Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Gladly! I’m 19 years old and live in the suburbs of Philadelphia, on the East Coast of the United States. I’ve always had a passion for linguistics, language – learning, and international awareness. I’ve studied German, French, Japanese, and a little Spanish and Swedish. I am definitely not fluent in any of them, but I love to practice by reading books or watching shows.
I graduated this year from UWC ISAK, an international high school in Karuizawa, Japan. ISAK is part of the United World Colleges movement, which has a mission of making education a force to unite peoples for a sustainable future. In that diverse environment, I tutored my peers in academic English. I learned just as much from my peers as they did from me – not only about languages, but also cultures and learning styles.
I’m planning to study a combination of Linguistics, Psychology, and International Affairs at Bard College, beginning in 2021. I love to read about those topics in my free time.
When I’m not studying, I enjoy playing with my three dogs, practicing the marimba (a large, xylophone-like instrument), and cooking tasty vegetarian meals with my family.
Tell me about your experience of living and tutoring English abroad.
Though I had traveled to Spain and Sweden for brief exchange programs, UWC ISAK was my first experience living alone and abroad. I absolutely fell in love with the small mountain town of Karuizawa. My friends and I spent as much time as we could exploring local shops and parks.
The diversity of the student body multiplied my exposure to new ways of thinking, speaking, and countless other activities. It was exhilarating, and definitely the best two years of my life. Attending an all-English school abroad with a majority of non-native English speakers also changed how I thought about teaching English. Viewing the language from the perspective of a foreigner made me think critically about it like I had never before. I also saw first hand how students could progress. Some went from one-word answers to full oral presentations in only a few months! It’s incredible to see a person’s self-expression in English flourish with a little help and hard work.
What’s the hardest thing about learning a language?
Though it may sound strange, I think the hardest and most important thing about language learning is becoming confident in expressing yourself. Studying any language takes lots of time and hard work, but the most important thing about language is that it is used to communicate. In my experience, the best learning opportunities often pop up because of experimentation.
While learning Japanese, I would frequently experiment with phrases I had heard in the community or on TV. I didn’t always use them correctly, but those funny and awkward moments deepened my understanding of Japanese. Getting past the anxiety of testing your knowledge outside of a classroom can open a new door to linguistic and cultural immersion.
What do you like most about teaching English?
I enjoy learning more about my students, and creating a fun and personalized educational experience so that they can achieve their goals.
What advice would you give to English language learners?
Be patient and kind to yourself. Learning English is like learning any new skill; it takes time and effort to develop and eventually master English.
Don’t feel embarrassed if you flub a phrase you spent all day practicing, or misspell the same word five times. Just breathe, refocus, and remind yourself that you’ve got this!
Is there anything else you’d like to say to our Intrepid English students?
I want to mention that I have heard some people say that studying English led them to neglect reading, writing, or speaking their native language(s). That’s truly heart-breaking. I hope that while you study English you can fall in love with your own language(s), and let the wisdom of your language(s) enhance your speaking and thinking in English as well.
Thank you so much for taking this time to get to know me, and I look forward to meeting you!
So, if you are still wondering if online English lessons are right for you, why not book a free trial lesson today and talk about your English goals with an experienced and friendly English teacher. It’s never too late to reach your English goals!
This blog was written by Intrepid English Teacher, Maddox.
Find out more about Maddox on his Intrepid English Teacher profile page.
If you have any questions, or you would like to request a topic for a future blog, you can contact us by using the chat box, or email us at Intrepid English.
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