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Wall Street, Feline Intelligence and YLs.

Anne Petzer is an uber experienced BE Teacher, published author and YL newbie. She kindly agreed to chat to me on skype about the new additions to her, normally adult filled, timetable. A class of preschoolers and a class of 8 yr olds. Fun times ahead!

Kylie Malinowska: Shall we start the interview? I’m excited. I’ve never interviewed anyone before 🙂

Anne Petzer: Ok. Yes. Fire away.

Kylie Malinowska: So Anne, you blushed when I referred to you as an ‘uber experienced BE teacher’. How long have you been teaching Business and general English? And is it true you worked in ‘Business” for a long time before teaching?

Anne Petzer: 🙂 I started in 2002 in Akcent IH Prague and before that I had worked in business since 1989 as a PR Manager, then in charge of Credit and Returns for a National Radiator in their OEM dept.

Kylie Malinowska: So I think I can call you ‘uber experienced’ then 🙂 So why the change? Why does a woman with a background in business and almost 10 years of teaching Adults (predominantly) Business English decide to teach YL’s?

Anne Petzer: Well I do like children, but it all really started after the YL session on DELTA. I decided to give a go. Businessmen tend to be mostly stressed and bogged down with the pressures and stress of the business world. They can be ‘hard work’ to get them motivated about doing things in English. So I decided to observe a Pre-School class and LOVED the excitement and enthusiasm.

Kylie Malinowska: Well, motivating YL’s certainly involves different techniques as opposed to motivating businessmen. They say a change is as good as a holiday, but surely there was some initial apprehension before making the move? Was there anything you were/ are worried about? What is the scariest thing about the prospect of facing, for example, a class full of 5 yr olds?

Anne Petzer: I was mainly worried I wouldn’t  be able to make the class interesting at their level. One can’t go in and say ‘So, what do you think about the crash on Wall Street?’, and expect a whole discussion evolving. Would I keep their interest in activities? Knowing their attention span is not the same as an adult class.

Kylie Malinowska: It’s not easy to go into a YL class without any experience or YL specific training. Sometimes teachers who don’t teach YL underestimate just how difficult our job can be at times and that we use a whole range of skills that courses like the CELTA (and even the DELTA)  don’t even begin to cover. Do you find that you have a greater appreciation for us YL teachers now than you did before the move?

Anne Petzer: O I have always great appreciation for you YL teachers. I come from a huge family and have always been around children. I did sub a few YL classes and that wasn’t easy.

Kylie Malinowska: Can you give me an example of one of the big differences you’ve noticed between YL and Adult classes?

Anne Petzer: Do you mean in planning them, teaching them or the response from students.

Kylie Malinowska: Good point. So many differences in so many areas. All or any? What is the biggest or most important difference for you?

Anne Petzer: In planning and teaching a YL class as mentioned the activities are arranged to keep their interest and attention for example action activities and then calm them down. In adult classes it’s not the case. Secondly,…the children are open and willing to try anything – not embarrassed to give it a go whereas this is not always the case with adults

Kylie Malinowska: I really like that part of YL teaching too. I find their honesty refreshing.

Anne Petzer: Sometimes to be honest it’s like pulling teeth.

Kylie Malinowska: Hehehe I like that analogy. You mentioned doing a ‘sub’ and finding it difficult. Many teachers do a ‘substitute’ YL lesson and afterward state they never want to teach a YL class ever again. What advice would you give to such teachers?

Anne Petzer: Go with an open mind, be yourself (the kids will see straight through you), and allow yourself to have fun with them.

Kylie Malinowska: Now that you’ve had a taste, do you see yourself continuing to teach YL in the future? Any plans to do the IHCYLT?

Anne Petzer: 🙂 Well I am definitely looking forward to this year teaching them. I haven’t thought beyond that regards the IHCYLT yet.

Kylie Malinowska: I highly recommend it. It makes those teeth easier to pull J I mentioned in my intro that you have recently published your first novel and the second one will be released very soon. The fantasy element of your book appeals to children. Will you be using similar ideas in class? Despite what psychologists claimed all those years ago kids love humanised animal characters. Perhaps ‘Zvonek’ can report back to the class via email on the mistakes he has detected in their work hehehe

Anne Petzer: LOL now there’s a story I hadn’t thought about. I will use acting in story telling, yes.

Kylie Malinowska: Will you at least be introducing your 8 yr olds to the characters in your book? Who wouldn’t love a feline spy?

Anne Petzer: I hadn’t thought about that but am sure can use a cat somewhere 🙂

Anne Petzer: I already have a cool idea for Halloween.

Kylie Malinowska: Can you share your idea for Halloween or is it a secret?

Anne Petzer: Well, it involves getting dressed up as a cat and the cat being involved in the learning process…. The rest will be revealed at a later date 🙂 So, yes, I guess I’m already planning on using ideas from my book to motivate the students.

Kylie Malinowska: Well, I promised this interview would be short, so I should wrap it up. Thank you so much. I’d like to chat to you again after a few more classes to see if you still like the YL side of the fence 🙂 I’d also like to invite comments from anyone reading about their first YL experience. Thanks again for chatting to me Anne.

Anne Petzer: Ok, no problem. Thank you 🙂 that was fun-my first ever interview.

Kylie Malinowska. Thank YOU Anne 🙂

Are you new to YL? Was it scary? exciting? Please feel free to leave comments and come back soon to see the next interview with Cesca K, an experienced YL teacher and IH CYLT tutor who has kindly agreed to share some teaching tips, ideas and useful links.

If you are interested in supporting fellow YL teacher Anne Petzer by buying her first published book, you can do so on the link provided on the ‘links’ section of this blog.

Until next time….


About klokanomil

YL Advisor & IH CYLT Coordinator for IHWO. Teacher, teacher trainer, training mentor, writer, presenter, student, mum of crazy twin toddlers (affectionately known as 'the sausages') and coffee addict.

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