Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel the country visiting schools and speaking to teachers? Laura Austin, an ELT Consultant for Oxford University Press in the United Kingdom and Ireland, gives an insight into her daily life.
Are you passionate about ELT and everything digital? Like meeting new people? Love to travel? If you’re not averse to hotel rooms, service stations, book bags, waiting rooms, sales reports… then this might be the role for you…
ELT Consultants are employed to visit schools on behalf of a publishing house. Directors of Studies are busy – there is a lot of ‘fire-fighting’ which takes place in a school environment – there’s a whole whirlwind of events which results in materials being left to the end of the agenda in the busiest of schools. Which is where we come in!
When a Consultant visits a school it gives staff the opportunity to sit back and analyse material. To think about what works and why; to give suggestions for the publisher and to explore various other opportunities. Now, how useful is that?
It’s a really exciting time to be meeting up with schools in the UK as many are on the digital bandwagon and are keen to explore new ways of exploiting new technology. It gives us, as Consultants, a double-edged role. Not only are we providing a service of promoting to customers on their very own doorsteps, but we are also helping to train teachers to feel at ease with new teaching tools.
I cover schools on the South Coast of England, as well as in Wales and Ireland. On average I visit between 12 and 15 schools a week. A visit can range from a ‘meeting’ with an academic board, to running a book display in a staff room or providing a teacher training event to groups. It’s extremely varied and most customers are more than happy to meet up and discuss resources.
Then there are a number of regional conferences where we run a stand, and often provide a well-known speaker. We have the opportunity to meet regular customers as well as to get to know new ones. These conferences become more enjoyable as time passes, as people become more familiar, and it’s a great opportunity to meet your entire customer base on one occasion – away from the all too familiar routine of the workplace.
The people you meet are generally really welcoming and interested in what’s new in the ‘book bag’. In fact, at a school in Hastings recently, I was given hot chocolate and an array of delicious chocolate biscuits, whilst we looked at the books in question. A great counterbalance to the hotel rooms, service stations, book bags, waiting rooms, sales reports…
Have you been visited by an ELT Consultant? How was it? Are there other services that we could provide to keep you up-to-date with new resources?