Kumara Nair runs the International Centre for English at Westminster International College (WIC). During his time at WIC, he has taught and supported hundreds of WIC students with the English language. Here, we find out a little more about Kumara.
LSC Connect: Hello Kumara, can you start by telling us a bit more about yourself?
Kumara: Hello, I am Kumara Nair and I have been with Westminster International College (WIC) since March 2007.
LSC Connect: How did you get into teaching?
Kumara: I started teaching by accident during my college days. I liked it as gave me some spare cash and I had to lead by example. I realized at that point of time that to help others you had to help yourself first. I had to have the knowledge and the discipline to stand in front of people and to engage them. But once I went into teaching wholesale, I realised that I needed to be a willing listener to get the support of the management, colleagues and my students.
LSC Connect: So what is your teaching philosophy?
Kumara: In front of students I am one among them. Age, gender, nationality or even educational levels do not matter. I look into what students need and tell them from day one what management expects me to do, what is expected of them and how we can work together to achieve the objectives collectively. It is a win-win situation and that is clearly highlighted. It is true that I am down to earth but I draw the lines to show them efficiency, accountability and transparency in their learning and my teaching of the English language. All these are possible in WIC because that is the WIC philosophy.
LSC Connect: That all sounds really positive. I’m just wondering if there are any challenges?
Kumara: The challenge at WIC is that we teach NOT students but countries! We have students from all over the world and we have to be sensitive to their every need. We are no longer the fountains of knowledge today. There are students who have done their homework and are always trying to be ahead of us. As such when they are jumping, we have to be leaping! The fear that creeps in could be: will I lose the passion, the competitiveness and the expertise that I have built over the years? It could also be the same fear that urges me to give my best at all times!
LSC Connect: You clearly are very passionate about what you do. Do you have any advice for less experienced colleagues?
Kumara: Newcomers to WIC need to be very engaging and hold the attention of the students during the discussions. They must maintain the expected disciplinary standards along with promoting positive behaviours by considering effective and efficient classroom skills. They should have incredible knowledge of the subject matter and be prepared to answer questions. They have to be good listeners and be neutral at all times. They have to accept the fact that our students are the shareholders. If all the above are packaged into one, then the newcomer will be able to stimulate effective study and work habits for our students. If our students feel that they are lucky and blessed to have them as their teachers then the newcomers will be able to adapt, adopt and accommodate at WIC.
LSC Connect: That is very sound advice indeed. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us. I am sure you will continue to make the International Centre for English at WIC the huge success that it is.