Leona Maslova is a CELTA tutor at IH Prague in the Czech Republic
How long were you an EFL teacher, and how long have you been a teacher trainer?
I was an EFL teacher for about 5 years before I became a teacher trainer in 1999.
Did you have a different career before EFL?
I’ve decided to become a teacher when I was about 12. And here I am! I’ve never done much else apart from different administrative and material writing jobs related to EFL.
What are your hopes/aspirations for your trainees?
I always hope my trainees will leave the course with an improved ability to apply “meaningful teaching” principles, both when they sit down to write lesson plans and when dealing with the learners in the classroom. Mainly though, I hope they will feel enthusiastic about their (new) profession.
When you were an EFL teacher what did you like most, and how do you bring that into the classroom for your trainees?
As a language teacher I always like looking for evidence of how different people learn and also how they think they learn. In a way, I believe that discussing the learning process with the learners is one of the most authentic conversation topics for the classroom. So on my training courses I encourage teachers to create opportunities for engaging their students in the learning process and show them ways they can develop the students’ autonomy.
What advice would you give your trainees for successfully completing the course?
I believe that the degree of success is hugely dependant on one’s attitude to the course. If you embrace it with an open mind, focus on what new things you can learn each day (rather than what grade you get or don’t get for a lesson), you are more likely to succeed. Obviously, other attributes are necessary, but I think attitude is a major one.
What advice would you give your trainees for an interesting and rewarding career?
Talk about teaching: with your colleagues, with your students, with yourself. Don’t let the working context turn you into a routine teacher. For the very beginning of your teaching career, make sure you read Teacher’s Book that accompanies your textbook. It can teach you a lot and save you time.