We asked Global English TESOL graduate Nick Ponter about his experiences teaching English in Germany. Find out which English lessons are most in demand and read his tips on making a success of living and teaching English in Germany.
Hi Nick, what was your background before TESOL?
22 years in the military, mainly in the field of human resources.
And since your TESOL course?
I work full-time as a business English trainer and run my own language school in Germany.
What do your German students want to learn?
My main focus is to teach practical skills required for people to do their jobs in the English language with a clear focus on oral skills and confidence building. A typical lesson can cover many different topics depending on the needs of the group/individual and the field of business. Examples are: tour of the company/production, product descriptions, technical English, telephoning, emailing, discussing current news articles, building vocabulary and general confidence building in oral English.
The focus is moving away from grammar based training to practical skills in the international business environment. Out goes the overkill on tenses and in comes the real practical skills required for the globalised market. Participants want to leave the training with the feeling that they have communicated intensively in English and learnt something for their jobs.
How has your TESOL course helped you in terms of finding work?
For me 100% because it was the stepping stone to my current work. We are under more and more pressure from companies to prove the qualifications of freelancers working for us.
How about the legal side of teaching English in German?
Legally it is not so difficult as long as you fulfil tax and social security obligations. An EU citizen can work in Germany without a problem. Most English trainers in Germany are freelancers and the system is quite simple.
Any other advice for those considering teaching English in Germany?
Yes. Learn German! While I agree lessons should only be in English, if you can speak their language then you have a better understanding of their problems. Also, as a business English trainer you will assist them in their jobs which will involve understanding Germany texts etc. A trainer also represents himself/herself or a company and needs to be able to communicate with the company on numerous issues.
Nick Ponter is a business English trainer based near Bielefeld, Germany.
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