Follow The Passion To Your Language Teaching Career — Jane Beachell
My name is Jane Beachell and I am based in North Wales, at the gateway to the beautiful mountains of Snowdonia.
I am originally from Yorkshire but moved down here about 20 years ago with my husband’s work. We have two cats — Virgil and Bob. We like getting into the hills walking whenever we can, so the location is perfect for us. I also enjoy horse riding, reading and singing.
Hey Jane, tell us a bit about your backstory. How did you first get started teaching English?
I come from an industry background, having had a 35+ year career in business and finance, in both the public and private sectors.
I have studied part time through most of this career towards professional qualifications, my degrees and teaching qualifications. I came into teaching in 2020 as I was looking for a retirement project, doing something that I would enjoy.
As coaching and mentoring had been a big part of my career, and something that I had found rewarding — seeing my proteges go off to new pastures — I decided to teach English as a foreign language.
It sounds like you’ve done a lot along your 35+ year career. Can you tell us more about what you do now?
After taking my TEFL qualification, and despairing at the low hourly rate that EFL/ESL teachers were being paid, as well as the prospect of having to get up at silly o’clock to teach students in Asia, I decided I didn’t want to take that route — I wanted to be attracting remuneration that reflected my experience and worth.
I wanted to be attracting remuneration that reflected my experience and worth.
Around this time I found James Liu’s Teacher-Entrepreneur Challenge (see https://www.boweistrategy.com/challenge?affiliate_id=2662890 for more details if this is of interest to you too). His 21 day Challenge covered building your foundation, developing your marketing and sales skills, and establishing your business. It talked about niche/programme teaching rather than general/session teaching. From a standing start, I was able to gain my first student within those 3 weeks.
The training James provides is excellent with regular Q&A sessions to iron out any difficulties you are having. Also, there is an active Facebook community where you can swap tales with other teachers, so you never feel as though you are on your own.
By combining this with my industry experience I already have a profitable and sustainable business just one year on. I specialise in teaching business English to finance professionals — logical if you consider my background.
That must have been very exciting to get your first client in only a few short weeks! I can see now why you say you follow the passion you have for what you do. I think one part of your success is what you talked about with me earlier, you find that it’s important to empathize with who your students are. How would you say that empathy has helped you in your teaching and in your business?
Having studied on a part-time basis while working full time myself, I am well aware of the demands for my students on time and energy, not to mention the work-life balance.
Saying this, though, I do emphasise to them that it is important to have daily practice in English in order to develop their vocabulary, confidence and fluency. I advise them to link their practice to something they enjoy doing, such as reading or listening to music in the English language.
That’s a good point. That’s in part how I gained proficiency in Italian before I’d ever travelled to Italy. You offer a 10-week program for most of your clients. What does that look like and how did you come to design the content?
Rather than have a scattergun approach to learning English — where you try to learn everything and end up being burnt out — I recommend focussing on key communication skills areas such as building your business vocabulary, improving your communication effectiveness (for example how you interact in meetings) and improving your business writing. These are the key skills needed in any language in order to communicate effectively.
I recommend focussing on key communication skills areas such as building your business vocabulary, improving your communication effectiveness and improving your business writing.
From this base I developed objectives, lesson plans and materials relevant to the sector, drawing on my own experiences. Although I provide most of the materials, I also encourage my students to provide non-sensitive documents from their workplace to make it more realistic.
My programme is forever evolving (and hopefully improving) based on feedback and other influences.
I’m so happy to know that you don’t do a “scattergun” approach to English language learning. I can imagine that makes you a popular educator. You’ve done quite a bit of business education. What have you found that works the best for your business?
My career experience means that I know my sector very well and they appreciate that I can relate to their problems and challenges. I know how the real world operates! For example I know the hurdles they have to go through to have something authorised using the correct legislation and processes, and the frustration and hand tying that this sometimes creates.
My career experience means that I know my sector very well and they appreciate that I can relate to their problems and challenges.
My part-time study experience ensures that they know that I know what they (my students) are going through, juggling all those balls in the air while trying to be the best version of themselves, fulfilling their potential and, ultimately, providing for their families.
Oh, there’s your demonstration of empathy showing up again! If you could go back in time, is there anything that you wished you’d known about earlier when it comes to your language teaching career?
I wish I had embarked on teaching earlier as I love it — I have found my passion!.
I particularly enjoy working with adults as they want to learn and, mostly, put the effort in. I love seeing their confidence grow as they apply their knowledge and skills.
Also, every day is a school day for me too!
That’s so refreshing to hear! Is there anything else that you’d like to share about yourself?
This last year has been a roller coaster journey but I have learnt so much both from James’ Teacher-Entrepreneur Challenge, which gave me the marketing and sales skills in particular, and from myself and my dogged determination (some would call it stubbornness and a refusal to give up!).
I have amazed myself at what I have managed to achieve in such a short amount of time and still have to pinch myself sometimes at how well the business is going.
Yes, I have put the time and effort in to achieve this. Nothing comes without effort.
There is still a long way to go but I am enjoying the ride!
Also, if you are interested in learning more about the Teacher-Entrepreneur Challenge click: https://www.boweistrategy.com/challenge?affiliate_id=2662890 . You won’t regret it!
Okay, so if others want to connect with you online, how can they do that?
Email: jane [ at ] oneplanetefl [ dot ] com
Linked In: www.linkedin.com/in/jane-beachell-1932091a6