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  • Ilinca Stroe

More than Teachers at IH: Iulia, Romanian & English Trainer

1. Can you sum up in a paragraph how you’ve come to be a teacher?

I think our childhood experiences influence a lot our future choice of profession. I first experienced being a teacher when I was about 8, and my father and his friend were my first students. With a jacket on my shoulders and my mother’s high heels, I was playing the “school game”, testing the two. Twelve years later, I was on my summer holiday after finishing my first year at the University of Bucharest, and I was called to a job interview for a position of teacher of Romanian to expats. Having gone through all the stages, I was selected on the International House teaching team, and special training sessions followed, designed to make us acquire and then improve our teaching-to-adults methodology. Initially, I worked and studied as an undergraduate of the Faculty of Letters and then an MA student at the Academy of Economic Studies. After graduation, I started working full time as a Romanian teacher (for adults and children) as well as an English teacher (for adults, in general), and this is my ninth year on the IH team.

2. Briefly portray a teacher who was your role model.

All the teachers I have had in time, contributed to my way of being and teaching. When I teach English and write something, I remember my primary school English teacher, because my handwriting resembles hers. Also, I’m grateful to my high school Romanian teacher for her teaching style, which has always been useful to me. In our Romanian classes we were encouraged to sift everything through the filter of our own mind and share our opinions about various topics, instead of literary commentaries learned by rote.

3. Who’s your favourite student? Explain a bit why.

All my students are my favourite students, equally! Each person is unique and from each student I’ve had a lot to learn. I know it will always be like this, this is actually one of the main reasons why I chose to have this profession.

4. What language point/s do you like teaching? Why?

I like teaching both grammar and vocabulary. I like it best when students ask me questions which are sometimes really not related to the topic of the lesson, and I manage to redesign the lesson in order to answer them that moment, based on that new information which has to be included.

5. What’s your favourite word or phrase in the language you teach? Why?

“Minunat”, because of its musicality and its meanings, and in English – “butterfly”, first of all because of the unusual combination of words which make it up.

6. What’s your favourite proverb/saying in the language you teach? What does it mean to you?

“Facts are fruits, words are leaves” is one of my favourite saying in Romanian, because it always reminds me that we always have to turn words into deeds (good and beautiful!!!). “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” is my favourite in English, as it always gives me the strength to start something which looks difficult.

7. At EKA, the junior unit of IH, we have the slogan, “we teach more than English”. In a similar key, we can often say that at IH we have “more than teachers”. What makes you “more than a teacher”? What other projects/hobbies/interests complete your profile?

Since we stress practical aspects and communication in language teaching, I think I can consider myself more than a language teacher. I include cultural aspects on my courses, which can be extremely useful for the integration of my expat students in Romania: we analyse sayings and proverbs, we listen to music, watch films.

I spend my free time taking long walks, travelling around the country or abroad, going to the theatre or concerts, or doing yoga. For the past three years I’ve also been a volunteer with an association which helps women who have experienced breast cancer.

8. Please tell a prospective student, in two or three lines, why they should enrol on your language course at IH.

Since I’ve kept mentioning proverbs, I want to show my students the advantages of learning a new language via a Czech proverb which says, “You live a new life with every new language you know. If you know only one language, you only live once.” And then I can assure them that the learning process will be a pleasant and interesting one.

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