Nicola Fox, ELT Consultant for OUP Germany & Austria, talks to Rebecca Turner, one of the authors of Business Result.
What do you wish you had known before you started teaching Business English?
You don’t need to be an expert in every field, but you do need to do your homework! Straight after my CTELFA course at the very beginning of my career I found myself teaching business English and I haven’t looked back. However it was extremely daunting – I was younger than all the students I was teaching (23 years old!) and inexperienced not only in teaching but in business.
I had a few “in at the deep end” moments going with companies – mostly banks – on residential seminars along with a very supportive DoS who knew the ropes. This was a steep learning curve but great fun. Often I felt out of my depth with the business side of things but due to a sincere interest in my students and their work I learnt a lot in a very short space of time.
What’s your best English teaching tip?
This is a very basic one but listen to your students! In my experience a lot of misunderstandings are due to student and teacher talking at cross-purposes.
What book or person has influenced your career?
2 people & 1 book! I really owe it to two people to have got to where I am in my career. The first has to be Vicki Hollett who was my tutor/mentor on a diploma course I took. She supervised me through my project I had to complete for the assessment and motivated me into producing my own materials. These materials were noticed at the BESIG conference and that’s where my other role model comes in.
Charlie La Fond was my boss when I was his DoS at Business Language Center in Vienna for eight years. He encouraged me to attend the conference every year with the incentive that if I presented, he’d cover the cost of my trip! This more or less forced me into presenting regularly at the BESIG conference which not only led to my materials being noticed, but also gave me first-hand experience in doing presentations – something I’d been making my students do for many years, but hadn’t actually done myself!