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Our Teachers - Gela Ohl

As a young matriculant, teaching was my first career choice but circumstances pushed me into a career of commerce. I have 25 years’ experience in marketing and I find the profession stimulating, dynamic and very rewarding.  There is never a dull moment.

Words have always fascinated me. It excites me when I come across a new word or read a beautiful poem. I enjoy reading and my guilty pleasure is self-help books. I am also truly happy when I travel, exploring new places and cultures and expanding my world view. Without fail just about every self-help book I’ve read advises that you should find your passion.  Do something you love and the rest will follow.  
I decided to take their advice and I started looking for something that I could do which combined my love of language with my love of travel but nothing suitable came to mind.

Then, one day, a friend mentioned that she is planning to travel the world and teach English when she retires.  A light went on for me.  I remembered that I had always wanted to teach so I enrolled in a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) course at Wits Language School (WLS). Upon completion of the course I was given the opportunity to start teaching a class of second language English speakers on a part-time basis at WLS.  I discovered that I LOVED IT.  It is a rewarding and humbling experience.  Nothing comes close to the satisfaction of seeing a student gain confidence and start using the language you have taught them.  My teaching philosophy is to give my best and I expect nothing less from my students in return.  I’m bossy like that! 

Last year I facilitated an ESP course in English for Marketing.  I remember thinking, “Does it get any better than this? The opportunity to combine my marketing skills with my love of language and my teaching skills.”  I had the best fun. A wonderful bonus was that I learned as much from my students as they did from me.  The purpose of the course is to demystify the language and expose the students to the specific terminology used in the profession so that they are able to communicate with confidence.  It’s a great course for anyone thinking of entering the marketing profession or who is totally new to the profession.  It will help to develop their professional communication skills.  Some knowledge of   marketing is not essential but it is helpful.

My plan is to teach as often as my full time work schedule permits and when I reach retirement age to travel the world and teach.  Time management is my biggest challenge currently.  It takes discipline and focus and it certainly helps to be organised.