LSC Connect: Hi Krystal, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Krystal: I have been an English language teacher for over 12 years and can honestly, hand on my heart say that I love it! I have also worked behind the scenes in the EFL (English as a Foreign Language) industry yet, I never missed an opportunity to teach. I was born and brought up in Canada so English is my mother tongue. Consequently English is also my passion. The English language has been the most consistent aspect of my personality. From a very young age my love to read and write in English was evident. It started out as a hobby until one day my mother sent in a short passage I had written to a local newsletter in Canada and it got published. From then on I knew that English would be a part of my life forever.
LSC Connect: How did you come to work in LSC Malta?
Krystal: I heard about LSC Malta last year while at an international conference and that is when I became intrigued. It was however, Nadya Aquilina, Director of Studies at LSC Malta, who actually convinced me that working for LSC Malta would be a good fit for me. Nadya has been my mentor for many years, so when she ran me through the cohesive academic programme I instantly knew I wanted to become part of LSC Malta.
LSC Connect: What motivated you to teach and what continues to motivate you to teach?
Krystal: I am motivated to be the best teacher I can be because everyday I try to focus on helping make each and every student I teach, better than they were yesterday. Hence, I would have to say that – my students are my motivation!
LSC Connect: What’s your teaching philosophy and how do you help your students learn?
Krystal: I would like the student time spent in the classroom to be time spent not only improving their English skills but also expanding their horizons while growing into better people. I like to tell my students something that I once heard – “The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you” . This quote seems to motivate my students. Of course there are so many ways to help students learn whether it is in what I teach or by the discussions that we have in class. Keeping motivation high and simply showing students that I care in how I treat them, even when I see them in the halls at LSC Malta and ask them how they are makes a difference. I believe that students need to know that they matter and that alone extends motivation.
LSC Connect: Can you think of any challenges you face in teaching?
Krystal: It is actually proven that teaching is one of the most satisfying professions in the world. It is also known that teaching English as a second language presents unique challenges; so I think it is fair to say that being an EFL teacher in today’s world is an enormous challenge. It takes patience, passion, resilience, and a lot of commitment to keep students inspired to learn, but I strive to do this on a daily basis.
LSC Connect: What are your future plans?
Krystal: I am obsessed with planning every inch of my life however; the older I get the more I realise that when I make plans the universe laughs. So for my New Year’s resolution, I have decided to follow a course in Clinical Psychology while keeping the planning of my life to a minimum. I now want to take life day by day, therefore my new motto is: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow and learn as if you were to live forever”.
LSC Connect: That sounds like great advice to live life by. Do you have any advice for a teacher who is just starting out?
Krystal: Advice I would give to a novice teacher would be; not to shy away from looking to teachers with a wealth of experience. Because experienced teachers can support them and help them find suitable resources while tackling issues that might arise in class. This is something I like to share with teacher trainees and teachers who are just starting out – My KRIS rule:
- Know your students
- Remain organised
- Improvise when needed
- Set targets
Knowing more about your students and finding out who they are will help you to deliver lessons based on their needs. Every student in your class is different which means that they have different learning styles therefore, understanding how your students learn will make everyone’s life easier.
Remaining organised means saving time – if you are organised you will feel less stressed, you will have more time to focus on what really matters and above all you will be more motivated to teach.
Improvising in class and diverting from your lesson plan can sometimes be one of the few opportunities that we have to truly bring something new to the classroom. It also reminds us that listening and responding to students, as well as adapting to their needs, is by far more educational than obeying a rigid teaching plan.
Setting targets that your students can achieve can prove to be very satisfactory. It is important to always make sure that your students are aware of the set targets. And do not forget to also set personal targets. Attending CPD (Continuous Professional Development) sessions are important because as a teacher you are constantly growing and must keep abreast of new techniques. “Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will”.
LSC Connect: Krystal that is wonderfully sound advice and I am sure teachers starting out will find it very helpful. And no doubt, your students will be inspired to have such a dynamic and committed teacher like you. Thank you for chatting to us today.