Meet CC English Teacher Skye Sieber: “If You’re New to Teaching, Be Patient with Yourself”

I live in Salt Lake City, Utah, and I currently work as a Grants Management Specialist for a federal agency. I like dancing, hiking, camping, and gardening. I first became acquainted with Intercambio’s curriculum and pronunciation guides when I began tutoring English for clients working with the International Rescue Committee in 2016. I heard about CC English through Intercambio’s email newsletter, and then started teaching in 2022.

Ever since serving as a Peace Corps volunteer many years ago, I’ve had a strong desire to continue learning about other cultures and volunteering both at home and abroad. As a native English speaker, I realized I have an inherent skill that I can help pass on to others who really want to learn. And I don’t have to leave the country to do that.

I really appreciate Intercambio’s training, resources, and networking opportunities provided to teachers. Access to teacher books with helpful notes, pronunciation guides and videos, presentation slides for those of us teaching online, audio files, email tips, and a consistent lesson format and approach to teaching are all very helpful.

If you’re new to teaching, be patient with yourself. Language is very multi-dimensional, so you can be creative and use whatever is easily accessible to help convey a new concept: gestures, drawing, props, tone of voice, music. Keep it fun, keep smiling, and always keep it relevant for your student. It’s helpful to find out what your student’s goals are for learning English at your first meeting. Keep that in the back of your mind so that when you’re having a conversation one day or planning a “field trip” session, you can ideally tie the practice back to their goals. I think we are more likely to retain new ideas and information when it is useful to our lives.

I’ve realized that learning English is not easy! There are patterns, but the language often deviates or breaks the rules. There are so many synonyms and multiple ways to say essentially the same thing. My time as a CC English teacher just reinforced that people are people—we all have likes and dislikes that may differ from ours, unique life experiences, families and influences, but the need to feel understood is universal.

Interested in teaching English online? Become a CC English teacher!

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