The key to academic support lies not in the programme to be delivered but in the people who have been charged with the responsibility of delivering it. Regardless of how sound that programme may be, its success is entirely dependent upon the individuals who have been selected to carry it out. At Language Link, these ‘individuals’ are referred to as academic managers and carry such job titles as Head Academic Department, Methodologists, Senior Director of Studies, Director of Studies and assistant Director of Studies.
Given the importance of selecting the right people for these positions, the question may rightfully be asked, ‘What criteria does Language Link employ when choosing its academic managers.’ Contrary to popular belief, education, degrees, and diplomas carry less weight in this decision than do a readiness, willingness AND ability to assist teachers with their academic needs and issues. Obviously being ‘ready and willing’, though commendable, is of little value without that third ingredient ‘ability’, and conversely, ‘ability’ without a desire to help is of similar i.e. little value.
At Language Link, all our academic mangers have withstood the test of time. They have not just demonstrated but proven their desire and ability to render appropriate and meaningful academic assistance to the teaching staff for whom they have been charged with helping to meet the demands of a modern TEFL classroom.
Academics aside, all academic managers employed by Language Link Russia have lived in the country for a minimum of three years and have a firm grasp of the cultural issues that will confront our new teaching staff here in the largest country on earth. Without exception, all can be counted upon to help our new teachers to understand the Russian culture, to meet the challenges presented by living in a new and unfamiliar country and to adapt to its idiosyncrasies where such exists.
Position:Assistant Director of Studies, Moscow
Educational History:BA French and German; TEFL Express certificate; TEFL certificate
Start date at Language Link:September 2013
Hi, I'm Katie! I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, but Baltimore is where I call home. I discovered that I loved languages through my first year French course in high school and I followed that love to university where I majored in French with a German minor. In addition to these languages, I also dabbled in Spanish, Hindi, and Welsh before discovering the Russian language, which I found to be as beautiful as it is difficult. I studied Russian for 2 years on my own, then decided to come to Russia to practice with native speakers. Teaching seemed to be the obvious choice for coming here as I had already had some experience substitute teaching at a school for autistic children and tutoring students in French in my university years.
I found Language Link and headed to Moscow, never having been here before. It was a bit daunting, but the training program at Language Link helped me adjust to my new job and the new people I met were an invaluable resource for assistance, advice, and commiseration over some of the quirks of life in Russia. As "just one year, Mom, I promise" turned into two years, turned into more years......it is a decision I have never regretted! Every day offers new discoveries and puzzles and I get to spend my time with some of the best friends I've ever had in one of the most beautiful, exciting, and challenging cities I've ever been to. I get to explore and appreciate my own native language through teaching and share my passion for language learning with my students.
My interests include video games, knitting, crafts of all kinds, psycholinguistics, reading all the non-fiction,watching all the documentaries, and appreciating British television comedy in a scholarly fashion. I can be found playing Dungeons and Dragons with my friends nearly every Sunday. My favorite thing about language is grammar and I don't believe that learning it can't be fun! I pride myself on my silly, entertaining, yet engaging and informative lessons and my ability to draw animals on the board (seriously, if you need to have a slow loris drawn on the board, I'm your girl).
For me, teaching English here is so much more than transferring knowledge from a book to my students. It's a way to connect on a personal level with people of many different ages and backgrounds and share my culture and language with them as I learn about theirs. I get the opportunity to use my creativity to invent new games and materials tailored to my students' individual needs and make each lesson valuable. I can honestly say I have a fun job and I look forward to sharing the experience with you!