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EC Malta Teacher Spotlight: Susan Arena

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Background information:

I come from England, from a city called Wolverhampton which I left at the age of 18. After that I lived in Chester and North Wales before moving to Malta 32 years ago when I got married. I have one daughter and 5 dogs–I love animals ?. I enjoy music, art, theatre and cinema and I am very interested in environmental issues.

Years spent teaching: 20

What made you decide to become a teacher?

I had always enjoyed helping people to learn new things and I had to embark on a new career when I started work again after my daughter started secondary school.I saw an ad in the newspaper and I thought why not? I enjoy learning about new people and places and thought it would be the ideal job for me.

What’s the thing you love most about teaching English at EC Malta?

I love meeting people from all over the world and I have some great colleagues. Teaching is so rewarding, especially when you see your students improve and achieve their goals.

What makes teaching at EC so special?

It is the most professional school for me and even though it’s hard work, you feel that you work is appreciated.

What’s one thing you’ve learned from a student that really stands out?

I am constantly learning things from my students, one thing that often stands is the determination and challenges some of them face just to be able to come here and study. I think that over the years, I have learned that wherever we come from, we have more in common than we think–especially with regard to humour ?

What is your favourite story about a student/teaching?

That’s a difficult question since having taught for 20 years, there have been so many. It’s really hard to pick one. I have seen so many achieve their goals against all odds and have also had many funny experiences with students.

What do you think makes a good teacher?

For me, a teacher should make a connection with his/her students, teachers should create an atmosphere which puts the student at ease, thus building confidence. Students should feel comfortable with their teacher and with each other so that they can ask questions and make mistakes without feeling embarrassed–without mistakes we cannot learn. Patience is a virtue in teaching; patience to explain over and over again. We are all different learners and a teacher should try to understand what type of learners the students are so that he/she can help individuals as well as the whole class. Above all I believe that a good teacher is always well-prepared!

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