Mr_Mike Tutor Interview
- Q. Hello Mike! Thank you very much for agreeing to this interview. First of all, could you briefly introduce yourself?
A. Sure. I'm an Australian living in Tokyo with my wife and two daughters. I teach English at a university and write and record original songs with my rock'n'roll band. My favourite food is Thai and I really like craft beer, especially IPAs. I'm the second youngest in a family of four children and go back home to Melbourne for Christmas every two or three years.
- Q. It seems that you’ve been traveling around the world before living in Japan. Can you tell your students a little bit about where you come from/where you grew up?
A. I was born in London (England) on the way from Moshi (Tanzania) to New York (America) and I grew up in Munich (Germany). Although I moved to Australia when I was thirteen, I still feel a deep connection with my European roots and would love to live there again someday. I went to Melbourne University where I did my postgraduate studies in creative writing and dreamed of becoming a novelist or scriptwriter. However, during a round the world trip, I got into writing song lyrics and when I arrived in Japan I started a rock'n'roll band.
- Q. We would like to know more about your professional background. Also, what got you into teaching on Cafetalk?
A. English teaching began as a way to support my hobby of playing music, but over time I realized that I actually really loved teaching. Over the last fifteen years, I've been fine-tuning my teaching skills at a conversation school, where my lessons were sometimes observed by new teachers, and a university. I've also written articles for some magazines, recorded singing vocals for a commercial and played live shows at corporate events. I'd always liked the idea of teaching online because it meant that I could be physically close to my family and support them financially at the same time. Cafetalk appealed to me immediately because, for one, I like coffee and talking and it's a well-designed and user-friendly website. I've met some very interesting and cool people since I started teaching on Cafetalk and am very grateful for that.
- Q. What are you usually up to when you’re not teaching on Cafetalk? What are your hobbies and interests?
A. In my free time, I like hanging out with my wife and daughters at the park or we go shopping together and get a hamburger or some Thai food for lunch. My wife and I share a love of amusement parks so we go to Fuji-Q Highland every now and then to ride the rollercoasters and get a beautiful view of Mt. Fuji. I actually proposed to my wife at the top of one of the rides! When I have time to myself, I'll watch YouTube highlights of European soccer, read novels, study Japanese, write some lyrics or make some materials for cafetalk lessons.
- Q. A lot of students are probably curious about the atmosphere in your lessons. What can a student imagine a lesson with you to be like? What’s your teaching style?
A. Good question. First and foremost, I get to know my students and make them feel comfortable. I want them to know that they are talking to not only a teacher, but also a friend who wants them to succeed. I believe that this kind of open atmosphere gives them the courage to challenge themselves, practice their fluency and express their ideas more confidently and freely. I motivate my students, give them plenty of feedback and encourage them to correct their own mistakes. My main aim is for them to enjoy the learning experience so much that they don't realize how hard they are working.
- Q. Since you offer a variety of lessons, is there any lesson you can recommend in particular? Or can you give a quick overview of which lesson might be good for which type of student?
A. Yes, I recommend the lesson called 'Speak like a native'. I wrote the materials for students who want to sound more natural and communicate more smoothly with their English-speaking friends and co-workers. A simple example is, instead of saying 'I awake late last night' (unnatural), students will practice using native level expressions like 'I had a late one last night' or 'I was up late last night' in casual conversations about their own lives. The materials include a quiz that students can take before the lesson starts to become more familiar with the words and phrases. There are lessons for topics like traveling, music, drinking, shopping and many more... I give detailed written feedback after the lesson and customize sentences for the students with the expressions from the materials.
- Q. Lastly, please leave a message to your regular students and to those who might take your lessons in the future!
A. To my regular students, thank you for giving me the opportunity to help you with your English. It puts a big smile on my face when I hear you confidently using the natural vocabulary and phrases that you have learned in our lessons together. You're making a lot of progress. Keep up the good work! I'm looking forward to meeting new students and working hard to support them in their efforts to reach their goals.