Camelia Martincu started her own language centre after she realized that teaching children was not her "cup of tea". Camelia has great advice for teacherpreneurs including the importance of investing in yourself by continuously learning and surrounding yourself with inspiring people who help you grow.
Can you start off by telling us where you teach?
I teach general and business English, IELTS and Cambridge exams to adults and teenagers at my own language center, BETTER ENGLISH, in Lasi, Romania. I also deliver in-company training (mostly to IT companies, but not only) and assist HR departments with linguistic auditing.
How long have you been teaching?
I’ve been teaching for almost 13 years now. I started teaching at a local private school in 2004, straight after graduating from university, but I realized that teaching young children wasn’t my cup of tea. Then, for two years I taught Business English courses in-company with International House Bucharest, which I liked so much that in 2007 I decided to set up my own business.
Can you describe a typical teaching day?
I’m in the office at 9 am, and I have training sessions (one-to-one and in small groups) between 10am – 8pm, with a break from 2 to 4pm, when I usually have a quick lunch, answer to emails, send offers, prepare for the next lessons. On Saturdays I have conversation clubs for teens and adults, but I work only until midday. Then my weekend starts.
What do you do in your spare time to relax?
I like reading, “gardening” in my balcony, going to the theatre, travelling and taking long walks with my husband.
Are you working on any other projects at the moment?
Yes, one on materials writing (lesson plans, activities) for a teachers’ online platform and the second one refers to teacher training. I can’t say more things now, but I’m very excited about these projects!
Unfortunately, in our field, there has been discrimination against "non-native" speakers of English. What advice would you give to non-native speakers of English who would like to use their skills to become teacherpreneurs?
The never-ending debate! Obviously, I don’t like this native/non-native dichotomy. I have seen native speakers who made poor teachers and non-natives who proved to be fantastic teachers, precisely due to their own language learning experience. Therefore, irrespective of your origin, I believe two things are tremendously important in becoming a teacherpreneur:
1) Never stop learning! Keep improving your English proficiency vigorously and be up-to-date with the latest teaching methodologies. You can’t teach what you don’t know.
2) Believe in yourself, have courage and take action!
How long did it take you to set up your company? Do you do everything yourself or do you have someone help with the technical aspects, etc.?
Well, it has taken me 10 years to get to this point now, when I can choose whom I work with and when I work. 10 years of arduous work, commitment, strive and constant desire to offer the best courses, perfectly tailored to my clients’ needs.
My husband has always been beside me in this endeavour, I wouldn’t have managed without his support, encouragements and business advice (he has his own business, too, and I’ve learnt many things from him). He is the one who designed my website, created my logo and helps with all the technical aspects.
Where can people find you on social media?
How do you promote or market your business/services?
On social media, but mostly with my clients’ help. A satisfied client is the best advertising. I strongly believe this!
What have you had to do outside of your comfort zone as a teacherpreneur?
Everything! From planning, learning continuously, researching, attending teacher training regularly, getting internationally qualified, looking for collaboration opportunities to discovering my unique selling points, creating my brand image and constantly adding value to it.
What advice would you give to teachers who are considering becoming a teacherpreneur?
1. Invest in yourself – get internationally qualified. Staying in your box, believing that you know everything and you’ve learnt enough is a very unhealthy attitude. Becoming a CELTA qualified trainer has been the best investment I have made in myself! Since then I’ve attended trainings in England regularly.
2. Be prepared and willing to work a lot! Being a one-man show isn’t a picnic in the park.
3. Your reputation is built on the quality of your services. Don’t talk big if you can’t deliver!
I talk to many teachers about their fear or doubt in trying something new or "putting themselves out there". What advice would you give to these teachers?
I would tell them my life motto: DREAM BIG, WORK HARD, STAY FOCUSED AND SURROUND YOURSELF WITH INSPIRING PEOPLE, WHO HELP YOU GROW AND MAKE YOU WANT TO BECOME THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF!
Thank you Camelia for sharing your story and for inspiring teachers to follow their dreams.
Interested in learning more about transitioning from a teacher to teacherpreneur but don’t know how to get started? Here are some ways:
1. Read more inspiring teacherpreneur interviews at www.teacherpreneur.ca/blog
2. If you are a TESL Ontario member, watch a recording of my webinar Teacher to Teacherpreneur https://tutela.ca/GroupFiles?organicgroup=8594&cat=518
3. Download The Essential Teacher to Teacherpreneur Toolkit - 50 pages packed with information to get you started as a teacherpreneur at http://www.teacherpreneur.ca
4. Sign up for my 4-week online course with iTDi.pro - Teacher to Teacherpreneur http://itdi.pro/itdihome/teacherpreneur.php
5. Download 10 Tips to Transition from Teacher to Teacherpreneur https://www.teacherpreneur.ca/p/10-tips-to-transition-from-teacher-to-teachepreneur
6. Download The Social Media Make-over Checklist for Teacherpreneurs at www.teacherpreneur.ca
7. Connect with other teacherpreneurs by joining my LinkedIn group https://www.linkedin.com/groups/7060976
8. Set up a private coaching call with me https://www.teacherpreneur.ca/pages/book-a-coaching-session-with-me
9. Connect with me on social media. Teacherpreneurs must be on social media.
My name is Patrice Palmer, OCELT, M.Ed., M.A. I have more than 20 years’ experience as an ESL Teacher, TESL Trainer, and Writer. Seven of those years were spent in Hong Kong. I have taught students from 8 to 80 years in a variety of programs such as ESP, EAP, Business English, and language programs for new immigrants in Canada. I'm now a teacherpreneur doing the things that I love such as writing courses and teaching materials; blogging, conducting instructional coaching for new teachers and coaching teacherpreneurs. Having a flexible schedule allows me to conduct training around the world at any time of the year.
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