Making Connections: Elaine Tolbert
- By Craig Snyder
- Posted In English, Foreign Language & Business, Foreign Language Learning, Teacher Insights, Uncategorized, World Languages
I adore Elaine Tolbert. She is everything that you could possibly want in an English teacher. She’s smart, funny, empathetic and very professional in the way she deals with clients. She also loves auto racing. I’ll be watching a race at home on the weekend and Elaine will message me live videos from the stands. What’s not to love about her? I recently sent her a list of questions and here are her answers.
For how long have you worked with the Language Academy?
I’ve been with the Language Academy for about 4 years.
You have a pretty amazing history as an English Teacher, how did you get started?
Thank you! I began teaching in Washington, DC and Bethesda, Md. in 1997 when I heard Berlitz Languages was recruiting part-time teachers. I was trained with the Berlitz Method, which means, from the first day, a beginner student is taught in the target language.
At a certain point in your life you transitioned away from teaching, what brought you back?
While with Berlitz, I was offered a position in Charlotte as Director and Business Development Manager of the Southeast. This took me away from my students, and I missed teaching a great deal. As a teacher, one’s world opens up to many different cultures. Helping students improve their language skills is tremendously rewarding.
As an English teacher you work with people from all over the world. How do you handle the cultural differences in your interactions with your students?
I do so with an open mind. Although I have done a fair amount of traveling, I also research new cultures to be well-prepared when I work with a new student. This is a fascinating part of my job. My position is that I am truly blessed to have the opportunity and the honor to work with people from all different cultures.
How did you become interested in auto racing? I don’t think that most people would think that you were a fan of auto racing.
Haha!!! You are probably right. When I was 15 years old, my father began road racing as a hobby. I was intrigued. It became an exciting adventure for us as father and daughter. I enjoyed attending races all over the US and even did some pit work for him. We also enjoyed attending Grand Prix races together. Racing is in my blood.
You have a wealth of experience teaching English but you recently told me that you signed-up for a certification program. What made you decide to do that?
I love to learn, and think it is important to continually hone one’s skills. Being a good teacher means you have to be a good student.
Craig Snyder is the Owner and President of The Language Academy of the Carolinas, Inc.