A couple of weeks ago, EC Oxford welcomed Howard to our team of teachers. As usual, we wanted to learn a bit more about him. These are the questions we asked him!
Q: What did you do before you came to EC Oxford?
Before I came to Oxford I was the teacher in charge of German at a large independent secondary school in Abingdon. I was in charge in of supporting students for their national GCSE and A-level exams and organising trips and exchanges to Germany.
Q: What is your role here in EC Oxford?
I am a teacher of English at EC
Q: What have you enjoyed about working at EC Oxford so far?
It can be quite daunting starting a new job as you never know what you’re in for! Will the other teachers be nice? Will students be motivated and hard-working? What are the expectations to be met? What’s the general ‘vibe’ going to be like? I’m really happy to say that the teaching team have been really warm, welcoming and supportive in getting me best set up to teach and assist my students. Classes and relationships are what I believe to be the most important factor and the heartbeat of what we do as teachers. So far so good! My classes have also been welcoming, attentive, eager to participate and as teams, we’re making progress in our English-learning development. Humour is also a key factor and there’s been a lot of that in the last 2 weeks! It has also been a real privilege to work with students from different cultures with which I’ve had little contact, interaction or have knowledge about. It’s been fascinating discussing the different cultures, backgrounds and religions with students and see how our world is so rich in variety and diversity.
Q: What do you like about Oxford as a city?
Personally, and I’m sure many staff and students will relate to this, the beauty of the place – the stunning colleges, colourful streets, stylish shops and the ‘village’ atmosphere. Everything is very close, accessible and easily reached on foot. I’m a real foodie and enjoy the café and restaurant scene. I also really enjoy the parks in the city and the countryside outside it, particularly in the summer. Oxford has everything!
Q: What’s your hometown? Can you describe it to us?
The small town of Weybridge just outside south-west London is my hometown. It’s quite an ordinary commuter town but its claim to fame is having the band ‘The Beatles’ live nearby in St Georges Hill in the mid-1960s. It has a pleasant high street, a big cricket club/cricket pitch at the centre- ideal for socialising, chilling in the summer and watching local Surrey teams play. The transport links to London and the south coast are a big plus.
Q: Our school is all about helping people who are learning English, but have you learned any other languages? How did you learn them?
My university degree is in French and German so I can relate (and empathise!) being a language learner and how it feels when a grammar concept is challenging or pronunciation is difficult. Nonetheless, like many of our students, I studied hard and am privileged to be a regular visitor to France and Germany to visit friends. It’s there that the fruit of all I’ve learned is evident. Communicating, expressing myself clearly, idiomatically and as correctly as possible gives me a real sense of joy, connection and excitement! Having been exposed to a lot of German particularly, it’s satisfying to both understand and respond to natives when they speak to me or ask me questions! I can remember a few years ago as my language skills were slowly improving, a real stumbling block was understanding natives when they spoke to me. It does get easier the more you practise and the more you expose yourself bravely to listening.
Q: What do you like doing in your free time?
Reading, following current affairs, skiing, walking, sailing, tennis, cinema, theatre, playing (a lot) of cards and attending my local church ‘St Ebbe’s’ are my passions. Exploring the French and German-speaking regions of the world is what I get up to during pro-longed time off with friends and family.
Q: What are your future plans?
Continue to settle in well to EC and work at my teaching methods and styles that, I hope, will make me a better teacher and better tutor of English for my students. My motto has always been ‘reformation…reformation…reformation…’ My long term plans are to run a small language department in a prep school in the Oxford area and learn Arabic and explore the Middle East.
If you’re thinking about booking courses of English in Oxford, why don’t you try EC Oxford? With teachers like Howard, you have the chance to improve your English to the next level!