Nick Di Zinno

EC San Diego Teacher Spotlight: Nick Di Zinno

Background information: Born and raised in San Diego, California; studied Communications and Italian at UC Davis and lived and worked for 8 years in Rome, Italy before coming back to San Diego and finding my second home at EC San Diego. Years spent teaching: 8 years in Rome at The New British Centre; 2 years as a part-time teacher at EC San Diego and another 4 years “off and on” teaching while acting as ADoS and DoS at EC San Diego What made you decide to become a teacher?  To be honest, I wanted to live and work in Italy where I had studied abroad, and one of the paths to getting there was by taking a TEFL certificate course and becoming an English teacher. A couple months into my job there, I found the passion and the enthusiasm that I still have today to help ESL students achieve their goals. In all my previous fields of work (journalism and advertising), I had never had such a rewarding experience as being a teacher who can influence someone to communicate more comfortably and effectively. Plus, I learn so much from a cultural standpoint – it’s very enriching. What’s the thing you love most about teaching English at EC? The atmosphere here is really like a family. There is a pay-it-forward mentality which has been instilled in the teachers and staff here where people genuinely care about helping each other and our students. It’s wonderful! What makes teaching at EC so special?  Teachers have the freedom to bring their own personalities and life experiences to the classroom to benefit the students’ learning experience. Students also bring their culture and personalities into the fold and the dynamic makes for something special. What’s one thing you’ve learned from a student that really stands out?  … Read more

EC Malta Teacher Spotlight: Susan Arena

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 … Read more

Satoko: A Student’s Success

This week we talked to Satoko, a student and attorney whose dreams came true after learning English at EC Boston. She’s already returned to her school to give an inspirational speech to current students, and we thought it would be great for you all to know what she had to say about her EC experience. A little bit about Satoko’s life before Boston… I used to work as a public defender for eight years in Japan, and I came to Boston to study “the access to justice”. This is about reaching out to people who have difficulty accessing appropriate legal support due to poverty, disabilities, lack of education, and so on. Her major aspirations… I had two dreams: one was becoming a lawyer and the other was studying abroad. Fortunately, I passed the ‘bar’ exam when I was an undergraduate student and soon started my career as an attorney. I became one of the first public defenders in Japan.Through my job, I realized there were many people who are pushed to crime by poverty, which is tragic. The geographical distance from an attorney also prevented people from gaining legal support, and thus many people suffered. I decided to set my goal to study ‘access to justice’ and saved up money. Two years ago, I achieved this, and I came to Boston! Her decision to study at EC… I was so busy that I didn’t prepare enough to apply to universities from Japan. I thought that I should leave Japan anyway and find a way later, and began to look for an English school that could give me I-20. At EC, there were less Japanese students and that seemed a good environment for me to learn English. First I only chose Boston as a place to study because it is close … Read more