Interview with Language Coach Michelle

By September 26, 2020Interviews

We’re happy to introduce you to another of our language coaches, Michelle! Some of our students already know her from class, but we wanted to give everyone the chance to get to know her better and hear about her teaching methods. Read on to meet Michelle!

Tell us a little about yourself- where are you from? Where did you go to school and what did you study?

My name is Michelle; I live outside of Gothenburg in a city called Lerum. I’ve lived here my whole life with my family and my dog, Ludde. 

I went to school in Lerum, before studying at the Swedish gymnasium Jensen in Gothenburg, where I graduated with an economics and law degree. In 2014 I started a program in administration at Borås Högskola, but my interest for communication, speaking, writing, and leading grew. In 2016 I decided to study rhetorics in Stockholm, but eventually transferred to Lund, where I got my bachelors degree. 

When did you start coaching with the SFP team? Is this something you originally imagined yourself doing?

I started coaching for SFP August 2019, and it’s definitely something I imagined myself doing! I’ve always loved to meet and talk to other people. I also love to “take the stage” and give presentations! During my years at Borås Högskola, I worked as a substitute teacher in my old high school, and I had so much fun! Working with SFP fulfills my two biggest passions: language and communication. 

What’s your favorite part of being a language coach?

My favorite thing about this job is the feeling I get when you see all the progress my students make! It feels really good when the student is happy and feels that their language skills are improving a little more for each lesson. The lessons are fun, and we vary the assignments and lessons based on the questions our students are asking or the problems they are having. 

Tell us a little about your day to day as a coach. How do you prepare for your classes? Are there any special techniques you’ve learned for teaching language that you really depend on?

I plan lessons with the input of my students; in that way we can discuss if there’s something they need to repeat, or if they have any particular wish for what they want to work on in the upcoming lesson. One technique that never seems to fail is to do translation assignments- using a text in swedish they can translate into english and vice versa. Going from Swedish to English, I get to know if the student has understood the text correctly in Swedish. If they can translate from English to Swedish, they get to practice their vocabulary and how to construct a correct Swedish sentence! 

Things are a little different now that we aren’t teaching some classes in person. How has the switch to online classes affected you and your students? Do you have any classes that have gone back to in-person instruction?

I was used to working digitally before the pandemic arrived, as were many of my students, so it wasn’t really a problem. I now have 2 classes that have returned to “face-to-face” lessons, but the others will remain online due to distance, as I have students living in other cities. It’s really fun to have lessons in person again, and get to put on a suit for the first time in months!

What do you see as being the primary needs of your students? In teaching different levels, have you seen commonalities in the needs and struggles of students?

A lot of my students have problems with “En or Ett.” Some of them also struggle with ÅÄÖ, which is completely understandable as many of them have never encountered these letters before!

Are there any special tips and tricks for learning another language you’d like to share with everyone?

Have fun! Fun lessons help students and teachers connect and get to know each other. This makes it much easier to figure out what sort of teaching material and style will work best, leading to better results and faster progress.

It’s also good to find a language that you are equal in. In my case I speak English with all of my students. To have a language that you can communicate in when the Swedish is hard for them makes it easier for you to avoid misunderstandings or to describe what you meant or what the text means. 

Tell us why everyone should learn Swedish when living in Sweden

Knowledge is never heavy to carry. You should learn a language because you find it interesting and fun. If you’re planning on working in Sweden it might also be good to be able to understand what people are talking about during Swedish-language meetings or in emails. 

Anything else you want to share? Hobbies, interests, etc. 

When I’m not coaching I’m a girl who loves to spend time in the stable with my horse, and take long nice walks with my dog. I also enjoy gourmet food with a glass of champagne and cozy background music. If my wallet allows, I’ll never say no to a shopping tour! 😉

A huge thank you to Michelle for sitting down for this interview! Don’t forget to check out our Swedish classes for individuals here! You can also follow us on FacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn to keep up with our latest news, programs, and resources!

Swedish for Professionals offers a monthly newsletter just for expats! Looking for great ideas to help you enjoy your community, delivered straight to your inbox? Don’t forget to sign up for the Swedish for Professionals Newsletter for Expats! We promise we will never send you spam – great content only! Sign up here.