Sharing Your Teacher’s Life
When it comes to learning a language, there are few experiences more rewarding than an immersion experience. With some immersion experiences, such as ours, the student can actually come and live with the teachers for a specified period of time. As total immersion language learning experiences go, living with your teacher has to be one of the best. Not only are you dropped into a full language experience, you are also surrounded by the culture, social life and even the petty goings-on of an English, Scottish, US etc. household – you become part of the life in that house for the period that you are there. You need to be prepared for this – you will have to share your teacher’s life for the duration of your stay.
The great advantage of doing this is that you have, on tap, your own ‘language expert’, not only to teach you, but also as a resource for all your questions and uncertainties. Having students come and live and study in your home is no mean undertaking for either the student or the teacher, but with some careful planning and a lot of give and take, the experience can be very rewarding for both.
Far from being mundane, you can find yourself involved in some interesting events that give you extra chances to practise and learn! A student of mine recently joined us at the family celebration of my mother-in-law’s 90th birthday! It was a formal, private party in a restaurant in Tunbridge Wells (she was staying with me in Yorkshire) and it gave her the chance to speak with a lot of native speakers (there were over 60 people) and see another part of England. These kinds of occasions provide authentic opportunities for you to use the skills you are developing in your course. They can be challenging but they are also very valuable.
These experiences are the things that make language learning really come alive for you, and when you come to stay with us at Fleetham Lodge, we will choose adventures that will give you a taste of Northeast England, and also ones that you, specifically, will enjoy (because we find out a lot about you and your interests before you arrive!). In the past we have taken our students to plays, pantomimes, haunted hayrides, and Christmas festivals. We have immersion experiences that focus on favourite hobbies such as walking, golfing, and cycling. During our Quintessentially English immersion experience, we do a little bit of everything, we visit some of the beautiful and historic country houses and gardens in the area, local countryside places, a city visit, the theatre or cinema or any seasonal events such as the Great Yorkshire Show if you are here in the summer, or a local food fayre. During our special English Immersion Courses for Teenagers, we tailor the activities around the students, but normally they involve a mix of sports, visits to local historical places, cinema trips and visits to local cities like York or Newcastle.
The beauty of all of these types of activities is that they give you the student the opportunity to immerse yourself fully in the language and the culture. It may seem a bit intimidating at first, but you will see that once you are here and in it you will lose that bit of anxiety that you may have now and just be in the moment and enjoy yourself. You may think that it would be impossible to manage in such situations but in fact the very fact of it being a real situation and not a classroom exercise helps you to function. The results will be that you will make great strides in English, and learn some things that you wouldn’t have discovered any other way. The people who are asking you questions about your country, job, family etc. really do want to know, they are not just role-playing – this is it for real!!
Whatever time of year you choose to come, there are tons of exciting places and activities to enjoy in addition to the high-quality language lessons you will do with us. I love sharing our local area, customs, and celebrations with you.
So how do we manage time on these courses?
Let me give you a run-down of a typical day with my students. Other teachers may do this differently but you can expect a mix of formal lessons, social time and planned activities on most immersion courses done in a teacher’s home.
- The day begins with breakfast – which for my students is cereal, bread, sometimes eggs. We have this around 8.30.
- Lessons start at 9.30 and go through to 12.45 with a coffee break in the middle.
- Lunch at 1.00: soup, sandwiches, salad – sometimes students ask to prepare something – I love this!
- Some afternoons we go out, others are spent studying tasks I have assigned or students have chosen. Some of my students need to connect with their offices in the afternoons (it breaks the immersion – but if it’s necessary this can be the time to do it).
- We meet again around 4.30 for another hour’s lesson or to chat over a cup of tea and maybe some homemade cake or biscuits!
- Most students then like to have some personal time to watch TV or relax – I can prepare dinner.
- After dinner (8 – 9 ish) some students want to retire to their rooms, others want to watch TV – we usually have a couple of movie nights together!
- Then we start again!
Weekends are a mix of organised trips or free time where students are welcome to hang around the house, go out for walks or catch the bus to the local town.
Who do these courses suit?
Of course, this is not for everybody. Some people would run a mile at the thought of living in someone else’s home! That is fine. If you are looking for somewhere to learn a lot of English in a short time, want to find out a bit about the culture in the UK, don’t mind joining in family life, don’t necessarily need an en-suite bathroom (although all our rooms have their own private bathroom) and are happy to be flexible and adaptable, then this should suit you well. If you are none of these, then you may want to consider carefully whether this type of course would work for you.
If you decide to go for it, then you will enjoy the experience of a lifetime, and come away from it feeling far more comfortable speaking English than you ever were before!
Some tips to get the most out of your stay
- Just as your teacher will respect your privacy, you should respect theirs and that of the other members of the family.
- They are your personal English resource for the duration of your stay but if you wear them out they won’t be any good to you, so be sensitive to the teacher’s need for personal time.
- Most teachers want you to be involved with all the activities of the family while you stay with them. Embrace this chance as it gives you real situations in which to use and develop your English, but don’t be shy about refusing if you really don’t want to be involved in something.
- Don’t hide in your room! If you are not sure what to do in-between lessons, ask your teacher if you can help with anything – most of my students end up in the kitchen with me! Remember these are the times when you are using English spontaneously and learning language that you will probably never find in a course book!
For the teacher, it is a little like ‘going underground’ – the focus is on the student for the duration of the course as they want to give you the best experience they can.
Sharing your teacher’s life is a great way to learn a language and the hidden benefits of being immersed in a culture, meeting new people and really experiencing life in another country are even more valuable!
We would love for you to come and stay at Fleetham Lodge with us! Check out some of our courses and the perfect immersion experience for you!