At EEC we’re very lucky. We have a small but strong team of highly qualified, excellent English native-speaking teachers from Britain and America, who come to us with years of experience in the field. They know how to ensure that our students not only learn something but also have plenty of fun in the classroom. Because we love our teachers so much, we’ve decided to give you a little introduction to each of them, starting this week with Yvonne.
Yvonne joined us a few months ago and teaches general English in our early afternoon classes. Some of her students actually followed her from her previous place of work, and we constantly get requests for Yvonne from happy students. Let’s find out a bit more about her and how and why she got into teaching English as a career.
- So Yvonne, tell us where you come from!
Well, I’ve lived everywhere to be honest, but I suppose my longest period of time was spent in Connecticut in the United States. I’m American.
- How did you get into teaching English?
Actually, I got into this field quite late. I was in sales for many years before that, and I sold everything from computer servers to software to insurance. One day, a friend of mine decided to set up a program teaching English to refugees from the Middle East and South America, at our local community center. I thought it seemed like a great idea and so I offered to help out. Once a week I would teach these refugees and eventually, it became the highlight of my week! I learned so much about other cultures and really loved engaging with the students. I thought, why don’t I just make a career out of this instead of sales? And of course – I did!
- That’s an interesting story! So, what happened after you decided to make a change?
Well after that, I decided to get certified. If you want to teach English abroad, you need to do what’s known as a CELTA course, and so I looked into where I could do that. At around that same time, my husband was offered a job in Qatar and so we decided to move there. Qatar didn’t have CELTA courses at that time, so I completed my course in nearby Sharjah, which is part of the United Arab Emirates. A month later, and after a lot of hard work, I was finally qualified as an English language teacher and I began teaching privately in Qatar. A few years later and here I am living in Saudi Arabia and teaching at EEC!
- And what do you think of your job here at EEC, Yvonne?
Well, there are a few things that I really, really like. First of all, as teachers, we have an abundance of educational technology and teaching resources which means that I can create really fun and engaging lessons for my students. We play games, have treasure hunts, do fun group activities, and all kinds of other things that keep the girls really focused and interested in the lesson. It’s definitely nothing like school or university here and that’s a dream for any teacher! I’ve worked in places where there are no resources and it’s very hard to give your best in the classroom when you don’t have much to work with. At EEC, the teachers are provided with anything they need. On top of the number of resources, the centre is really quite beautiful. It’s nice when the students have a good environment in which to learn and make friends. We have a café upstairs which looks out on to a rooftop terrace, and in the winter the students love to go outside and share some Arabic coffee and dates together. There’s also a lounge where the ladies can relax on their break time, and we have modern, spacious classrooms. Even the chairs are comfortable – not like those hard chairs they have at universities or school classrooms!
Secondly, I work with a group of very supportive colleagues. Everybody here taught me something when I first started, which was so helpful. We’re like a small family here and everyone helps you out when you’re new.
Finally, what makes my job really enjoyable is working with such motivated students! Our class sizes are small, so it means that we can get to know our students individually – not just their names but also their unique personalities, learning styles, weaknesses and strengths. The best part is that students very often come back for the next course and we really get to know them well over many months. My colleague had the same class for almost a year and they became like a little family to her! The students don’t just get to know their teachers, they also get to know the reception staff, the director, and the other teachers – and people say hi to each other around the centre. Not every place is so friendly!
- We’re really glad you like it here! Okay, so one final question Yvonne. What do you think of living in Saudi Arabia as an American woman?
Well, I know that a lot of western women struggle when they first arrive here – I mean there are so many cultural differences and you really have to adapt to a new way of life. But for me, I love it! My husband and I plan to stay here until we retire – he loves his job too. I have plenty of friends here, I’m a really sociable person and I keep myself really busy when I’m not at work, so life is good! Saudi is a very hospitable country and I’ve had wonderful experiences meeting locals. I’d recommend anyone considering working in Saudi Arabia to seriously consider it – it’s what you make it!
- Right Yvonne, thank you so much for your time today and for contributing to the EEC blog. Our students love reading these posts so I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to learn that there’s a post all about their teacher!
Great – happy to help out!
So now that we’ve introduced you to our American teacher Yvonne, we’ll soon be doing interviews with our British teachers, too! Remember to check the blog for more interviews, and don’t forget that we also have a series of blog posts on grammar tips and other useful resources to help you on your English learning journey. That’s all for now!