Hello! My name is Yannis and I'm a Greek American English teacher currently living in the lovely town of Brighton, United Kingdom. I got my start as an English teacher in 2009 whilst I was living in Beijing, China - though my very first teaching job was teaching Karate to children between 1997 and 2004. Being a teacher was such a rewarding and creatively engaging experience, I made it my career by receiving formal training and acquiring my Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) in 2014.
Living in China for 7 years allowed me to work with a wide range of students of different ages. I got my start by teaching tourism English at a five-star hotel in downtown Beijing. There, I helped the hotel staff with their English communication skills by teaching them the best ways to talk to their guests and what are the important terms and cultural aspects they needed to be aware. One of the most career-defining jobs, however, came shortly after with a small startup that recruited, trained and mentored English teachers from outside of China. With this company, I was not only able to teach young learners but also train and mentor new recruits as well as develop curriculums that are fun and engaging. This two-year experience solidified my career path as an educator. I believe that learning should be engaging and natural in order to become effective.
I have been teaching English since 2009 as a classroom teacher, a lecturer, a private one-on-one tutor and an online teacher. The first 7 years of my career were spent teaching in Beijing, China. My first job involved teaching tourism and hospitality English to the staff of a five-star hotel who comprised a class of mixed English proficiency ranging from beginner to advanced. I then went on to work in an education startup which recruited, trained and professionally nurtured intern teachers by placing them in local kindergartens. There I was able to work as a teacher to young learners, designing and delivering classes that were fun and engaging. I was also given the opportunity to train and mentor new recruits as well as observe classes and provide consultations for potential client schools. Two years later, I started working as a freelance business English teachers, working with companies who wanted their employees to improve their skills. I also had the opportunity to work with individual ex3cutives by helping them prepare for business trips and interacting with clients and partners overseas. I returned to teaching young learners shortly after by working for a local English center. There I was hired as both a teacher and academic manager. Both positions gave me experience in working with young learners, building curriculums and training new teachers. Two years later I was hired by the China Agriculture University where I taught university-level English classes and academic writing. At the same time, I took up part-time work in a joint program between the Beijing Transportation University and the University of Waterloo where I was tasked with preparing students who were going to spend two years in Canada. These students were of mixed levels and needed to not only improve their English communication skills but also get acclimated to the lifestyle and culture of Canadian society. My last job in China was at an elementary school where I worked as a first grade and fifth grade English teacher.
Between my time as an Academic Manager in the training center and as a university English teacher, I took a one-month intensive training course to get professionally certified. My CELTA training involved input classes by tutors in the mornings and observed teaching practice in the afternoons followed by feedback. The input sessions gave me a lot of insight into teaching methodology as well as reaffirmed some of the things I had learned on my own. The observed teaching practice allowed me to understand what I was doing right and what areas I needed to improve on. I was quickly recognized as a teacher who can build a good rapport with his students and that I needed to improve my timing, pacing and the way I approached error correction. During this course, I also had to research and write four essays on teaching methods and lesson design. The last essay involved interviewing a single student and writing about my approach to teaching her.
I came to Brighton in September 2016 to join a masters program in Education at the University of Brighton. During this program, I've been given the opportunity to research the social, economic and political issues in education and discuss critically on their implications to students. I'm currently working on my dissertation which involves the study of parents with English as an additional language and their interactions with local British teachers. Here in Brighton, I'm also working as a teacher with the global company Education First who are running Intensive Course and Academic Year programs for students who want to travel and learn. With EF, I'm able to work with a wide range of levels as well as special interest classes to help students improve in langauge aspects they most need. I'm also working as an online tutor. My education background also includes a Bachelor in Computer Information Systems (The American College of Greece) and a Master of Science in Information Technology Management (University of Sunderland).
The best way to describe my approach to teaching is experiential. English is a tool for communication with real-life applications. I provide my students with real materials that allow them to experience the language, extract key language elements and practice it through controlled activities and production exercises. Homework and assignments are focused on highlighting the real-life applications of the learned material so that students can use their new knowledge with confidence that it will lead to desired outcomes. In order to keep the classes all-encompassing, I provide materials that stimulate discussions through listening, reading and writing activities.
I make use of trial lessons as a springboard from which I can grasp each student's individual needs and adapt my lessons accordingly. The best way is to learn through overcoming challenges and so I plan my lessons so that students are gradually challenged more and more until what they've learned becomes internalized. Nothing is as concrete and satisfactory as having overcome a challenge that was previously seen as nearly impossible.