ESOL Experience from England

My name is Eva Griesova. I have taught English at Stafford college for six years. 

I always wanted to be an English teacher, but I had never dreamed of teaching in the UK.

I was offered this job despite the fact that there were many other native teachers whose English and accent were perfect. Since I had gone
through the same process of learning English as my students, I could easily relate to them, thus giving me a huge advantage over my peers.

I have learned an incredible amount during the six years of my teaching experience at Stafford college. My first year was obviously the most difficult one as I had to adapt my previous teaching skills to an environment completely alien to me. 

First of all, I had to master the foundations of ‘equality and diversity’. It meant I had to learn to acknowledge other cultures and religions which were widely spread across the UK (e.g. Poles, Romanians,
Indians, Pakistani, Chinese, Afghans, Latvians etc.) The majority of my students had to learn the language in order to help them  settle into 
British society. The ESOL course was essential for them so they could apply for citizenship or look for a better job.

All my students had to pass four Cambridge ESOL exams in order to progress to a higher level. The students were divided into five basic
levels:

ESOL entry 1, ESOL entry 2, ESOL entry 3, ESOL level 1, ESOL level 2 (Image 1)

Teaching/learning in all levels was divided into three basic parts where we focused on:

READING (for the first three months)

SPEAKING & LISTENING (for the next three months)

WRITING – which was always the most difficult part (for the last three months)

I  often used authentic material  (e.g gym membership forms,
CVs, job application forms, newspaper articles etc.), resources from the Internet (YouTube, PowerPoint presentations) or I produced my own handouts/flashcards (bits of cardboard with little pictures on them). All of these were there to help the students with no or very little experience of English to get used to life in the UK. Since I could not address my learners in their native languages I had to use a lot of pictures, videos and acting. 

I started giving feedback after each class to all of my students. I basically described their progress in oral or written form and gave them suggestions on how to improve. Feedback was in the form of marked homework or notes with the learner’s mistakes from his or her
presentation. I soon realised, despite it being quite a laborious job, that systems like this are efficient and students learn a lot from their
errors. 

The students were expected to complete ‘My weekly diary’ after each class. In this diary I kept a record of what my students learned. I also used the diary entries for my own reflection after teaching to
adjust and improve the learning process if needed, therefore I focused mainly on the ‘bad points’/’things I didn’t enjoy’ section.

Teaching in England has given me the confidence to share my teaching with students who cannot be in the UK. This way all my learners can experience a bit of England in my class.

Eva Griesova, LOS Consultant