PEARTREE LIFE: Experiencing Languages

So this was our year, how was yours?

Peartree Languages was nine years old this year! Like any professional organisation there are ups and downs, good days and bad and 2014 certainly was a challenging roller-coaster at times.

The first half of the year was very much dominated by our British Council Inspections, which we were delighted to pass for both adult and junior courses.  Anyone who works in education knows the added stress associated with an Inspection and ours coincided with our very first off-site summer school programme. Anyone who works in EFL also understands the importance of the July peak in numbers, so, imagine Inspection + July = difficult days!

We are however busier than ever this year! In fact as you may know we have remodeled our downstairs and I have lost my office which is now a classroom / staff room! I think my New Year’s resolution will have to be to lose some weight to fit into my new, reduced desk space.

Our numbers have been at an all-time high, with enrollments continuing well into December and I’ve just been told that we even have an assessment tomorrow (the last day of term!).  A quick look at the stats tells me that predictably July was our busiest month and Spanish speakers have been the main language group at the school in all months except June when they were knocked off the top spot by our Russian groups and September when a large group of French engineers came to Peartree for an intensive business English course.
But to be honest I’m not really a numbers person. I will forever thank Mr. Fisher for helping me to get my G.C.S.E. maths but I have always had a very clear preference for people over data. I am fascinated by stories, experiences and seeing people learn and this year has been full of people highlights, a real tonic to the stress of formal inspections, naughty juniors and staff management in difficult periods.

We are working with some great new Catalan and Libyan partners, our Italian groups were a delight and lead by professional, qualified teachers who were genuinely interested in preparing educational programmes. In March we welcomed, for the third time in 18 months, the same closed group of very polite Russian juniors and we have also run three online courses for a Russian partner school allowing us to try to concept of the Skype lesson in a classroom setting over and over.

In September we participated in a Fam Trip with English UK and other schools in Cardiff meeting 13 new international study agents and one of my personal favourite days of the year was the Learn English in Wales Conference on March 1st with Jeremy Harmer. Peartree was heavily involved in the organization of the day on the marketing and communication front, Tristan presented a paper (with Jeremy in attendance) and it was a real credit to all involved. Save the date for 2015 – November 21st

Nicky Partridge and Jeremy Harmer at the Learn English in Wales Conference
Learn English in Wales Conference, March 2014
On an individual student level we have also been lucky to teach some wonderful people, including, our first student from North Korea, a diplomat from Burkina Faso and an Italian wine maker (to name merely a few of a long list of fantastic characters).  I would also like to mention our four amazing Interns who worked very hard and made an invaluable contribution to the success of the school. Enrica, Elena, Lenka and Olivia plus the work experience girls and Clare the volunteer teacher in the summer. We are lucky to be in touch with all of them and in fact one of our students, Yasu from Japan, and his family even visited Elena in Italy!

Last but not least, 2014 was also the year when we finally got a card machine, we had our first ever Welsh cake-making workshop and we launched two new blogs and a coffee morning! 

Welsh cake making at Nos Da with Lenka and Amy
So, it is time for a well deserved rest for all as 2015 is shaping up to be just as busy, but hopefully a little more predicable. We are delighted to be moving forward with a great team and I would like to thank all the people who have worked very hard front and back of house to make Peartree the organization it is today.

Nicky Partridge, Centre Manager
I started this post by saying that we are nine years old, so, clearly next year we will be 10 and we hope to mark the decade in style! Watch this space.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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About Peartree Languages

Peartree Languages is a language school located in Cardiff.


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