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1. Your name
Mark Smith
2. Where were you born?
Washington, DC., USA
3. What is your educational background?
I earned a Bachelor Degree from an American university in California. I earned my
Bachelor of Arts degree in Film and Electronic Arts from California State University located in
Long Beach, USA. I al so have special training for teaching English to ESL students.
4. Do you have any ESL certificates?
I have completed a 160 hour TEFL Training Program at the American Language Institute, which
earned me the TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Specialist certificate.
5. Why and when did you decide to make TESL your career?
It is in my nature to teach and I have always found myself teaching things to people since I
was a child. This is the reason I decided to make TESL my lifetime career. My students have
often told me they like the way I teach and it is satisfying for me to know my students enjoy
my classes. Many times I have also been told that I have a teachers personality because I am
patient and expressive. This part of my personality has been nurtured and encouraged by my
family. Both my parents and my 2 brothers are also teachers, so I come from a family of
6. Describe the process you use to teach and your teaching experience?
I will explain the process I use to teach starting from the moment I first I meet my student
going forward. First I assess his or her skill level, learning needs, goals, and preferences. I
determine the attitude and learning styles of each student and exam his or her instructional
constraints. Then I design curriculum to match, select suitable learning materials and plan our
lessons. I create an effective language learning program considering my students strengths,
weaknesses, and personal learning style. I also construct an effective method of how the
student's language learning progress will be assessed, evaluated, and rewarded. Then, I guide
my students through all of his or her language learning exercises, and appropriately adjusting
the students learning program as we go to match his or her progressively improving English
Over the past 8 years I have taught many ESL students both online and offline. I have helped
my students improve their vocabulary, pronunciation, listening, reading, writing, idioms and
how to communicate in everyday situations. I have prepared students for IELTS, TOEIC, TOEFL,
and the SATs. I have taught thousands of students since I began teaching in 2006.
7. What jobs had you done before you started teaching English?
Before I became a teaching professional I was a swimming instructor at my local country club
swimming pool. I taught children how to swim.
8. What do you know about modern approaches to teaching English? (in brief)
Im somewhat familiar with, and I have some knowledge of: Inductive Approach, Analytical
Grammar-Translation Method, The Direct Reading Technique, Audio-Lingual System, OralSituational Tactics, Cognitive Approach, Affective-Humanistic Process, Comprehension-Based
Methodology, Communicative Approach, and English for Specific Purposes.
9. What course books have you used in your teaching practice?
I have used at least 25 different course books; 2 of my favorite are Headway, published by
Oxford University Press and Reward, published by McMillan Publisher Limited.

10. What is the main difficulty youve faced while working as a teacher?
Of course I have run into difficulties over the past 8 years teaching English online. One
difficulty I used to have was getting my students to do their homework. In order to solve this
problem I created a game to help motivate my students. The game is called Homework
Lottery and works like this: any student who does his or her homework 10 days in a row will
have his or her name written on a list anyone can see on my website. If this same student
does his or her homework 20 days in a row, his or her name is recorded on the list an
additional 2 more times. If this same student does his or her homework 30 days in a row, the
students name is recorded on the list 3 more times. In other words, if a student does his or
her homework 30 days in a row, then the student will have his or her name put on the list 6
times, because (1 + 2 + 3 = 6). At the end of the month all the names are entered into the
random name picker, it randomly selects one of the names entered. The students with their
name entered more times are more likely to be selected. The person whose name is selected
by the random name picker has his or her name listed as the winner and wins a prize
(sometimes the prize a very favorable report to the students parents). Since I introduced this
game, the number of students doing their homework consistently has greatly improved! Over
the years I have learned to use encouragement and positive reinforcement to keep my
students focused and motivated to learn English.
11. What do you like most about teaching?
One of the things I like best about teaching is the expressions on my students faces when
they see themselves improving.
People have always told me I am resourceful and creative; this might be why I am often
successful at creating class activities that are entertaining, exciting, interactive learning
experiences. I love the challenges teaching presents. For example, trying to create and
present great lessons that also keep my students amused as they learn. I like teaching
because it is in my nature to teach. I have always found myself teaching things to people ever
since I was a child, it comes naturally to me. I like teaching because my students often tell
me they really enjoy my classes, and it is very satisfying for me to know my students enjoy
my classes.
12. How would you help a student who feels uncomfortable speaking English?
I have taught students from many countries around the world, they come from d i ff e r e n t
backgrounds, and various levels in society. I have taught students with a wide range of
personalities, and varying levels of English ability.
Last year I was teaching a class in my classroom, so this class was not online. I had a student
who felt extremely uncomfortable speaking in English, so I had the entire class learn a short
entertaining play, each student had his or her lines to understand and memorize. Then the
whole class acted out the short play, at first alone by himself or herself, next they acted out
their parts individually in front of me, then the entire class acted out the whole play altogether
without being watched by anyone but me. Finally, the class acted out the entire play in front
of an audience made up of their friends and family.
13. Would you call yourself a creative teacher? Why?
I have often been told I am a creative teacher. I can make a lesson from whatever is available
to me; I do not really need a textbook.
It has always been important to me that my students enjoy learning in my class, so I like to
use my creativity to create class activities that are as entertaining as they are effective. They
may involve multimedia, visual aids, music lyrics, role-playing and other kinds of games.
Here is an example of an entertaining multimedia activity I created. First, I teach my students
specific vocabulary from a short video clip. Then I show the short video clip in class. Few
things are as exhilarating and as motivating for students, as watching a video in a foreign
language, and realizing that they suddenly understand it. Then, I have them try to remember
all the words we learned and use them in sentences that they create.