Meet The Teachers – Tom!

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m 25 years old and I grew in a small town called Sedgley in the West Midlands area of England. I studied History at my local university (Birmingham) and then completed a Master’s degree in Sheffield. In total, I’ve lived in four cities in the UK, but I’ve also lived in Germany and Ireland.

I’m a self-confessed history geek, and love reading about the past. I have written a few articles for history magazines and used to give public lectures quite often in Birmingham. My proudest history moment is when some of my research was used for the TV series Peaky Blinders!

When I’m not online teaching English, you’ll probably find me with a book, on my mountain bike, or cooking.

Tell me about your experience of living and teaching English abroad.

Before Intrepid English, I worked for three different companies teaching English.

The first was in Bavaria (southern Germany), where I was a camp counsellor teaching younger students English. That was possibly the most fun I’ve ever had and the most stressed I’ve ever been! We worked very long hours and had lots to do all the time, but I did get the chance to do amazing activities like climbing and canoeing.

Then I worked as a teaching assistant in Frankfurt where I helped out in classes for students aged 10-20. I can’t say Frankfurt was my favourite city, but it was a great opportunity to explore a new country and practice the language. I certainly missed my 5th Graders when I left!

Before moving to Edinburgh, I was teaching an IELTS class in Ireland. I was based on the Atlantic Coast, so we were battered by the rain constantly! Ireland was a very interesting country to live in. I learned a lot about my own country as well as about Ireland. I also learned a lot about how English varies as you travel around the world!

What’s the hardest thing about learning a language?

That’s a really good question! I can speak reasonably good conversational German and have been taking Spanish lessons for a little while, so I think I can make a decent guess.

I would say it isn’t the vocabulary or the accents or the culture (as many people think), I think it is the things that exist in your target language that don’t exist in your own. For example, I find the idea of gender in language to be very strange indeed, and really struggle to remember if a word is masculine or feminine (or even neuter for German!). I know many of my students struggle with similar things in English, and usually complain about phrasal verbs!

What do you like most about teaching English?

Even before I began to teach English, I always worked in education. Consistently my favourite moment, no matter what I’m teaching, is what you might call the ‘lightbulb moment.’ It’s the moment that that imaginary lightbulb over a student’s head turns on and they suddenly understand a new concept.

What advice would you give to English language learners?

The one thing I wish people told me about learning languages is that it’s not just ok to make mistakes, but that it is a central part of the process! You should embrace your mistakes as they show you where you can improve.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to our Intrepid English students?

Only good luck with your language journey, and that I hope to see you soon!

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments section below or email us at Intrepid English.

A picture of Intrepid English Teacher Tom G with a white background

You can visit my Intrepid English Teacher profile page to find out more about me and add me as a friend! 

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