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Interview with LELTA


When did the idea for an English teacher association emerge?

A local English teachers forum was the initial idea thrown around by me and Kennon Ballou a few years ago. Then as now it was recognised that there was a real lack of independent training let alone run by the educational or language establishments, schools. After visiting some English Language Teaching Association Berlin Brandenberg events two years ago,and a visit from David Meier (English Teaching Matters) to Leipzig, I initially decided to test the water in the local area mainly for interest. David Meier and ELTABB offered their support at the stage when we officially want to become a organization.

I ran an event on 18th October 2008 included the diverse themes of web-quests, recording vocabulary, Financial English and generating discussions. The attendance was good and the the discussions lively. In "009 i brought in two experienced editors to launch a quarterly newsletter. Since then I have struggled to get the right team together, and also it took a back burner while I concentrated on my own professional and company development. However since returning for the Business English Specialist Interest Group conference in Poznan, Poland I had the idea of a third attempt to get the ball rolling. These would require a proactive team in the background, as well as active event participants and individuals willing to pay membership in order to enable self sufficient financing.

How many English language teachers do you estimate live and work in the Leipzig area?

These figures would be hard to second guess as at the moment I predominately work in the Higher Education and Business English markets. The guestimate would have to combine non-native English speakers, English ex-pats, Kindergarden, Primary, Secondary School, International School, General English teachers as well as Business English trainers. However the market has boomed and become more competitive since 2001, when I arrived, with higher demands and less of the "passing through native English speakers that teach".

How did you come up the name for your organization?

The name was a bit awkward as the idea was to try to reflect the wider catchment area of Saxony, Saxon-Anhalt and Thuringia. However there is the issue of avoiding a name that clashes with the other existing German eltas. The solution was to concentrate on Leipzig as a hub within the catchment area, hence Leipzig English Language Teachers Association.

Why is the organization non-profit?

The organization needs to be set as non-profit to avoid any corporate interference or bias, as fundamentally it is there for the teachers and trainers and would benefit from association with the national ELTA's as well as International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language.

How often do plan to run workshops, seminars and other events?

It would be ideal to run at least three events within a yearly quarter, changing the themes and the format to try to cover as diverse a market and ideas/ resources exchange as possible.

How would you describe the main benefits for English teachers and trainer joining LELTA?

Let's discuss what is in place initially, and then what may come with the right vision, team in place and pro-active trainers.

Initially the members will receive a quarterly newsletter, free or concessionary entrance to LELTA run events, exchange of ideas and resources with trainer community in Saxony/Saxon Anhalt, online presence including as well as social/business networking, what everyone is tweeting about these days. Also old school physical networking at events and such like as well as information concerning teaching related matters.
If all goes well with setting up the e.V. then access to German ELTA network (INTERELTA), especially good connections with ELTABB, BESIG, access to publication opportunities (reading and writing) like ELTA newsletters, English Teaching Matters, information concerning training opportunities and ELTA events, not just LELTA, jobs board, vacancies and subbing, assistance and support with German authorities, help with German language and culture and relocation assistance. This would be a full fledged vision come true, but there are benchmark examples out there like ELTABB, so we can aim high.

What are LELTA's goals and objectives for 2013?

The regular newsletter, a Internet presence, two workshops per quarter, paid membership of at least 30 and wise e.V. registration, that is about it.

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