I grew up in a country with 11 national languages. I’ve been studying a second language since I was a child. I’m not a polyglot or any such thing, but the experience taught me what it takes to reach higher levels of fluency, to write, read, and express myself in a second language. I’ve faced many of the difficulties that foreign language learners face as they try to move beyond intermediate level toward professional fluency.
I figured out early on what strategies worked for me and I used them when I started learning other languages. To date, I’ve studied Afrikaans, Spanish, and Portuguese to varying levels of fluency. I’ve had the opportunity to study language in a variety of settings (high school classroom, language school courses, university courses, distance learning courses, etc.) which has been invaluable to me as an English Foreign Language teacher.
I’ve taken the best of what each of these different teaching settings had to offer and used these strategies in my own teaching.
I was drawn to English teaching like most people are; I’d spent a few months in my GAP year working in Tenerife, Canary Islands where I began learning Spanish and caught the renowned travel bug. I went home to do my Social Science degree at university, but I wanted to travel afterwards. I studied Spanish and Portuguese and I earned my TEFL certification so I would be able to teach English abroad.
I’d never considered a career in English. I started working as a freelance English teacher with South Korean teenagers who had recently immigrated for extra money. The experience was extremely valuable and got me thinking about creative and personalised ways to get each individual to achieve their language goals. It made me a flexible teacher comfortable experimenting with different approaches.
This was a defining moment for me. I fell in love with my own language on a deeper level. I began to understand English on a structural level and to recognise its strengths and individualities.
I moved and started working at the British Council where I taught a wide range of learners studying English for a variety of reasons. I taught general and business English and tutored IELTS exam candidates with great success. I had the opportunity to experience teaching all levels from Beginner to Advanced. I particularly enjoyed helping the upper-level students take their English beyond the course books, sharing my passion for the language.
I’d found a place in English teaching where I wanted to focus: I wanted to help more advanced learners get a tighter grasp on English, to open a path to professional fluency and self-expression. I went back to freelancing and offered private tutoring. I started working with a client to perfect their professional report with a combination of copy-editing and coaching. It proved to be a wonderful experience that planted the seeds for the services I offer today.
At the same time, I worked as a freelance technical translator of environmental and social science reports from Portuguese to English for NGOs. I also proofread and copy-edited the organisations’ existing English reports and documents. I really enjoyed this work. Getting this close to language structure, meaning, and writing craft evoked a desire to write.
I started a blog. My goal was to practise writing, hone my craft, and learn as much as possible about the world of writing and publishing. I thought about going back to school for some kind of writing qualification but I decided, having been an avid reader all my life, that everything I needed to know could be learned from literature. And so, my blog became a book blog. This is when I changed from a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants reader to reading with purpose. (Read my Complete Guide to Reading with Purpose)
I realised that with purposeful reading, there’s nothing you can’t learn on your own. Self-education has become a huge part of my life. With the internet, we have access to people and resources that can provide us with everything we need if we are willing to be purposeful about our own learning.
I have fallen hard for content writing and digital publication. I love blogging. Like so many other creatives, the desire to share my work and connect with others is strong. It just so happens that to connect with the largest number of people possible, it’s necessary to write in the language that most people share – English.
All of this has led me to where I am now. I’m pulling everything I’ve learned together to offer guidance and support through my services (proofreading, copy-editing, and coaching) for non-native English professionals, writers, and creatives to develop their English skills through their own writing, to take their fluency and growth into their own hands, and have a polished piece of writing to share or publish.
If you feel we’d work well together or you just want to chat with me, send me an email.