The following interview is part of an interview series in which we feature education professionals from a variety of different fields in order to highlight individual efforts and creative solutions to education in the 21st century. If you want to participate simply write down and send your answers to the five below questions to info {at} learnoutlive.com and include a picture of yourself. (Please note that we reserve the right to not publish all submissions)


video on youtube

 

1. Who are you and what do you do in education?

I am a freelance English teacher from Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic (400.000 inhabitants) and I have been teaching English, with a short break during my maternity leave, for 8 years. I am originally Czech, I am 34, I have one daughter and I love being back in my hometown after many years of living in other countries and travelling/working around Europe. I spent a lot of time mainly in the US/the UK and Holland/Belgium. Apart from my mother tongue – Czech – I can speak English, Dutch and some French.

This is my 9th year of being a freelance ESL teacher and I couldn´t love my job more. I work both locally in Brno and online, via Skype and social media sites. I specialize in coaching others how to learn English without coursebooks, groups locally and individuals online.  I believe it is much more effective, and also more fun, to learn a language through socializing, communicating with each other and by doing things we like and do in our own language.

So in my local courses we learn by doing. You can for example learn how to cook an Indian meal  or we go to a bar with my American friend, who is a singer, and put together a blues song, we go shopping, watch and discuss movies and Ted talks… When I coach individual students I help them find the ways to stop being shy when speaking and motivate to listen, read and write for fun.

Sometimes I record the lessons, so if you go to my Youtube channel, you´ll see some of the lessons there. I also make grammar videos where I point the camera at myself and explain painful grammar issues and vocabulary in a simple way.

What gives me the greatest joy is building a community of students who feel language learning doesn´t belong to schools with desks and coursebooks. And helping someone realize they can aim high, set their goals and achieve them, that is the most rewarding moment for me.

 

2. Describe a typical work day in your life!

I start working around 9am and I usually don´t finish before midnight. In between there is quite a lot of role-switching, from online coach to blogger to social media expert to videomaker,  to in-class teacher, to event organizer and a mom. Most of the time I coach students online in the mornings and teach local group courses in the afternoons. Now more than ever, I seek some downtime and some social time for myself in my weekly schedule. It´s very important, otherwise I would go crazy.

 

3. In what way has technology in general and the net in particular changed your work?

It has changed my life completely. I used to work with coursebooks and cds, sometimes dvd-roms. Now everything´s on the internet. It´s so easy and mainly for free. I honestly don´t understand how some people can still be teaching from coursebooks. Hello! The world has changed, I feel like screaming sometimes… The whole world is on Facebook, all the answers to your questions are on Google, everyone´s blogging, making videos, sharing, creating. The past two years have turned education upside down, flipped it ;).

What an opportunity to help thousands of students and build your PLN (personal learning network) from the comfort of your home! Before my lessons were limited to those who could attend my courses locally, now everyone can learn with me through my videos,  my FB page/my blog and I am planning to build a videocourse in the near future where students can learn how to learn.

 

4. What challenges do you see for education in the future?

This is a question I am afraid to answer for myself. Because I am a bit pessimistic when it comes to my country and I have a child for whom I have to decide which road to také, very soon. And the options are not that great, sadly. In the majority of state and private schools, the child is still not considered a unique person, the teachers are still underpaid  and despite the neverending debates on how investing in education should be a priority there is still so little money being put into general education. It feels almost pointless to send my child to a school when I know she´s not going to learn things the way she needs to learn them.  Do we end up like the Greeks where everyone pays for the private teachers after school so that their kids could pass the exams?

 

5. Where can we find you online?

My website: englishbrno.cz/en/

My blog: englishbrno.cz/en/blog/

My public FB profile:facebook.com/Nina.EnglishBrno

My official FB fanpage: facebook.com/EnglishBrnoCZ

My Youtube channel: youtube.com/EnglishBrno

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