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Interview s Ianem

Good morning! Over the last two weeks Mr. Ian Wood has joined our staff to lead the traditional Active English Weeks at our school. This time the students of the final year (Oktáva and 4A) and of Year 11 (Sexta and 2A) got the possibility to test their knowledge of English with a native speaker. On the very last day of his stay here we asked him a few questions and here are his answers. So let us introduce you to Mr. Ian Wood.

Good morning, Ian. May we ask you to tell us something about you? Where exactly are you from?

I come from Aberdeen, the third largest city in Scotland. It is the main centre for Britain’s oil industry. It is on the coast, at the same latitude as Moscow, so it is very cold.

What music do you listen to? Are you musical? Do you play any instrument?

I do not play any instrument but I enjoy music a lot. I listen to many different kinds of music, the 70s like Rolling Stones, the Doors. But I also listen to techno, blues, American blues.

Are you into sport?

As a spectator I love rugby. I play tennis but I am not very good.

So do you support Andy Murray?

Of course I do. He is an excellent player. It is interesting, every time he wins, he is British. Every time he loses, he is Scottish.

How long have you been teaching English outside the UK?

I stared teaching in 1996, so I have been teaching for twenty years now. September to June I work abroad and in summer I usually return to Britain to teach at summer schools. There are great numbers of students, especially young people, who want to learn English and the numbers are increasing.

Why did you join the organisation? / What made you decide to teach abroad?

The organisation is called SIDAS Language School. They send me abroad. I simply love travelling. This is my second year in the Czech Republic. Later this year I am going to teach in Slovakia and next year in Hungary.

Before I became an English teacher I worked in Scotland. The job was called computerised stock control. It was well-paid but then in my early thirties I began travelling. I went to Asia (China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Russia) and I suddenly realised I did not want to carry on doing my old job. So I looked for a job, that would give me opportunity to work abroad. I went back to university to qualify as an English teacher and I also started learning Spanish.

So your first teaching job was in Spain.

No, actually it was in Saudi Arabia.

How many countries have you taught in so far?

In about ten countries.

Which one, you have not been to so far, would you like to visit and teach in?

I would love to get back and teach in Mexico, Columbia. New Zealand is a country I have never been to. I hope to visit it one day. However, it is quite difficult to get a teaching job there. They have enough native speakers.

Would you say that students around the world are similar or different?

They have similarities but people around the world are very different. The cultures, behaviour and cultural background vary greatly around the globe. I am happy to say that the behaviour of young Czech people is much better than in the UK. People here are more civilized and students have a better attitude to learning.

What has been the most emotional experience from your journeys so far?

Last year I broke my arm. I had to be operated in Prague. Thank God, everything went well. The staff were helpful and kind. Your standard of health care is really high.

What do you think about Brexit?

Well, I think it is the worst decision Britain has made in a hundred years! People of Scotland would have remained in Europe. The consequence of it might be the break-up of Great Britain.

What do you like best about the Czech Republic?

The beer! I was surprised how many different kinds of beer you have. There are so many small breweries. My favourite one, though, is definitely Pilsner Urquell on draught. Last year in London a pint cost me about 180 crowns, so here I enjoyed it twice as much for a sixth of the price.

I also admire the countryside and people. Outside Prague they are really kind and helpful. Prague is impersonal like every large city.

Have you picked up any Czech over the last two weeks?

Very little. I can say a few words like “Děkuji.” “Prosím.” “Dobrý den.” but my pronunciation is reasonably good, I would say.

What are your long-term plans?

To stay alive as long as I can in good health.

Do you want to carry on travelling and teaching?

Definitely!

Thank you very much for your time and answers. We wish you all the best for the future.

Thank you. Same to you.

Questions by Oktáva + 4A, answers proofread and authorised by Ian Wood.