Would there be a Rome without the Romans? Would there be NASA without astronauts? Where would E2Language be without our team of E2 Experts? I shudder at the thought. It’s time we give these people the plaudits they so rightly deserve. This post is the first in our E2 Experts series, starting with the amazing Alex.
The teachers at E2Language care deeply about their students, which is why they love their jobs, and we care about them, right? But what do we know about them? Is it possible that under the white lights, behind the bright ideas, there lies a person just like you and me? Of course, there is! So let’s get to know them and find out what makes these pedagogical rockstars tick. We’ll learn some tips, insights and that, maybe, teachers are people too!
Alex has been with E2Language since 2018 and has brought with her almost 20 years of teaching experience, with 10 years as an IELTS examiner and invigilator. She does incredible work as the head of E2’s IELTS department but you may also recognize her from her many YouTube appearances! As E2’s Head of IELTS she, of course, juggles a range of responsibilities. From writing blogs (like this one on Writing Task 1) to featuring on podcasts, writing content and structuring the E2’s IELTS course, Alex really does it all.
Alex, admittedly, fell into the teaching profession by happenstance. While traveling, and without any prior experience, Alex began teaching English in Japan. With a background in professional writing and editing combined with a passion for grammar, a career in teaching was a natural fit!
I asked Alex a few questions about herself, her job and her students! Scroll down and see what she had to say!
Q. Why online learning? Why not teach in a traditional classroom?
I guess the main attraction to teaching online is the ability to be able to connect with and help students that I otherwise couldn’t have. Not everyone has the ability – or desire – to travel abroad and learn English. Online, we can reach thousands, if not millions of students. In terms of IELTS preparation, I know how much success in that test can change a person’s life so I wanted to be able to share what I know with more people than just the 10 or 20 in my classroom.
To be honest though, I was really nervous about making that move. In the traditional classroom, you can build up a rapport with the class and get to know them on a deep level, which helps when it comes to tailoring learning to their needs and helping them reach their goals. I was worried that in an online format, I wouldn’t have that kind of connection. So, I was really pleasantly surprised when I started at E2. We can actually connect and work with students in a very similar way to the traditional classroom. Students are always able to ask for help, to have their questions answered – and as teachers, we can support them just as we would face to face.
Q. Why do you think you can help students?
Every teacher brings something unique to their students. For me, I think I have a very practical nature which informs my teaching. I want my students to be active, not just sitting and listening to me talk at them for an hour! Having worked in test preparation and assessing for a long time, I feel I’ve also got a good eye for spotting a students’ weak areas and helping them to close those gaps in their knowledge.
Q. What do you find most frustrating about teaching?
I don’t get frustrated easily! But of course when a student misses their score, I share their frustration, especially if I felt that they should’ve done better. In terms of learning, when students waste their energy looking for shortcuts or getting distracted by conspiracy theories rather than doing the hard work of studying, that can be frustrating too.
Q. As a former examiner, what’s the best tip or piece of advice you can give to IELTS students?
My first tip, and this is something I tell all my students, would be to prioritise the improvement of your language level, not only your test-taking skills. Knowing how to skim and scan, for instance, is totally useless if you don’t have a strong foundation of grammar and vocabulary to help you understand the text you’re dealing with. If you’re serious about scoring a band 7 or 8 but you’ve been getting 5s, then this is a sign to work on your language skills more broadly. Luckily, this process can be fun, thanks to the huge array of material available online. Watch TED Talks which are available on YouTube, or check out E2school, E2Language’s new offering designed for those who want to brush up on their English fundamentals!
My next bit of advice would be to get help from someone who knows. I’ve seen so many people waste so much money taking the test over and over and getting the same scores. If you’re not achieving your band goal, there’s always a reason. Someone with IELTS teaching experience can help you discover the reason or reasons and, most importantly, help you to deal with it. In some cases, the problem may simply be a test-specific issue such as missing the overview in and IELTS Writing Task 1. In other cases, a teacher may identify particular gaps in your grammar or vocabulary knowledge that are preventing your success. Whatever the issue is, getting help from someone who really knows their stuff is the best step you can take.
Q. What do you love most about working at E2Language?
What I love about E2 is the energy that is always driving forwards. I work with an amazing team of teachers and writers who are constantly inventing ways to teach things more effectively, develop materials that impart knowledge better, and are always looking to leverage technology in innovative ways. Everyone is working for the students, striving to help them achieve their language goals. The E2 team is an inspiring bunch and I feel lucky to work in such a dynamic and ambitious company.
Wanna know more?
Want to know more IELTS pearls of wisdom, know what a 1:1 E2 Tutorial is like with Alex or just want to see more… Alex? Check out our video below. But remember, if you really want to engage with or learn from our E2 Experts, Like Alex, there’s only one way to do it. And that’s by heading over to E2Language and signing up today!
If you liked this post, let us know which teacher you’d like to see here next time and comment below!