In these posts, I want to share the stories of my past students and clients. I’m very proud of their accomplishments, and I think their successes reflect my skills as a teacher and coach. I hope these stories will paint a clearer picture of my goals for Artglish and how I can help others to succeed in reaching their dreams.
Who is this story about?
Today, I want to share a story about a student with the nickname Lulu. Although I usually taught English to graduate students when I worked at AAU, sometimes we would combine small classes and I would get undergrads as well. Lulu was one of my younger undergrads. She was very talented at drawing but painfully shy.
What was the problem?
For the first week of class, Lulu was so shy that she wouldn’t speak at all. When I tried to encourage her to say something to show she understood me, she would only whisper. This was in a class of five students, so it wasn’t exactly a big crowd. I’ve had a lot of beginner-level students and a lot of shy students over the years, but she’s the only one I’ve ever had that whispered.
How did I help?
I always take some time at the beginning of a new class to build a strong community and a low-risk environment for my students and clients. It’s really important that they feel safe in the learning space and know that it’s ok to make mistakes. This is especially true with beginner-level students because they often lack the confidence they need to speak comfortably.
The first week of Lulu’s class we did a lot of fun activities to help the students get to know each other and to build trust. I use games, humor, and group work to help the students form a community that they feel comfortable in right away. I try to project a friendly, fun attitude and share a lot of details about my life to help them feel comfortable with me as well.
Slowly, as the weeks passed, Lulu got over her shyness and began speaking in class. She actually had a lot to say once she stopped whispering! The other students were very encouraging and supportive of her, which helped a lot.
At the end of the semester, all the classes in our intensive English program had a combined ceremony to celebrate our successes. Each class chose a student to give a speech to the group, and our class chose Lulu! I was a little worried about her and whether she would get nervous speaking in front of so many students and teachers. She nailed it! (This is an idiom that means she did really well.) I was so proud of her speaking confidence, and so were her classmates!
I want to help you too!
If you are looking for this kind of help, I’m happy to work with you too! I’ve coached clients in different areas of art and design who have trouble expressing their ideas or opinions in meetings or in the classroom. I can teach you many strategies to help you succeed and I’m happy to practice with you until you feel you can say what you want with confidence.
If you’d like more tips on how to become a better speaker, you can download my free guide: How to speak with confidence (10 tips for non-native English speakers). If you want to know more about working with an English language coach, you can take a look at the Learn page or schedule a free trial lesson so we can talk about what you need and how I can help!