07 May Meet Our Teacher Trainers: Iulia Lehner
- Iulia, where and when did you start teaching English as a foreign language?
Actually, I started my teaching career with International House Bucharest on 15th October 2009. I remember the date exactly, because this was my first ‘real’ job after uni and I was very proud of it.
- How long have you worked with International House? Tell us about your career path, please.
Well, I worked with IHB for 6 years before I moved to Turkey and trained up as a CELTA and Delta trainer with International House Izmir, so after almost 9 years, you could say I am an IH lifer. I left Izmir in 2017 to start my Scottish adventure and hone my skills, so to speak, but I am excited to return to my roots – not to mention my family and friends – this summer.
- When did you take up teacher training?
That would be in 2015. After a successful teaching career in Bucharest, I felt that the next step is teacher training – a passion that the many training sessions we had at IH Bucharest inspired in me. My friends and colleagues at IH were very supportive of my decision to move away – to a different country no less – and pursue my dream and I am very thankful for that.
- What are the main joys and challenges of teacher training?
Well, on a purely selfish basis, I think it’s the sense of achievement and fulfilment you have when you see how you’ve impacted someone’s life for the better. It’s an immensely rewarding feeling. What we do is not just teach a set of skills, but also completely change someone’s life and career path and in true pay-it-forward fashion we enable people to change their students’ lives as well. Basically, you leave a mark and I think that’s a powerful thing to be doing.
- Besides training, are there any other professional projects you’ve been involved in (e.g. course design, textbook writing, etc.)? If so, please tell us about them.
Not as such, but in Scotland we have been piloting a new experiential way of conducting teacher training courses. The underlying belief that has shaped my career in teacher training is that intensive courses like the CELTA, for example, do not need to be gruelling experiences – yes, it is tough, it is blood, sweat and tears for 4 weeks with no social life – but it’s also an opportunity to create lifelong memories with your peers and your tutors. There might be a book in there somewhere – if I get around to writing it ?
- How about the projects you’ve been involved in as a teacher trainer with IH Bucharest?
Even after moving away, I’ve never really lost touch with my IH family – I made some of my best friends here! – so I do return from time to time and run workshops for the teachers here. I always have a fun time and it’s great seeing so many people wanting to excel at what they’re doing. Passion for teaching – that’s what we’re all about.
- Finally, share with us 3 professional achievements you’re most proud of as a teacher trainer.
I’m always happy and proud whenever I can design and implement a new course with the schools I work with. My experience with setting up Delta centres and locally, running integrated Scottish Professional Development awards has been very rewarding. I have also started presenting more at conferences and I’m enjoying the process immensely – right now, I’m looking forward to presenting at IATEFL in Liverpool in April. And last, but not least, I’m proud of being one of the youngest CELTA and Delta trainers in the world. I find that super empowering ?