Global English graduate Nick Ponter has already chronicled his TESOL journey in Germany for us. But we’ve caught up with him again to ask about becoming a first-time author and the inspiration for his new book Connor Jackson and the Memory Thieves.
Hi Nick. Can you remind us about the kind of English teaching you are engaged in?
I have been teaching English to the B2B sector in Germany for thirteen years now. The main focus of my training is focusing on the real tasks of my students’ jobs and that mainly includes vocabulary building, practical tasks and self-confidence. I also teach business English at Bielefeld University and prepare students for an international exam at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
What made you decide to become an author and what inspired your first book?
I had previously never thought about writing a book, despite the saying that there is a book in everyone. It all started with a dream, which normally I never remember but this one remained. I thought it would be a cool idea to write about it and decided pretty much straight away that I would write a book, especially as the idea was quite new. After a lengthy planning phase, I realised I had the potential to write a series of books and planned four with titles and a rough plot. This remains today. I never intended to write as a hobby, always with the motivation to find a publisher and entertain a wide audience.
Sounds great but have you ever been inspired to write about your TEFL experiences?
A good question, and people have often asked me if I would do it. However, my book is a comedy fantasy novel and therefore the world of TEFL not quite compatible. I wouldn’t rule it out though as my fantasy world also includes the real world so I may be able to build an English teaching environment into one of the books.
You are still teaching. How supportive have your students been?
My students have been extremely supportive. I’ve taught some hundreds of people since I had the original idea back in 2013. Most of my students have followed my writing career from an idea, to writing, to finding a publisher and the book launch itself. In fact, I now do readings in the companies where I work and without my TEFL experience and the contacts made, this would never have happened. Some of my students are either reading my book or have already finished and I have received excellent feedback. It is also a book quite suitable for those with a reasonable command of English. For the English native speaking world, it can be categorised as teenager upwards. For learners of English it is suitable for young adults and adults alike. It contains no violence, no scary scenes, no swear words and written in a humorous English narrative tradition.
Any advice for anyone aspiring to be an author?
Be quite clear about why you are writing. Are you doing it just for fun and because you like writing? If yes, then enjoy the experience. If you are writing with the intention to publish to a wide audience then learn as much as you can regarding the publishing business, editing and submissions. The most important criteria in my opinion is to remain yourself in your writing style as it is authentic. I only write by hand then type afterwards and the reason for that is my style is exactly as I think, therefore authentic, leading to a pleasant story telling experience.
Finally, we have to ask…do you think Brexit will have any impact TESOL in Germany?
That is an impossible question to answer but a good one. Whilst the negotiations are ongoing, it is not possible to predict. However, English will remain a global language and the need for business, researchers, academia and private people to communicate in English will remain.
Thank you, Nick. We wish you every continuing success.
You can find out more about the book and Nick at: www.nickponter.com
There are currently no user comments for this article. Why not be the first? Simply complete the form below to add your comment to our site.
Which TEFL course is best for me? Read our handy guide now.
Employers - have you got a position to advertise on our website and through our fortnightly newsletter? Click here.
"For the past two years I have worked here in Tuscany teaching all levels. I have already recommended your courses to one of my prospective teachers..."
— Alison Salmon, English World, Italy