PEARTREE LIFE: Experiencing Languages

My Jobshadowing in Cardiff

Hi, my name is Jarmila and I am an English teacher from Slovakia.

Haven´t you heard about this great opportunity called jobshadowing yet? So it´s high time you learnt how amazing it is for us, teachers of all ages and experience.

I have been in contact with Peartree Languages for the last 3 years as my students, both teenagers and adults, spent wonderful 2-week courses in July 2016 and 2017 in Cardiff.

After our 1st summer course here, which was excellent as all the staff did a great job not only when teaching but they prepared amazing activities every afternoon and organized 2 day trips and we loved them, I decided to ask Nicky, the owner of the school, if I could come for a week as I teach at a language school and I saw many potential benefits to gain insight into other staff work, share best practice and allow for my self-development. She agreed so I took the opportunity, applied for jobshadowing through Erasmus+ and I got it!

When I came in August, I was welcomed by a team of friendly and supportive stuff, young teachers, interns and other employees, who made me feel part of the team from the very beginning. Nicky and the Director of Studies Jon prepared a detailed timetable for the whole week. I started in the morning with a group of begginers and I helped the lecturer as an assistant during the class. As they had a new student from Saudi Arabia, who needed a lot of help, I also had private tuition with him to progress his learning. I attended all the groups from elementary up to advanced level, could observe the work of every teacher at the school, compare and discuss it afterwards. Their teaching practices vary from attempts to gamify the lesson and bring fun, which students liked, show well structured lessons and provide a lot of vocabulary, grammar and correct pronunciation.

I could observe special classes preparing for exams, conversational classes and classes focusing on pronunciation. What I also liked was the fact that the classes included "cultural studies" when having a lesson on finance and banking for example. The topic aroused interest among the students and they put a lot of questions to the lecturer about many things how they work in reality as some of them live and work in the UK for a shorter or longer time and they need advice. This was a chance for me and I learnt a lot as well. As there were many nationalities present, I gave a presentation on my country to provide them with some interesting facts about Slovakia.

I had a chance not only to participate in the teaching process itself but I managed to look into their management and thus gained some managerial skills. Nicky and her staff had regular meetings about the problems that the day brought, discussed forward planning not only for the week but into further future. I would really appreciate a great job of Jon, the Director of Studies, whose lessons were excellent providing students with continuous feedback. He listened to them while doing activities, taught them through realizing their mistakes, gave vocabulary and corrected their pronunciation and he did it using the board, not only orally, and this way made it more effective involving more senses. And he regularly observed his colleagues´ classes and discussed with them later. Every day Nicky and he talked about the process and prepared timetable for the next day and I felt their student-oriented approach. Such managerial job is something that is worth highlighting.

Nicky´s idea of a good language school is not only to provide language courses on the premises of the school but to organize after-school activities outside as part of "cultural studies" that I´ve already mentioned. Me and Margherita Tobia, a young Italian intern, took the students to an open-air museum of Welsh history St Fagans, they had a chance to explore the city or do some sports activities on the seashore. I was also involved in preparing new cultural activities for the next summer courses in 2018.

You not only work on developing your professional skills but experience a real life with a family you are staying with and of course improve your language skills, especially informal English, which we teachers appreciate most.

It was an unforgettable time for me and challenging for my professional career and now I am trying to analyze every note I made and every detail I liked about teaching and managing at Peartree Languages. I must express thanks to Nicky and the whole staff. It was great!

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About Peartree Languages

Peartree Languages is a language school located in Cardiff.


  1. Jarmila it was great meeting you and working together, especially during the beautiful trip we took to St Fagans and while planning new fun activities for next year! Hope to see you again soon! —Margherita