Interview – Teaching English as a foreign language

My latest interview is with fellow Open University addict and blogger Angela, after reading why not pop over to her Online English lessons blog to check out the fun lessons – who knows you may even learn something new! 😀

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about you?

A. I’m Angela Boothroyd. No relation to Betty Boothroyd, ex speaker of the House of Commons, although I have met her and she is lovely 🙂

I’m 50 years old and have two daughters and a son. One daughter is at university, the other is working and hoping to start her own business one day soon, and my 12 year old son is home-educated.

I’m an English language teacher and I teach English for immigrants in the UK, and online for people all over the world. I ghost write blog posts and articles, and I also help other business owners design and write their online courses.

Q. How did you first get involved in your career and why?

A. I love reading and all things language-related, and when my children were very young I started working as a volunteer helping adult native-English speakers to read and write. From there I went on to more volunteer work, this time helping immigrants to learn English.

One thing led to another and I signed up for a degree with the Open University, then trained as a teacher, and then went on to get a couple of Masters Degrees with the Open University – one in Applied Linguistics, and the other in Online Education. You never know where a bit of volunteer work might lead you, and studying with the Open University is addictive!

Q. What is the most challenging thing about your work?

A. The long hours and the odd times of the day I work – my students are often in different time zones to me.

I also find challenging people’s perceptions about the value of content on the internet very difficult. Many people seem to expect that everything they need to learn English is, or should be, available free of charge if it’s online. I give away a lot of lesson content but I still get many people contacting me asking for free English lessons, rather than signing up to pay for lessons.

I totally understand that not everyone can afford lessons and that’s why it’s fantastic that there’s so much free content out there, and why I’m very happy to post free lessons on my blogs, but sometimes I think people forget that teachers need to earn a living too, and they don’t realize that it takes a long time to write really effective lessons and courses.

Q. Can you tell us about any interesting people you’ve met through your work?

A. Do you know, I think they’re all interesting in different ways. Working with people from such a wide range of countries has really opened my eyes to different peoples and cultures.

Q. What do you do when you aren’t working?

A. I’m an avid reader, love buying books, love listening to music, like to get out in the countryside and walk for miles, and I really enjoy the company of my family and friends – just simple things really.

Q. What is your most favourite thing about your work?

A. Meeting people from all over the world and making life-long friends of some of them.

I’m continually learning new things about people, culture, new technologies for learning, business skills, teaching methods – the list goes on and on – and I love the variety this brings.

Q.  And the least?

A. Doing my accounts.

Q. If you hadn’t chosen this career what would you like to do?

A. I’d be living in deepest darkest Russia, speaking fluent Russian, working as an interpreter, writing a fabulously popular blog about Russian life, culture and history; and working on my first novel 

Q. What tips would you give to someone looking to get into your career?

A. That’s a tricky one. To someone thinking about getting into teaching, I think I would recommend trying it out first – maybe by doing some volunteer work. Becoming a qualified teacher is a big commitment in time, and teaching is great fun but also hard work that requires a lot of dedication, so it’s important to know you’re taking the right path.

Q. Is there anything else you would like to share about your career choice that you haven’t already mentioned?

A. It’s never too late! I had lots of different jobs before I became a teacher and in many ways I think the experience I gained during those years, plus being in my mid-thirties when I started teaching, has helped me enormously – especially while I was training, and in the early days of my teaching career.

The Fun Questions

Q. What did you have for breakfast?

A. Toast and marmite and a mug of Earl Grey.

Q. Who would win a fight between pirates and ninjas?

A. Pirates, of course. No contest.

Q. If you were a tree what tree would you be?

A. An apple tree. No idea why really – it just appeals to me 🙂

Q. What is the last book you read?

A. Still Missing by Chevy Stevens. I’d recently read and reviewed her latest book, Never Knowing, and also interviewed her for a blog post, and I enjoyed her writing so much that I bought Still Missing straightaway.

Q. Which of my blog posts is your favourite and why?

A. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts about BPD, and I appreciate your openness in them. It’s a subject that I haven’t see tackled very often and I think it’s important that people have an insight into how a condition such as this impacts a person’s life; and how it can be coped with and dealt with.

Q. What is your favourite song at the moment?

A. Put your hands up by Nerina Pallot

Many thanks to Angela for doing the interview, why not check out her online English lessons, facebook page and you can also find her on twitter – @studyingonline

Thank you for reading!  If you have enjoyed reading this post please share it with others who may be interested and I always enjoy receiving feedback and comments 🙂