Teacher Q&A

Isabel Gonzalez Bueno

With over 30 years of teaching experience, Isabel has been involved in teacher training for 15 years. She is currently the Director of Studies at the Instituto ELT and works as a Teacher Trainer at the Universidad de Morón.

Find out what motivates her to keep teaching and how she overcomes challenges in the classroom in her Q&A.

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Who or what inspired you to teach?

My first English teacher, an Irish lady who transmitted the passion to learn and teach.

Why ELT?

Because English is the language the world speaks, it builds bridges and helps people from diverse cultures communicate.

What is the most memorable lesson you’ve ever taught?

One when I taught Shakespeare's sonnet N°116 "Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments ..."

What is the biggest challenge you’ve ever encountered whilst teaching, and how did you overcome it?

Keeping updated as far as technology is concerned and helping trainees in their practice. I've overcome the first one with lots of work in front of the computer screen and the second one with lots of empathy, understanding, patience and love.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

When I see that "I got it" look in my students' eyes and they are able to express their ideas in their own words.

Do you have any tried and trusted ideas or activities for motivating students?

All students are different, yet I think that trying to discover what they like and what their interests are and drawing out a lesson plan taking these into account works very well most of the time.

How do you ‘keep calm and carry on’ in the classroom – and relax when you get home?

I love teaching and enjoy every lesson to the fullest, and I always reflect upon my practice  when I go for a run at the end of the day.

How do you keep up-to-date with the ELT community and find new ideas to keep your teaching practise fresh?

I am a member of IATEFL, I attend workshops and talks, read blogs and participate in forums.

Do you have a favourite quote, mantra or philosophy to teach by?

1) "I am now a firm believer that quality learning requires learner consent, and really all you can do is provide the best conditions, opportunities and lots of enthusiasm for what you do" - John Longhram. Why? Because you need to show the people in front of you that you have a genuine interest in them and that you LOVE what you do.

2) "Never take anything for granted", because when you do, you will surely be wrong.

My top teaching tip:

Listen to your students, put yourself in their boots and be patient. You also need to always have a plan "B" up your sleeve.

My Desert Island Desk

  • Drink or snack: mate, a typical Argentinian kind of green tea
  • Music: Queen, Sting, Tchaikovsky
  • Book: The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker
  • Luxury item: My running shoes
  • Teaching tool: The Internet