Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Ruth Nabaasa, a Ugandan currently residing in the heart of Kampala, the capital city of the Pearl of Africa. I have been teaching English for the last 11 years in different contexts and to learners of different nationalities and ages ranging from Ugandan to Chinese, Korean, Venezuelan, Brazilian, Colombian, Argentinian, and Chilean.
I specifically love working with adults and I have found it such a joy working with different Business English students from different regions of Latin America.
What inspired you to teach English?
I have always loved the English language which I grew up speaking alongside my mother tongue – In fact, it was my ability to read and write English that enabled me to read stories easily in my local language.
While at University, I did a Bachelor of Science in Wood Science and Technology, after which I did a gap year in the UK, serving children, teens, and adults in a local church setting south of Manchester city. While there, I met and interacted with different teachers and this revived in me the desire to explore teaching on a professional level.
In high school, my classmates testified that I was a good teacher because they felt that I made complex subjects easy to understand and that I was patient and good at listening. Meeting other teachers in another country reminded me of these things and showed me different possibilities that I hadn’t previously considered.
Because I had always loved the English language and had grown up speaking it, I decided to pursue the 150-hour International Diploma in English Language Teaching (IDELTOnline) with Bridge to get professionally certified.
Together with another classmate in the IDELTOnline, I decided to specialize in teaching Business English and completed the 40-hour Teaching Business English Specialized Certification. I have always loved working with adults, but also felt that Business English would equip me with relevant skills to teach language that was essential for successful communication in the workplace and other business situations.
Did you complete any other Bridge Certifications or Micro-credentials?
I later took the 60-hour Foundations in Teaching English Online, 10-hour Teaching English Online to Groups, and the 20-hour Teaching IELTS Exam Prep Micro-credential. I took this when I discovered that some of my students wanted to prepare for different exams.
I also wanted to make my classes more interactive and fun and decided to take the Games and Activities for the Online Classroom (Adults) Micro-credential. Alongside these, I have attended different Bridge Webinars and workshops because I believe that there are always new things to learn and adopt, so my classes can be more student-centered and more effective in meeting their individual needs.
How long have you been teaching with Bridge?
I have been teaching with Bridge English for close to four years now and I have absolutely enjoyed it. Bridge is not only inclusive, but they also provide teachers with numerous opportunities for continuous professional growth.
The Bridge staff is very supportive of teachers because they know that once teachers have all the best support, they can then focus on what matters most – giving our students the best language learning experience while ensuring they are developing the skills they need for successful communication in and out of their workplaces.
I specifically love the fact that we get to do a needs analysis for each student or group of students to understand why they want to learn English, how and when they use it, and any struggles they may have. This has been very instrumental in knowing what to supplement my classes with and has helped me tailor the provided curriculum to the levels and needs of individual students or groups.
Can you share a great memory or student success story?
It was very encouraging when one of my former students decided that she wanted to be placed with me a second time because of the chemistry and rapport that we had built in the previous course she had done. She shared that the patience I had with her, constant encouragement of the milestones she had made, including regular error correction of pronunciation and grammar mistakes, including the extra resources I suggested for her, were all very beneficial to helping her develop her confidence in speaking.
She also shared that she truly enjoyed my classes and that I was one of the best teachers she had ever had. We actually developed a friendship and have kept in touch.
What teaching strategies do you like to use in class?
One of the things I like to do is ensure that my classes are a relaxed environment in which the students feel secure to speak, read freely, ask questions, make suggestions, and speak about what is helpful for them. I always want my students to know that the classes are about them and their needs and that I’m flexible and ready to adapt my methods to suit their particular learning styles.
Some of my students prefer study material to be sent before class for prior study, some like doing quizzes, some like bringing English-related work projects to class, and some prefer working on creative projects that allow them to put their creative and digital skills to work.
Every student is different and I have learned to get to know and understand each student as an Individual throughout the course. I usually have discussions with my students about what’s working well, what’s not working well, and what I could do to improve – their opinions and input matter!