Louise Potter has extensive experience in the ELT field as a teacher, author, and trainer. Find out how she started her teacher training company in Brazil and her advice for teachers thinking about starting a company and her #1 productivity tip for getting things done.
1. Thanks for joining us, Louise. Can you start off by telling us where you teach?
I am not physically in the classroom anymore. I am an English coordinator at a mainstream school in Jundiai , a small city 60 km out of São Paulo, Brazil. I am also a writer for young learners at Somos Educação, one of Brazil’s largest basic education company and one of the largest educational groups in the world. As a coordinator, I am constantly in contact with students in K-12. Interacting directly with teachers and promoting workshops in teacher training I feel I learn every day from these teachers. Apart from that, I have a teacher trainer’ website called Teach-in Education, where I also run online courses, write articles for teachers and give hints for teacher development and much more.
2. How long have you been teaching?
I have been in the education field for more than 30 years now.
3. Can you describe a typical day?
I get up around 6:30 a.m. every day. After exercising, I usually work on my website and post articles that might interest my followers on my social media. That usually takes about an hour. I divide my week into slots for the schools I coordinate and give workshops, my site and writing for Young Learners. Mornings I usually do home office to work on my site and writing for Somos Educação and in the afternoons I am at the schools. Friday afternoons I try to have free to do online courses and research.
4. Self-care for busy educators is so important. How do you relax?
I play beach tennis, jog, hike, go to the beach, do standup paddle, read and watch movies. Family time is very important for me!
5. You took on the tremendous task of starting a company. Can you talk a bit about it?
Well, some time ago I decided I needed a change. I had been working as a coordinator at the language school for more than 12 years. I talked a lot about it with my husband and decided to take the chance and leave. I had nothing in view. Then, by chance one morning, I met up with my current business partner, Juliana Tavares. She had worked for me as a teacher at the language school, so I knew her pretty well. I asked her if she would be interested in starting up a teacher training company with me. And that was it. We were in business. We began by giving teacher training workshops to having a site and giving online courses. We have come a long way.
6. Where can teachers and students purchase your online course? Can you talk a little about it?
The course is aimed at teachers who are starting their career and for experienced teachers who wish to revisit concepts such as classroom management, student autonomy, different groupings in large classrooms, clear instructions, PBL, readers in the language classroom and much more. You can find out more by visiting the sites below. Although the instructions are in Portuguese, the structure of the course is written in English so you can see the contents. The whole course is given in English.
7. Are you working on any other projects at the moment?
I am always working on new projects. We just never stop. I have written an e-book on Project Based Learning in the language classroom.
Here is the link to it on Amazon:
8. How do you market or promote your website and other projects?
I mainly use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and e-mail marketing. I believe we need to constantly collaborate with other teachers and teacher trainers in order to be successful.
9. What skills did you gain from classroom teaching that have allowed you to excel as a teacherpreneur?
I believe all teachers are teacherpreneurs. We deal with diverse cultural backgrounds and personalities in the classroom. Mixed ability levels, social conflicts and many other dilemmas. Classroom management, teaching collaboration and team work to students, preparing classes taking critical thinking into consideration...all these skills go into classroom planning. All these skills are life skills
which we, as teachers, put into practice in our classroom. These skills go beyond the classroom walls.
10. What advice would you give to teachers who are considering having a company?
You have to be very diligent. Placing deadlines for yourself and never stop studying. Education is dynamic. Things are changing all the time so we can never stop learning. And do not restrict yourself to only studying things related to language and your field. Go beyond and learn other skills, too.
11. You are balancing so many things. Can you share one of your productivity tips?
My productivity tip is to be diligent. Stick to schedules and divide your time into slots. Don't forget to take care of yourself so exercise before working. It gets your brain going.
12. 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?
If you want to go beyond teaching, you have to put yourself out there. Go to conferences, meet people, see what other people are doing and don´t forget to have fun while you are doing this. Don´t take yourself too seriously. Work has to be fun, as well.
13. Is there anything that you would like to add Louise?
I would love to partner up with other people who have the same educational views and would like to thank you very much for this opportunity! Hope we can meet f2f, soon.
14. How can people get in touch with you?
Email: [email protected]
Thank you so much. Brazil is on my list of places to visit so I hope to meet you in person.
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 teacherpreneur interviews at www.teacherpreneur.ca/blog
2. Check out my Teacher to Teacherpreneur Toolkit at http://www.teacherpreneur.ca
3. Download 10 Tips to Transition from Teacher to Teacherpreneur https://www.teacherpreneur.ca/p/10-tips-to-transition-from-teacher-to-teachepreneur
4. Connect with other teacherpreneurs by joining my LinkedIn group https://www.linkedin.com/groups/7060976
5. 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!
Connect with me on social media. Teacherpreneurs must be on social media.
Who am I?
My name is Patrice Palmer, M.Ed., M.A., CPP and I reside in Canada. I have more than 20 years’ experience as an adult educator, trainer and writer including 7 amazing years 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. I now work as a teacherpreneur (www.teacherpreneur.ca) doing the things I love such as writing, coaching and travelling. I also started another business called Happiness @ Work (www.patricepalmer.ca) where I apply the science of positive psychology and share what I have learned about well-being. I have a soft spot for teachers so I have developed workshops on self-care and currently writing a book on this important topic.
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