My name is Debra Hardstaff (Debbie). I was born in Dorset, England. I studied Business Studies at Staffordshire University where I specialised in accountancy. I am married with two daughters. We moved to France in 1997 to work on a social project. The storm in 1999 put a stop to the project. My husband got a job which took us to Calais where I continued to work in accountancy, was treasurer of two associations and started teaching English. When we moved to the Douai area I continued accountancy but also set myself up to do professional English training. The beginning of the financial crisis meant that I lost my main accountancy client and did more and more English training. In 2012 I had to change the purpose of my business to Adult training only. My interest in being treasurer for TESOL is to keep my hand in in accountancy, the profession that I miss. I of course appreciate the exchanges with fellow English trainers too.
For this uprooted Californian, English teaching was not my first career path. Right out of university, I took an entry-level job as a technical writer in a small Silicon Valley start-up. As so happens with many Silicon Valley start-ups, the company went belly up and I pursued a different career path, one better suited to my personality. I acquired a library technician's certificate at the local community college through a night school program and entered the library sector working two part-time jobs, one in the public sector and one in the private sector. I left California in 1999, living in a handful of places including Barcelona and London, where I obtained an MA in Library and Information Studies. I eventually found myself living in Taipei, Taiwan, which had been a tiny little dream of mine (fulfilled). It was in Taiwan where I first started teaching English, primarily to children and teen learners. The experience was phenomenal, yet incredibly challenging. Four years later, my life took a somewhat unexpected turn that brought me to Bordeaux, where I continue to teach English at the university and professional/ continuing education levels. Even though I am a teacher, I feel that I am also simultaneously a student as I am constantly learning from my students and discovering things about myself. This is one of the reasons why I have volunteered at TESOL because I truly believe that, as teachers, we need to continue learning, pushing ourselves and updating our skills. And what better way to do that than with like-minded individuals in an atmosphere of community and sharing?
TESOL France Toulouse Coordinator
Despite having grown up in a teaching family who warned me off this career path, I followed my heart in 1992 and left the UK with a BSc in French and German to teach English in Japan for a few years. I gained the DipTEFLA in 1998, and I also have experience in environmental impact assessment from my time working in an architects’ practice in N Ireland. In France I have taught at a Grande Ecole and primarily at a language school in Toulouse. As Director of Studies I’ve been involved in a wide range of teaching from one-to-one to children’s groups to exam preparation courses, and teacher training for the TKT qualifications. I have an innate interest in pronunciation, and a firm belief in teachers sharing experience and developing their skills, which is why I stepped into the role of coordinator for TESOL in Toulouse this year.
TESOL France Lille Joinr Coordinator & Publishers Liasion
My working life and professional career began not as a teacher, but as a production assistant in the Latin American Service of the BBC. As both my parents were teachers, I thought there were enough in the family, so decided to use my language degree in other ways. From working in Latin America Embassies and in companies as a translator in both England and France, I gained an insight into the business world and the life of a company. I never regretted my decision to study for a teaching diploma and for the past twelve years have been teaching business English in a variety of large companies, and designing programs for students of English in all fields of industry. I have given evening classes at the Mairie de Paris and organized programs for the unemployed. I am now very happy to help on the TESOL ExCom team. The teaching world is my world.
TESOL France Lille Joint Coordinator & Communications/ Social Media
With an American father and French mother, Jeremy has been split between two cultures and two languages his entire life. Born and raised on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Jeremy moved to Lille, France in 2003. With a Bachelor’s in French-English language studies, it made sense for him to start his career in translation, but he soon realized that something was missing, and it was that he’d rather work with people than sit behind a computer screen all day. 2006 marks the beginning of his teaching career and it has become his passion ever since. Jeremy specializes in grammar games and educational technology. He loves finding ways of making subjects that people typically think are boring into something fun. When he’s not teaching you may find him working on his electronic music mixes, his second passion in life.
TESOL France Lyon Coordinator & Communications/ Social Media
I think I have a fairly typical profile for an EFL teacher in France, having had several jobs (and statuses) from business English teacher, vacataire work at the university, private tutor, BTS teacher and Head of English for an evening school. My main areas of interest in EFL are ESP and English for Specific Learning Differences.
Striving to develop professionally, I obtained my first module of my DELTA last year, with plans to continue in 2016. Since discovering TESOL France 2 years ago I have been an active member as both participant and volunteer. I feel it’s vital for teacher’s to have support networks in what can be a pretty isolating profession. To be good teachers we also need to be good learners and professional development can only be of benefit to our students.
TESOL France Strasbourg Coordinator
Yvonne Chappell is currently a lectrice at a Grande Ecole in Strasbourg. Prior to this she worked as an English instructor in a private school teaching business English and as a vacataire
at Strasbourg university. She is currently experimenting with teaching English to 4 year olds using games and songs in a nursery school-hard work but fun! Before moving to France she worked in London for the government. She holds an MBA in promoting quality in organizations and degrees in Law and policy and a CELTA certificate in teaching English. She is passionate about raising the status of English teaching in France as she believes that this would benefit both student and teacher .It is her belief that we should be aiming for excellence in what we as teachers offer.
Workshop Coordinator: Ile de France
Debbie West, UC Berkeley grad, brought up in a military family, has done almost everything from teaching French to being International Student Advisor in the United States to now teaching English to all levels and ages here in France. An educator at heart she sees education as broader than in a classroom and is definitely not very traditional in her methods. With a love for developing programs and an ever-present bank of ideas, there never seems to be enough time, energy and money to do everything. Being single helps and sometimes doesn't. Here in France she is an independent (after all the accountants were just "trying to help") and teach English and do a bit of translation. Debbie is a Representative for the International Business Program at UC Berkeley Extension, and is trying to develop a Total Summer Immersion English Program (in August). She tries to do her part in developing people's English skills. She can be reached using her website: westlanguage.com
Events & Logistics
Teaching English as a second language was my childhood dream which came true when I was 18. I started from YL but discovered very quickly that it was not my cup of tea. Hence, I started to teach adults and I have found it inspiring, energizing and rewarding. I hold CELTA, DELTA, B.Sc. in Business Administration, M.Sc in Management and I am currently working on my PhD in creativity. After many years of teaching and managing language education in different countries, I moved to Brittany in 2010 to run Language Department in the local Business School. Living around the world helped me become fluent in seven different languages. I am particularly interested in creativity in EFL, learner-autonomy and pronunciation. I joined TESOL to share ideas and support EFL teachers who, in today's reality, often give so much but receive too little. Apart from teaching, I work as a photographer, I enjoy cycling along the Ocean coast and watching Judge Judy every day.
Teaching Times Editor
Many moons ago I completed an MA in English at Birmingham University and went on to study at London University Institute of Education for a PGCE in TEFL. I worked for many years at the University of London Institute in Paris and taught a variety of students from A1 – C2 levels. I was head of a Distance Learning department and spent 2 years on secondment to Renault in order to advise on the group’s language policy. I was also a DELTA tutor and course tutor on an in-house MA programme in Second and Foreign Language Teaching. I have published a number of coursebooks and teaching materials
and my research interests include ESP, materials design, translation and evaluation. I am currently a tutor on the Delta course organised by The ELTHub Strasbourg
Other Dedicated Volunteers & Supporters