Neil Davison from Scotland has been teaching English for over twelve years. He is a qualified Cambridge examiner and is currently completing his Master’s Degree in Linguistics. Earlier this week, we caught up with him after class and had a quick chat about his work at City Language School, his life in Ireland and his love of teaching.
Where are you from in Scotland?
I usually say I’m from Edinburgh because I’m from a place near there that nobody has ever heard of. It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere.
Why and how did you get into teaching?
I used to work with computers and I was fed up. I was sat behind the same computer screen for four years and I’d had enough. I wanted to get out of the office and see a bit of the world. I wanted to interact with people.
So did you see a lot of the world?
Well the first job I got was in Russia and I ended up going over there and meeting my wife there. I was in Russia for ten years and then I came to Ireland and I have been teaching in this English Language School in Dublin since then.
What is it that you like so much about teaching?
You can help people. You can really help to change people’s lives. I know it sounds really corny but you really can change their lives. You can see that it’s making an impact on them and it’s making a change for the positive. It’s quite heart-warming. It’s rewarding and you’ve always got to keep that in mind because it’s a great motivator.
My default setting in the classroom is speaking, communication. The grammar does come in there of course and I do like to make sure it’s correct. I spend the time on it but my classes don’t revolve around it as such.
Do you like Dublin?
Well I actually live in what’s called Fingal, north Dublin. What I like about being up there is that you have access to the city if you need it but you’ve got the beaches and the countryside where I am and it’s great. I came here after ten years in Moscow where I’d spend four hours a day on the Metro standing face to face with people. So it’s just a slower pace of life here. So I imagine if you’re coming from a big city, Dublin is going to be nice and quiet for you; a breath of fresh air.
What’s the best thing about the English language?
It’s the possibilities that it opens up for you. If you learn certain languages you are kind of invested in the culture around that particular language. English doesn’t really have that baggage. It belongs to the whole world and so it gives you access to it.