Hi, I’m Ellen and I’ve been a volunteer English teacher since July 2009. As a freelance researcher, writer and illustrator, I was able to use my flexible work schedule to my advantage and squeeze in some volunteer work. I literally stumbled across the ad for English teachers by accident, and minutes later I sent off the email: A day later I was teaching my first class, and haven’t looked back!

Of course, I didn’t know what to expect, and the idea of addressing a room full of people had me horrified. However, all nerves disappeared within minutes and after only a few teaching sessions did I realise how much I actually enjoyed it. Teaching my class for the last few months has turned into one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and – as much as I’ve helped my students come to grips with the English language – they’ve inspired me to learn some French, which is something I’ve always wanted to do, but never got round to…

On the journey from communication by means of pointing at words in a bilingual dictionary, drawing pictures on the board and acting out verbs (?!) to having meaningful conversations in English, my class and I have learnt a lot and laughed a lot, which is particularly important to me.

Apart from laughing, I like Patrick Holford books, cats, the music of Serj Tankian, being self-employed, Vespas, cooking, and living in Cape Town (in no particular order).

I don’t like people who do not dispose of cigarette butts correctly, weddings, politicians, escalators in shopping malls, people who throw tantrums, wasting time and telephones.


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