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Interview: A Teacher’s First Week!

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A baptism of fire (idiom)

A baptism of fire usually means a particularly difficult first day at work. It’s the first day and you are thrown into a very difficult situation (FIRE!) and have to get through it to survive.

(Similar idioms are, ‘The first day from hell’ and ‘Thrown in at the deep end’)

It’s a wonderful phrase and perfect for this next blog entry

For today’s blog, I asked one of the brand new teachers at EC to answer a few incredibly professional questions about her first few weeks at EC Manchester and what it’s like being the new guy!

EC Manchester English Teacher. A woman smiling into the camera with an orange background.
Welcome to the team!

Talisha Levy* (*leevee) is a great teacher and although she only started working at our beautiful orange school this summer she already feels like part of the family. One final thing before we continue, for this blog post I’m not going to try and convince you that Talisha is sat right in front of me. It’s obvious that she is. I’m also not going to say she just emailed her answers over to me as a word document. She definitely didn’t do that and is definitely sat in front of me now as I type this. What follows is an accurate picture of our very real, very face-to-face interview…

Questions Questions..

SEAN: Talisha welcome, thank you so so much for taking the time to talk to me today. Let’s get started! I always wanted to ask you, what was your first day like at EC?

TALISHA: That’s a great question, Sean!

SEAN: If you could just answer it Talisha…

TALISHA: …My first day at EC was pretty exciting. As cliché as it sounds, something that really stood out to me was how supportive and friendly the staff are. Prior to starting at EC, I spent most of my time teaching and tutoring online, so it was really nice to meet a bunch of new bubbly faces. Having said that, it was a strange feeling being back in the classroom and teaching actual 3D people rather than 2D faces.

And how is EC different to your last job?

In a nutshell, EC is very different to my last job. I used to be a homeroom teacher at a school in Thailand. Although I did teach other classes, being a homeroom teacher meant that I spent most of my 2 and a half years with the same students. Therefore, it was quite an adjustment learning how quickly classes at EC can change. One week you can have a certain set of students, feel like you’ve got used to the class dynamics and found your flow. Then the next week there’s a bunch of new students in your class, the dynamics completely change and you have to adjust to that. Working at EC means you have to be adaptable and comfortable with change. Honestly, I think that’s a great skill to have.

Why I did you choose to be a teacher?

I’ve known for ages that a standard 9-5 office job wasn’t for me. For many years, I actually wanted to be a psychologist. I volunteered for the NSPCC, worked as a career and a support worker and studied psychology with the intention to become a child and adolescent psychologist. However, after applying for loads of post-graduate psychology jobs, I became fed up with my increasing number of rejections due to lack of experience. This was the catalyst for my spur of the moment decision to start an ESL teacher training course in Thailand. I started the training with the intention to push myself out my comfort zone, meet new people, gain confidence and of course live in beautiful sunny Thailand. I really did not expect to fall in love with teaching and thought I’d come back to the UK with a fresh perspective and restart my psychology job hunt. However, during my teaching placement, I saw my students’ grow in confidence, many of those little ‘Aha!’ moments and I genuinely had so much fun teaching English. I realised that what I was really looking for was a job where I felt like I was doing something meaningful. Of course, that’s what teaching English is all about.

EC Manchester English Teacher. A woman teaching in a classroom with orange walls.
This is Talisha pretending to teach an empty room

If you can teach anyone living or dead, who would it be?

That’s a funny question – I’m not sure about that one. I think I would like to teach Michael Jackson. When I was younger, I was really into his music and his entire character fascinated me. I think he would definitely be a memorable student.

Who was your most memorable student?

My most memorable student is a boy that I taught in Thailand. He was only 7 years old at the time, but he had such in-depth knowledge about random topics. One topic he really loved was marine animals, he knew so many random facts about them! I remember being so taken aback that this little kid could know so much about the different species of whales for example. I even did a quick check on google to fact-check ha-ha. What was really memorable about him was his personality, he was so blunt and matter of fact about things. He made lessons really interesting.

At this moment, Talisha jumps out of her seat, clearly happy and impressed with everything in the interview and before I can say ‘thank you’ she quickly runs to class, off on another adventure! An EC English teacher always has another class to teach and wonderful people to see.

Right, that’s all the time we have today everyone, but what about you? Have you ever had a baptism of fire or a difficult but exciting first day at work / school? Did you survive?

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