Daniel Israel recently took on the challenge of writing his first book. Find out how writing articles and interviewing teachers was the impetus for his first book The EFL Teacher's Handbook.
Daniel, can you start by telling us where you teach?
I teach in various cities in the Netherlands such as Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam.
How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching for eight years, though as a freelancer for seven years. For four years, I taught at universities, one year at a secondary school, while most, of the time, I’ve been working with language centres (in-house and in-company).
Can you describe a typical teaching day?
I tend to teach 2 x 2-hour lessons on weekdays. Sometimes, I have 1 x 3-hour BEC (Business English Certificate) preparation class and then a 2 hour-lesson. I have worked evenings, though this had only been when I wanted to earn some extra cash or, most recently, as a favour for a friend and colleague.
What do you do in your spare time to relax?
I like to watch classic/ arthouse films, to write articles on teaching and to walk and cycle in nature.
You took on the tremendous task of writing a book. Can you talk about the book?
I started writing for EFL Magazine in May 2015 with Teachers’ Stories: Adventures in the Netherlands (aka Teachers’ Stories: Teaching in the Netherlands), which, stylistically, showed a playfulness with language, and has remained a feature of my writing. Then, I began interviewing teachers world-wide about issues such as burn-out and low pay, i.e. Treat Teachers well parts 1 and 2, which meant a temporary change in style, and showed versatility. Then I decided to go it alone, so I could write more prolifically, as the ideas began to flow. Teachers’ Stories: Back to Uni was posted on LinkedIn in August 2016.
A few articles later, I started to figure out what the chapters would be and which articles still needed to be written. From then on, I knew that I was destined to write a book to help teachers to find useful activities and resources within a short amount of time. The title I decided upon is The EFL Teacher’s Handbook (the subheading is an anthology of popular published articles including adaptable activities and reliable resources for EFL Teachers and beyond). Each of the 50 published short articles is between 800-1200 words on average, making them ideal for teachers to dip into between lessons, for example. I saw a gap in the market, where most EFL books are either academic text or reference books that cannot be read cover to cover.
As a handbook, the sheer variety of topics and issues that are covered from business English and CELTA to DELTA, EAP and ESP, featuring interviews with native and non-native speakers plus how to use humour, role-plays and stories in lessons (always with digital sites and book references), and, through the author’s experiences teaching, sharing anecdotes, ideas and hopefully inspiring new ones from the readers, would be welcome in any decent language centre, or on any open-minded EFL teacher’s bookshelf.
The target audience is not only new and inexperienced teachers, but also seasoned professionals who may not have tried something out, or those who are seeking a fresh perspective, directors of studies and assistants, teacher trainers and, even those with a particular interest in the following: film, philosophy, psychology and writing, which also feature due to some cross-over with themes, or areas of particular interest to the author, such as classroom management, motivation, the role of the teacher, and using the medium of film to teach EFL creatively.
How long did it take you to complete the book?
Around two years of hard graft. Though, I can safely say that the whole experience was and still is incredibly fulfilling and worthwhile.
Where can teachers and others in the education industry purchase your book?
Do you have any plans for a second book?
It is a bit early to say, but I would certainly never say never.
How do you promote your book?
I have a website https://linguisticsolutions.nl with useful links and excerpts from the book, LinkedIn and Facebook company pages, and a LinkedIn profile. I am in the process of giving interviews. EFL magazine kindly promoted the book with a banner ad for one month.
Where can people find you on social media?
What have you had to do outside of your comfort zone as a teacherpreneur?
Marketing is definitely something I was previously unaccustomed to and I have had to pick it up along the way. At times, it is frustrating and can be cumbersome, but sometimes, unexpectedly it reaps rewards.
What skills did you gain from classroom teaching that have allowed you to excel as a teacherpreneur?
Learning from experience in how to create materials and how to organise myself in a methodical manner. CELTA helped me very much with structure, which allowed me to adapt for various classroom situations.
What advice would you give to teachers who are considering writing a book?
From my experience, as I mentioned, writing for an education magazine for like-minded people, i.e. teachers, is a great way to start. Find out whether you have talent by getting the opinion of an editor and you will receive useful advice, which will help you to structure your writing. If you love writing and have a lot to say on a topic or various things, then it could well be something for you. The best thing is just to give it a try and not to think of any hurdles that you may come across.
Thanks for much for your time Daniel. I look forward to reviewing your book.
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
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 books, courses and teaching materials; blogging, conducting instructional coaching for new teachers, coaching teacherpreneurs and travelling at any time of the year. Contact me at [email protected]
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