. I’ve always thought that conversations online can boost your foreign language skills even more than conversations in person. The reason for that is very simple: you’re more concentrated on what you and the other people are saying, and any small glitches, be it a mic or the Internet acting up just a little, make you speak louder and clearer for the sake of being well heard and understood. That’s perfect for language practice! :)
How well do children learn languages online?
My first class here on this platform was with a kid who is now in the 4th form at school. All kids are pretty much the same at that age, restless and easily bored, and of course much depends on the teacher. But teaching online has a huge advantage here as well, as I see it: it makes you speak more to avoid pauses. Each pause leaves the other person one on one with their screen, and their concentration fades away… As a teacher, I feel that immediately, so I strive to make my online classes even more dynamic than live ones. Using engaging and interactive study files is also super important, both with children and adults, who react equally well to learning with games, photos and illustrations. It’s very convenient to incorporate all that into the learning process online, and the classes are really fun and colorful.
Have you had students that you are really proud of, in terms of how well they’ve learned?
I’m always extremely happy to witness the progress of people who weren’t able to say a few sentences about themselves in a foreign language just a few months ago, and who now have passed their exams that let them live abroad. And it’s a very special thing to teach school children and realize after a while that they can now hold a decent conversation in English. It may be a simple one with simple vocabulary and structures, but it’s a real spontaneous dialogue. And unfortunately, it is something that is often missing from school programs, where kids learn a set of words and phrases with no real speech practice… So it’s both challenging and very rewarding to take that set of words and phrases and teach children to use them flexibly in real-life situations.
As you have learned, Yulia has great experience in teaching English to both kids and adults. She loves what she does and her classes are both informal and dynamic, keeping boredom at bay and letting students move steadily forward, towards their end goal of speaking English fluently. Don’t miss the chance to take a free class on our platform and choose a suitable English course for your children or for yourself. Set a goal and let’s achieve it together! We’re looking forward to meeting you.