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Meet our teachers: Sarah Anagnostou

, by The English Room

Where are you from, originally? I’m from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. We pride ourselves on being excessively nice almost-Canadians.

How did you end up in Leipzig? It’s a long story, but the short version is: I got tired of Berlin. After a couple of years living and working there, I wanted to be closer to nature and live in a smaller (and hopefully friendlier and cleaner) city.

What’s the best thing about living here? The forest! I love being able to walk to the forest from my apartment and still live in a city. I’ve only lived here since November, so it’s also nice to still have so much of the city left to explore.

What do you miss about home? Root beer and good Mexican food. German burritos are just not the same. And my mom, of course.

Why did you decide to become an English teacher? I like helping people understand new things, I’m passionate about learning languages, and I wanted a flexible career that would allow me to find work I enjoy all over the world.

You speak really good German…how did you learn it? I started learning German three years ago when I moved to Berlin. It was a bit of a “sink or swim” situation. I took an intensive summer course and picked up the rest by living in a German flatshare. My flatmates helped me a lot! They were very patient with me. I believe that immersion is always the best way to learn quickly.

How do you motivate your students? How can they motivate themselves? I try to provide relevant and fun content in my lessons and encourage laughter. It’s easier to feel motivated if the mood is light and the content is relevant to your life. I encourage my students to seek out content that they find interesting, fun, or useful for their specific needs.  For some people that might be music in English, or a favorite TV series, or poetry. Try to do or read or watch what normally interests you, just in English!

What advice to you give to students who want to improve their fluency in English? Listen to native speakers, either in films or in real life, and try to copy their sounds, rhythms, and intonation. Try streaming English radio stations such as NPR or BBC. Get a tandem partner and speak as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! You can also record yourself to hear how you sound, sign up for a “word of the day” email list, or – best of all – travel to an English-speaking country.

Which YouTube channels do you recommend your learners to watch? TED talks for a variety of interesting topics (often with English subtitles) and Easy English for authentic, spontaneous street English with English subtitles

What do you do when you’re not teaching English? I can usually be found walking my dog in the forest, reading novels and drinking coffee, spending time exploring Leipzig, or making music with my fiancé (I sing and he does the rest). I am also a yoga teacher and will soon be offering yoga classes in English in Leipzig.