My name is Oliver. I am originally from London, England. I studied at Warwick University from 2010 to 2014 as a German & History student. In this degree I spent an Erasmus Year in Berlin, a city that opened my eyes to the world!
My career as an English language teacher
As a linguist I’ve always had the passion to teach foreign nationals my mother tongue, just as I had learnt German at university from native speakers. On returning from Berlin in autumn 2013 I completed an online TEFL course. This gave me the opportunity to teach international students on various online platforms. When I discovered through Lucullus Language School the opportunity to teach English abroad, I was determined to make the grade!
Why I chose Lucullus Language School
I was told about the advertised post on the Warwick University website by a friend of mine who knew of my enthusiasm for all things Russian – history, culture and even Russian language! Whilst Olga Vasilyeva, my interviewer and future boss, explained to me that knowledge of Russian was no prerequisite for the position, my passion for language learning and teaching helped to secure the position in Moscow.
How I found the transition to Moscow
As a former Erasmus student in Berlin I had no concerns about living abroad. The ostensibly bureaucratic and long-winded process of relocating that I discovered upon my arrival in Berlin was nonetheless made considerably less stressful in Moscow by Olga’s kind and hospitable nature in securing accommodation for me in the city. It turned out that one of the school’s English teachers – a Russian woman called Katya – and her boyfriend, Vadim, had a spare room in their flat. I was thrilled at the prospect of living with Russians. Thanks to Katya’s being an English teacher there was never any breakdown in communication. Living together was understandably a great opportunity for my Russian language skills to develop, but it was nonetheless reassuring to know that Katya and I had a second language to communicate in if necessary! Katya and Vadim became my very good friends, whom I shall visit very often in the future.
Working at Lucullus
As a private English language tutor I worked with individual Russian school pupils taking IGCSE examinations for entry into British sixth-forms or 11+ exams for entry into international schools. These students and pupils would come into the office for their tuition. Whenever I came into the office to work, I was always greeted with a smile by the office administrators, Elena and Maria. Elena even made coffee for me every time! Even when I was working out of the office (usually via Skype) Elena and Maria were always available if I had any questions that needed to be answered. The whole team at Lucullus is full of friendly faces, whom I also plan to visit by popping into the office upon my next trip to Moscow!
My teaching philosophy
For me, building rapport with a student is the most important aspect of teaching. If the student feels comfortable in your company, they will speak more confidently. Just as I was greeted every day with a smile at Lucullus, a teacher must have a personality and an understanding nature that shines through in the way they build a relationship with the student. Every student is equally an individual, and so adapting your teaching style and methods to the individual student’s needs is equally essential. My favourite tutors and teachers at university and in school were those whose personalities shone through. I apply this motto to my own teaching. At the end of both years spent at Lucullus, I was always very pleased to hear about the success of my students in their examinations.