Welcome to the Teacher Talking Time Blog.
I have decided to enter the weird and wonderful world of the blogger. The idea of this blog is to share ideas and comments with friends, colleagues and casual visitors on topics of interest. I intend to invite lots of people to contribute on a regular basis so keep coming back.
Who am I? I am married to Cheryl and I have a son Finlay. I live in Istanbul.
I am the owner and Director of International Training Institute (ITI) which conducts teacher training courses internationally. ITI is one of the largest and most successful centres for Cambridge ESOL teaching awards such as CELTA, ICELT and DELTA.
ITI is based in Istanbul but we have participants coming to our centre from all over world to get an internationally recognised teaching qualification or doing one of our on-line courses. We can also send tutors to do ITI courses anywhere in the world.
When I first came to Istanbul in September 1985 there was only one teacher training course. This was a DTEFLA course (now called DELTA) run at the Bosphorus University by a charismatic trainer called Tom Hunter who became a friend. Tom invited me to help on his course and I encouraged teachers from the language school I had set up to join the training courses too. Tom’s contract ran for two years and when he left I inherited the DTEFLA course and ran it at my own language school – International School. A great many teachers have been trained in the 26 years since those early days.
Apart from teacher development and training I am also interested in theatre and acting. I founded Speech Bubbles Theatre which is a group that performs (now mainly musicals) to raise money for charities supporting children and education.
I was born in the desert in Kuwait in 1959. My father and mother met in Kuwait and married there. In 1968 when I was just 8 and my sister 6 my parents piled the whole family into a Vauxhall Estate with their worldly possessions on the roof rack and drove over 5,000 miles through mainly desert following telegraph poles to Europe and after 6 weeks on the road eventually stopped in Exeter in South West England. It was on that journey that I first came to Turkey and stayed in Istanbul.
I went to school in England and the University in Canterbury, Kent. I studied English and Drama and had dreams of becoming an actor but soon realised even in those early years I did not have the talent or the drive to take it up professionally. However theatre has been a great passion and hobby everywhere I have been since.
I fell into teaching by chance. I had just finished University and was planning on doing nothing in particular for a while when my mother saw an advertisement for teachers in the newspaper. She persuaded my father to telephone and he made an appointment for an interview on my behalf. I told my mother I would attend the interview but it was pointless because teachers needed qualifications and experience and I had no chance. The interview was in a London Hotel in a small room conducted by an Irish man and a silent mysterious Arab gentleman. I explained that I had no teaching qualifications or experience and after a short exchange of pleasantries I left and phoned home to tell my mother that as expected the whole episode was a complete waste of time. That evening the telephone rang and the Irish man offered me a contract teaching English in Libya. And that was how it all started.