Celebrating ILAC Teachers: Melissa Johnson

The experience of being at ILAC is more important than anything else.

I tell my students that the most important thing they should do is come to class and participate. Showing up and then connecting with each other is the way that they will profit most from their stay in Canada. ILAC offers students a great experience + learning English, which will lead to personal growth and success in their future lives and careers. Who wouldn’t want that?

Coming to ILAC feels like coming home.

Despite its size, ILAC has a small family atmosphere with a friendly, vibrant, fun feel. Our teachers come from a variety of cultural and educational backgrounds and truly love teaching and helping students achieve their goals. I myself focus first on getting to know my students and having them get to know each other really well by creating a variety of dynamic, interactive activities, which of course other teachers do as well.  I focus first on connection, on the people, and second on language.

Melissa has been teaching at ILAC for over 15 years and currently leads workshops for teachers on the power and importance of connection.

I encourage my students to find things in common with each other and get together outside of class.

Sometimes we even plan a night out for karaoke or dinner. Outside of the classroom, students have a lot of support and opportunities and can speak with ambassadors that speak their own language. Our activity staff, both ILAC and the tour company ISX, organize a variety of activities and trips to local tourist sites and surrounding cities, as well as seasonal events like camping, maple syrup trips, ski trips, and special ILAC events like picnics, karaoke, boat cruises and meet and greet parties for new students.

It can be scary to come alone to a foreign country all by yourself and learn a new language. 

Right away, students at ILAC are made to feel welcome and they quickly learn that they are not alone; they are all in the same boat and there are so many people around them at ILAC to help them learn and enjoy the experience with.  I started at ILAC over 15 years ago and I immediately felt welcome.  Everyone was so friendly to me: my managers, the directors, my trainers, other teachers, and of course the students.

As a teacher day to day, what keeps me going is my students.  They inspire me.

Meeting people who have made the decision to come to another country away from their family (and their food!) for a time to follow what is often a life-long dream is inspiring.  It blows me away to hear how much planning and sacrifice some students have to make just to come here for a few months. My students are always coming and going, so I am constantly meeting new people and that keeps my job fresh.  Even though I teach some lessons over and over, the group is always different so it’s never the exact same lesson twice.  The students make the class.

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