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‘I’ve been teaching for 22 years now and watching people grow is what motivates me.’
Erick remembers being a young inexperienced English teacher in a primary school in Peru 20 years ago, where he had to rely on the support of the older teachers around him. Two decades later he has come a long way and now teaches Cambridge English Qualifications at all levels. He also trains new teachers in a language school in Mexico, which he finds very rewarding.
Looking back on his English journey, he says his very first experience of English came from an unlikely source.
The first time I really heard English was listening to Michael Jackson. Yes, Michael Jackson was my connection to English! I used to sit on the floor in my room with a cassette tape when I was about 11 years old. I’d listen to the songs, write down what I’d heard, rewind the tape and play again just to check that I got the words right! I also used to watch every movie that came out in English and two that stick in my mind were RoboCop and Rocky.
I’m from Lima and my native language is Spanish. I started learning English in school in Peru, but what I learned was very basic. I got really interested in learning English more deeply when I left high school. I went to a language school in Lima and the last part of the course was teaching methodology. At this point I realised that teaching is what really made me happy. I learned the basics of how to teach and the possibility of helping people, all kinds of people of different ages, was my motivation.
When I think of the job I’m doing now, I see I’ve come a long way.
My first job was in a primary school in Peru teaching English to fourth graders. All the other teachers around me were older and I was the inexperienced teacher. In fact, I was the only English teacher in the school, but the other teachers gave me lots of support, which was a big help. When I think of the job I’m doing now, I see I’ve come a long way. I’ve been doing lots of teacher training in Mexico, giving support not just in the language but also in teaching approaches such as frameworks and dealing with students’ parents. So right now, I’m on the other side helping teachers!
I later moved into teaching at language schools and the turning point for my career was a few years ago when I took the teaching qualification CELTA. I was in an international class, in a different country and the other teachers and my trainers were really good. It changed my life. It was the single thing that made me want more. After the course was over I went back to Peru and started applying for jobs with schools from all over the world. I got a lot of ‘no, thank yous’, mostly from Europe. I then got two ‘yeses’ from IH Monterrey and IH Russia. I did interviews and got job offers for both! I then had to decide where I wanted to go, and I eventually took the job in Mexico. In two weeks, I went to the interviews, accepted a job, quit my job in Lima and bought my plane tickets!
I’ve been teaching for 22 years now and watching people grow is what motivates me. I teach business English to top executives who say ‘thank you, I can now do something with English I couldn’t do before!’ That’s a big motivation. During the course of my life I got the chance to go to the US, which was great because I have a lot of family there. It was a programme that gives Latin American companies the chance to showcase their businesses and I got the chance to represent a friend’s company. It was a big test for me as it was my first time in an English-speaking country. When I was there, I visited Philadelphia. I also took the opportunity to run up the famous Rocky steps from the movie – so yes, I really did climb the ladder!
Next, I would like to travel the world. I have family in Japan, I’m half Japanese on my mother’s side. I feel I need to go, not just to visit relatives but to learn from that side of the family too.
My journey hasn’t been easy at times, not everything has been a bed of roses. There were times where I was unemployed and did not really know what to do or where to turn. However, I always knew I had to do my very best if I wanted to achieve something in life. I never really had the chance to go to university because my parents couldn’t afford it. I know lots of people who have that financial support, but do not enjoy what they do. So, I would say my greatest achievement is being where I am now as a teacher, because right now I have the life I want to have as a result of all the effort I’ve made throughout my life.
About Erick Alexis Maguiño Matusaki
Erick obtained CELTA in 2016 in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Train the Trainer in 2020. He now works at IH Monterrey as Director of International Exams and Teacher Trainer.
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