Featured Image: Odysseus cremating the body of Elpenor (Theodoor van Thulden, c. 1630)

Thomas Brock, our resident travelling English teacher is reflecting on his work as an English tutor. This week he is talking about what keeps him motivated to keep working hard with his students. Read, learn some new vocabulary, and practise English!

Vocabulary List

Follow-up: a further action connected with something that happened before.

Worthwhile: useful, important, or good enough to be a suitable reward for the money or time spent or the effort made.

Classical literature: written texts belonging to or relating to the culture of ancient Rome and Greece.

Coincidentally: because of chance or luck.

Graduate : a person who has a first degree from a university or college.

Themes : a subject, concept, topic, or idea that is explored in art.

Tricky : difficult to deal with and needs careful attention or skill.

Terminology : special words or expressions used in relation to a particular subject or activity.

I Love My Job

Hi all, Thomas here.

As a follow-up from last week, this week I wanted to tell you about something that made me feel very good. As I mentioned last week, something that motivates me is my students, and this week I’m writing about my recent lessons with one of them.

English learners often ask me for advice on how to find the right English teacher. One of the things that I repeat time and time again, is to look for someone who fits you as a learner. What I mean by this, is to find someone with who you can feel comfortable, and can give you what you want and what you need. 

What you want and what you need, as an English learner, depend on a number of things. Your reasons, motivations, goals, ability are all important factors here, but so are your interests, your passions, your character your personality. If you want to find a long term English teacher, find one you like.

I certainly do like all my students, but this is not enough. 

What really makes our lessons worthwhile, is that I, as a private tutor, can provide the kind of teaching that suits my students. So, what does that mean?

Well, let’s take an example.

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One of my students, who will of course remain unnamed, has an interest in classical literature. They read Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey in their youth and grew up reading Greek myths and Drama. Coincidentally, I am a Classics graduate and qualified Classics teacher. How convenient.

And so, as a way to practice English, my student retold the ancient myths and legends in our classes, while I provided feedback and comments to improve and develop. We talked about themes and characters, translated tricky vocabulary, and discussed the relevance of these texts in the modern world.

With our shared interest in the topic, and my own knowledge of Ancient Greek terminology and literary tradition, our lessons become incredibly fun and valuable to both student and teacher.

This is a huge part of why I love my job.

And the best part is that each lesson is different. Each student brings a new learning adventure, and even each lesson with the same student brings a new activity and experience. 

I encourage all of my students to challenge themselves, and I myself am also in need of a challenge. These lessons can be challenging for me. How do I help someone improve when they are already able to discuss these kinds of difficult topics? 

Well, so far so good.

Until next time,


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By Thomas Brock

Hi I'm Thomas and I'm an English language teacher and editor. I teach English to adults from all over the world. I focus on written English and on conversational English. I also edit written English in a number of different fields and areas. When I'm not teaching I'm travelling as much as I can, cooking new dishes, and trying hard to play and watch sports.

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