I retired from active ESL teaching in 2014. Before that retirement, I had spent 32 years in the profession.
My last work was in a small, private academy in the North of Spain, working with a maths teacher, a French teacher and an elementary teacher. My work was a combination of helping kids with their school learning and teaching English as a Second Language.
Before that, I worked in a larger academy that had an emphasis on ESLfrom pre-schoolers to adults. We were between five and eight teachers at any time. We also worked with the local unemployment agency, giving special work-oriented language training to adults.
Before that, I spent several years in private practice, giving individual lessons, also in Spain.
Before that, I worked at an excellent ESL academy in New York City as a conversational coach (known then as “listening/speaking”).
Before that, I worked in small, New York City Language Agencies that offered private classes to visitors and mainly Japanese businessmen. These agencies are actually where I got my start as a teacher. “Teachers” were often just native speakers and often with no training in ESL. That was me.
I suffered. I didn’t know what I was doing. I thought I would like the job, being in control, telling students what to do, giving lessons and grading exercises.
A few months spent at the New York Public Library, reading everything they had on Applied Linguistics was the beginning of my “passion” for ESL. I filled notebooks with ideas, with thoughts, found the best textbooks from writers such as Grant Taylor, Charles Fries or Robert Lado.
This was the source of my own, personal, unique and not so unique approach to ESL in the classroom, which I continued to develop and practice for the following 32 years, and which I share with you here.