Of all our teachers, Yuliya travels the most! She was born in Belarus and studied there, then got married and now lives abroad. She has already visited 18 countries and has lived in 5 of them for a while. She has no plans of stopping to expand the list any time soon, so it’s actually great she has the chance to work online! We are happy she can do that, and it’s a chance for you as well, to learn English with such a remarkable teacher and a great person. Read on to know more.
OC (Online Class): Yuliya, it looks like the world is too small for you :)
Y (Yuliya): That’s true [smiling]. 3-4 months of living in the same country usually feel like too much, and we are on the move again. WIth my husband, we have already lived in Slovakia, Singapore, Turkey, Qatar and even Iraq. Turkmenistan is next! So far, we are not planning to settle down. If we are drawn to a particular place, we will definitely go there.
OC: That’s great! So working online is a wonderful option for you.
Y: Absolutely. I think the same applies to online students. They can go on business trips or travel for pleasure, or move countries like I do, and still follow the same course and learn with the same teacher. If speaking a language is your goal and you have started learning, the trick is to stick with it and take regular classes. But today there are so many opportunities to move around. You don’t have to miss out on them and you don’t have to miss out on work or studying either.
OC: Did you have any doubts when you decided to start teaching online?
Y: Of course I did! I suppose all teachers do, those of us who were used to working in a traditional way, in a brick and mortar classroom. Before I started, I thought online learning could never be as efficient as learning offline, especially when it comes to languages. What you need is to talk, to speak the language. You need to establish a personal contact for that. But I found that it’s easy to do that online as well. Sometimes easier! People are comfortable being at home so there’s no pressure that you would feel in an unfamiliar place. All it takes is just to get to know each other better, and it’s so much easier with only 2 or 3 people in a group. It’s not 7 and more, the way traditional groups in offline language schools are.
OC: So your doubts disappeared?
Y: Pretty quickly, yes. Learning and teaching online has many advantages and may actually be a few times more efficient than offline classes! I can’t see why some people shy away from this opportunity. I have started taking some online classes as well, not just teaching. I have a family, a small kid and I work. It’s hard to find time for myself, not to mention extra activities or classes. But if it’s just an hour, exactly 60 minutes and I’m back at home instantly, just turning my computer off, then it’s easier to find time. And it’s hard to imagine some people still choose to drive or take a bus to a class and back, spend all this time. You could spend it on actual learning or with family.
OC: It’s probably the greatest advantage of online classes.
Y: We are living in fast and mobile times. Online learning is the answer. On top of that, the whole world is now looking at sustainable development, green solutions, etc. For teachers and students it means trying to cut down on books and printouts, for example. Working online is a great chance to use electronic study files. It’s so handy when they are stored all in one place. They can be sorted and easily accessed. Audio- and video-files are so easy to bring to a classroom too, and it’s important.
OC: Do you use them often?
Y: Nearly always. It’s essential for students to listen to authentic English as spoken by native speakers. And if you bring something engaging, they may get interested, start looking for YouTube videos themselves, for example, start watching them more. That’s when I know they are going to progress fast.
OC: What do you do to keep improving your English?
Y: I speak English to my husband all the time so I actually have to worry about forgetting Russian :) I read and watch the news in English only, that the only way to get unbiased reporting. And we watch some TV series. The latest obsession was Game of Thrones, we almost watched all the seasons within a week a so!
OC: Impressive :) And of course you have to speak English when you travel.
Y: Sure. And even in Russian-speaking countries I sometimes speak English in cafes, hotels, etc. You get better service like that [laughing].
OC: A handy tip :) So there are many reasons to want to speak English… why are there still people not willing to learn it? What do you think?
Y: They didn’t learn it as students at school, and now there’s no time. Or they think they can get by without it. Talking about having no time, it’s a lame excuse not to take online classes, as we’ve just discussed. You only have to spare 2 hours a week and you can reschedule if something comes up. So the real reason is still lack of motivation.
OC: How do you motivate your students?
Y: I used to work at school, and with school children it may be difficult. You have to approach almost every kid in a different way. I can say I’ve learned to do it well. And now I teach adults and it’s way easier of course. They know why they need it and they know getting results takes time. Sometimes I’m compelled to reproach them too though, for not doing homework or not trying hard enough... I can turn it into a joke or be diplomatic. I understand most of them have an extremely busy life and demanding jobs.
OC: Do you have stories of your students who have reached their goals in learning English?
Y: Sure! We keep in touch and if we’ve been preparing to a job interview or an exam together, for example, I want to be among the first people who learn how it goes! I’m so happy for one of my students who has passed her Centralized Test getting 96 points out of 100, and entering her dream university. I have had students who now live abroad - one in Spain, one in the USA (we prepared to an interview in the US Embassy). I have students who were absolute beginners in English when we started, and now they speak fluently. And we feel like really close friends now, after years of classes together.
OC: What is your average English class like?
Y: I try to make speaking the key part of it, even if we need to learn some grammar. Something has to catch your attention, something should be there to relate to, personally, otherwise you won’t remember much. I’m not saying anything new here, any good teacher knows this. In general, they say I’m a light-hearted, open-minded person. I try to treat everyone with respect and see the humor of every situation. When other people feel it, they tend to do the same, and it’s easy to work together. Again, it’s not a secret or anything new, but it never hurts to remember this.
Yuliya surely has some groups to teach as you read this, but how many? What if you want to learn English with her, and she happens to have spare time on her hands? Sign up for a free trial lesson with us, or get in touch to find out more. And make sure to read other interviews to get to know more teachers that work with Online Class!