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What do you do?

Like many people, I have one of those jobs that is not easily explained when asked the question "what do you do?" Sometimes I say I'm a teacher, sometimes I say I have my own business, and sometimes I try to explain it properly, and then, I watch the expression on my listener's face quickly change to 'I wish I'd never asked'.

Familiar Dialogue
Familiar Dialogue?

Because my job is quite unique and doesn't fit into any conventional categories, it's quite difficult to articulate an answer into a one-sentence description, and whatever I say tends to lead people in the wrong direction.

This blog comes, I suppose, as a way to set the record straight and bust some myths. It documents my responses to what usually comes after "I'm a teacher". So, here goes...

You work with kids, then?

Not usually. Most of my clients are businesses or professional individuals looking to enhance their career opportunities. However, I do teach a few kids and young adults (particularly in exam preparation courses).

I'm a teacher of English as a Foreign Language.

So, you're a TEFL teacher.

Strictly speaking this is true since TEFL simply stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language which is indeed my trade. However, personally (and speaking on behalf of some of my colleagues too), I don't really like this acronym label since it is usually used for speakers of English who teach the language with little or no training (it’s a very popular job for English speakers wishing to fund travelling, for example). Through much deeper studies of the subject, and extensive experience, my colleagues and I are able to offer a much higher level of expertise. I would always advise caution when referring to English specialists with the term TEFL. It's a bit like referring to a medical professional as a first aider.

Do you only teach foreign clients?

Usually, yes, but more recently, I have also offered tuition to English students who are looking for support in their key stage English.

Do you get summer off?

Sadly not. In fact, summer is my busiest time because of English holiday courses. Early on in my teaching career, I worked as a summer school teacher, but I am now responsible for coordinating and overseeing courses. I usually take my 'summer' holiday in January.

It must be nice being your own boss.

Yes, it's nice. However, it's a myth that being self-employed means you have more time off. If anything, the opposite is true. As most own business owners will tell you, we work more hours than any standard employment contract because we are vested in what we do, and for me at least, because I love what I do. As for time off, I have to plan this very carefully around my clients' needs, and make sure I meet my commitments to them.

Cunfucius  Quote
One of my favourite quotes

So, do you get to finish at 3pm?

No, unfortunately not. Since my clients are all over the world, I aim to offer lesson options to suit all timetables. Some clients prefer to study before their general working day commences, some during work, and some after work. My administrative hours are 8.30am - 6pm, but I often have lessons outside of these hours.

When you're not teaching, are you flexible?

Yes, absolutely. Providing I can work around the courses I am committed to, my timetable is flexible. However, apart from teaching, I am also responsible for all aspects of course design and administration, so I still have to fit this in. During the average week, about half my time is dedicated to teaching (which includes developing materials, planning lessons, marking, grading, and actually teaching). The other half of my week is everything else.

Do you teach mostly online?

Not mostly but yes, it is a lot. Things have changed a lot since 2020. I used to teach online occasionally, but now it’s regularly. This autumn, 3 days of my timetable are dedicated to online courses.

Is Get Set Go English a new company?

Yes and No. I've been teaching English for 11 years and been self-employed for 10 years. I've worked with many different teachers, schools, and businesses during my teaching career and have learnt a lot along the way. The brand and social media presence you see today was developed during the Covid pandemic to allow students to find me online when face-to-face teaching was not possible. For 2 years, I pooled resources with another English teacher and we called ourselves Get English. I then became Get Set Go English when I went solo again in 2022.

You used to work at another school, didn't you?

Yes. As well as my own courses, I've taught at and delivered courses on behalf of other schools too, including Brasshouse Language Centre, Birmingham; Severnvale Academy, Shrewsbury; and Youth Exchange Service, Shropshire. I've taught at schools in the UK and abroad, and I've taught ages from 3-83 and students of more than 50 different nationalities. My husband and I have also been hosting students in our home for over 10 years. Sometimes I forget where I've met students, but I rarely forget names and never forget faces.

You changed your job completely, didn't you?

Yes. After I graduated, I worked in the manufacturing industry as a business analyst and later in HR. This experience gave me the expertise I use today in my corporate training courses and business English lessons. It also gave me many of the transferrable administrative skills I use every day to run my business, and I learnt a lot about managing a team too. Plus, I had my first taste of teaching whilst working in this industry through the training courses that I delivered.

How do students find you?

Mostly through referrals. Many of my current students are colleagues or friends of former students who have recommended me, which is something I'm very proud of. Larger courses with businesses or other schools come from building up strong relationships over time. Those who engage me to work with them know that I will provide professional and student-centred courses with expert teaching.

What level of English do your students have?

Most of my students are advanced and proficient students who have studied English before and who use their English extensively already, but I also teach intermediate and even elementary levels.

So, do you speak a lot of languages?

No, I don't. I speak French and I know a few bits and pieces in other languages, but my job means that I don't often get to practise. My students work entirely in English during lessons because that's the best way to learn. That's how we learnt our first language, right?

From students...

How many lessons can I book?

As many as you want. Some clients want to ask specific questions or study a specific topic, so they book a single course. Others enjoy regular and ongoing lessons, so they book one lesson per week on an ongoing basis.

I'm busy at work but would like 1-to-1 lessons

Generally speaking, courses are completely flexible. Many of my ongoing students book lessons in blocks, so once they have paid, their favourite slot is reserved for the duration of their course, but that doesn't mean that we can't change it. The finer details of my timetable are confirmed on the Friday of the previous week. There is sometimes room for further flexibility too, but this cannot be guaranteed.

I don't think you offer the course I am looking for.

If English is your second language, this is very unlikely.

Ok. What type of courses do you do?

There are 3 main options to explore, but all of them are very flexible and allow you to study in a way which suits you:

1. Immersive English Holiday Courses

  • Available throughout the summer.

  • Fully customisable.

  • Travel alone or with a group.

  • Suitable for any age or any level.

2. Accelerator English Training courses

  • Corporate courses for businesses, schools or other independent groups.

  • Tailored courses for business-centred outcomes.

3. Private English lessons

  • Online or face-to-face;

  • Study alone or part of a group.

  • Short or long-term courses available.

To learn more, browse the website, request a brochure, or get in touch to chat in person.


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