The DOS’s view
“Let’s start at the beginning, a very good place to start”
Maria played by Julie Andrews, from The Sound of Music, 1965.
Malta has been a mecca of sorts for the average English language student for several decades now. Its favourable climate and diminutive size coupled with an enviable history and beautiful landscapes make it an attractive choice for any tourist. Add the fact that English is also one of the official languages of this island, and you’ve got a definite winner in the international English language teaching industry.
I’ve been in the EFL business for about 14 years. Starting out as just a summer teacher of unruly German teens while I was still a student myself at the University of Malta in 2000, I could have hardly imagined what lay ahead.
What started as a summer job quickly became a passion. I soon switched to teaching international classes of adults and discovered how great, and addictive, an EFL classroom can be. On any given week, I’d have classes with German, French, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and South American students of any age between 18 and 65.
They all had a common goal, that of learning to communicate with each other more effectively and I was their ‘guide on the side’.
My students frequently had wonderful stories about their lives, their countries and their experiences. Everyone had something quite unique to contribute and there was no better setting than a classroom with a curious audience.
After 5 years, I wanted to experience life abroad and moved away to Lisbon in Portugal, where I was to stay for 7 years. My classes in Lisbon were mostly mono-lingual but that was hardly a problem because I had dealt with various nationalities and different needs.
My experiences with my students in Malta up to that point proved to be an invaluable tool that I used myself as a foreigner, teaching English in a new land. I might have been their teacher of English but was definitely their student in what life was like away from my little island.
Please join me next time where I will talk about the EFL industry in Malta today and why this is a great place to start or continue your journey in learning the English language.