Susan McCole was born in England but moved to Tipperary when she was six. She has been teaching at City Language School for almost four years and is extremely popular with students. A few weeks ago we sat down with her to chat about her love of teaching, lifelong learning and trips to the cinema.
How did you get into teaching?
Originally I did it as a volunteer. I was actually a software engineer. I worked for Microsoft for fifteen years here in Dublin. So just through friends someone suggested going to Spain to teach English and I loved it. I volunteered a few times in Spain and in Germany. It was usually business people who wanted to improve their English and they’d pay for your accommodation. It was like a holiday with a bit of work.
Later on I needed a career change and I thought to myself I’m pretty good at teaching so I thought I’d give it a go. I took the plunge and decided to become an English Language teacher four years ago and I have been teaching English in Dublin ever since.
Why do you like teaching?
It’s great craic. The students are amazing; the stuff they come out with. It’s about opening minds as well and about helping people to get a different perspective. I particularly like the mixture of students; the different nationalities and backgrounds. Then there’s the ‘aha’ moment or if you’ve taught Brazilians for long enough it’s the ‘a-ta’. If you get ‘a-ta’ you know you are getting somewhere. They are learning or they’re having a light-bulb moment and you get the chills. That’s great and the most rewarding thing about teaching.
What are the best things about the school?
Teaching English in Dublin, right in the centre, is great. It’s handy for everything. Also being in this location means you can look out the window and see real life; buses going past, construction works, people standing outside smoking. Trinity College is close, Temple Bar is close so you can use the landmarks in the area as references for your class and it gets students to engage. So it’s a fantastic place to be. It’s great for the present continuous for example. What’s happening?
Do you like Dublin?
Dublin is great because it’s small and it’s very cosy. You can walk pretty much everywhere. I often wonder do the non-Irish think we walk incredibly fast. The cosmopolitan nature of the city is great and the fact that if you know where to look, you can find things from home which is very important for students who are away from home.
What’s the best thing about teaching?
The best thing about teaching is learning. Before I taught, I had no idea how to put structures on things. So since I started teaching I’d say it’s the number one thing that I have developed as well as a passion for lifelong learning.
What do you do in your spare time?
I live in Dundrum and the cinema is not far from at all. I go there at least once a week. I love movies. I speak Spanish and I love learning it. Every now and then I go to classes to keep it up but it’s also good to be a student and to see what it’s like from the other side.
Susan uses some terms that you might find difficult to understand. Here is a short glossary…
give it a go – try something
took the plunge – started something new
craic – fun
the stuff they come out with – the (funny/interesting) things they say
lightbulb moments – a moment when someone understands something
get the chills – get excited\\scared
handy – useful/easy
landmarks – famous buildings/monuments
incredibly fast – very fast
keep it up – practise it and maintain it