Kate is a Native English teacher and has been working for The English Room since September 2015. She teaches group classes, one-to-ones and company classes. She also specializes in exam preparation classes, in particular preparing students for the IELTS exam.
Where are you from originally and how did you end up in Leipzig? I’m from Liverpool in the UK. I never intended to move to Germany, my plan was always to move to Spain, but while I was working in Spain I met a German guy, so changed my plan and moved over here to be with him – and the rest is history!
What’s the best thing about living here? If I had to choose I’d have to say the lifestyle. Leipzig is a really relaxed place, people have a good work-life balance and spend a lot of time outdoors with friends and family. The beer isn’t bad either!
What do you miss about home? The people! I really miss my friends and family of course, but I also miss the type of people you find in Liverpool. Scousers (people from Liverpool) are really friendly and open people with a great sense of humour, and this gives the city a really welcoming feel.
Why did you decide to become an English teacher? It’s embarrassing to admit, but there was no real reason! I did a few different things after graduation, and I just decided to give teaching a go to gain a practical qualification. Luckily I discovered that I really enjoy it!
When it comes to English teaching, what are you really passionate about? I really love most aspects of my job, but in particular I enjoy teaching exam courses and doing coaching for English language exams like IELTS and Cambridge. It’s a real challenge, but very rewarding to help students meet concrete goals.
You speak really good German…how did you learn it? I didn’t speak any German at all when I arrived in Leipzig, so I had a lot of motivation to learn! I did an intensive German course for 6 months, and I really tried to immerse myself in the language (German radio, music, TV, friends etc.). I also tried to repeat phrases that I had heard native speakers say to sound more natural.
How do you motivate your students? How can they motivate themselves? I think the biggest motivation is when students can see their progress; maybe they can use their English successfully on holiday, or maybe they finally understood an English Youtube video, or maybe they finally used a phrase we practiced for weeks. These moments should be celebrated! Motivation is a very personal thing, but setting clear personal goals can help to encourage language learning, for example, maybe you want to be able to give a great presentation, or maybe you want to pass an English-language exam.
What advice do you give to students who want to improve their fluency in English? What worked for me was listening to lots of things in my target language, then finding phrases and sentences that I could repeat, as this really helps you to sound more native-like. It’s also much more useful than simply learning lists of words! Another tip is to listen to things about your interests, sites like Youtube and Instagram are good for this.
What do you do when you’re not teaching English? Not much! I’m a big reader, so I’m happiest sitting outside with a good book in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.