Since an early age I have been fascinated by languages and how they open up new worlds and cultures to the language learner. Originally planning to become a translator, I studied French and Spanish to degree level, but found that I was often better translating into the other language than into English, which didn’t bode well for a career in translating.
I was lucky enough to spend my third year abroad teaching as the Language Assistant at the Official State Language School in Cadiz. I thoroughly enjoyed my year and was encouraged to explore methodology in depth and to experiment by my colleague and friend Vicky Samaniego. I returned to Leeds University enthused with the teaching of English and after graduating, enrolled in a CELTA course (or RSA CTEFLA as it was then known) at International House Newcastle.
Little did I know it, but I was about to embark on a long and fruitful journey into ELT. Ih were then actively recruiting teachers for their Polish schools and I thought it would give me useful experience in knowing what my beginners’ classes were going through. The weekly input sessions encouraged me to develop my teaching and over the years I went from being a trainee on the YL Extension and DELTA courses to becoming a CELTYL and CELTA tutor, supported all the while by my tutors Rachael Roberts and Jon Butt.
Back in the UK I worked in an FE college for a year, teaching mainly FCE and IELTS to adults , but then made a move into the world of publishing when I started work at Cambridge English as the Subject Officer for the Cambridge Young Learners English (YLE) Tests. I was part of the team that conducted the 2007 review of the tests, analysing popular course materials in an attempt to make the tests more relevant to the digital generation.
In 2008 I moved to Macmillan Publishers where I was the Commissioning Editor for Primary materials, first in the Spain group, then in the International Group. I learnt a huge amount about how to publish effective and attractive materials whilst at Macmillan and count Footprints, Way Ahead Tests, Grammar Goals and YLE Skills as my main achievements. Since leaving Macmillan I have become a freelance ELT writer and editor of Primary and occasionally Secondary materials. I work for multiple clients such as CUP, Macmillan, Pearson and Young Digital Planet so every day is different. I have recently become the project lead on a project to produce can-do statements for Young learners and am enjoying the challenges it brings. I am passionate about producing meaningful, motivating and enjoyable materials for children and teenagers learning English and hope to give you an insight into this through my blog. It’s the first time I have written a blog so I am really excited to be doing this.