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Embassy English 21 December 2017 - by Tim Burrell, English Teacher, Embassy English Auckland

Embassy Teachers: Tim Burrell, Embassy Auckland

Students choose to study at Embassy English because they want to improve their English language skills with the most qualified teachers. Our diverse teaching staff is dedicated to helping students achieve their goals with fun and engaging interactive classes that help students learn English quickly and easily. We promise to give our students guaranteed outcomes, invaluable skills and amazing experiences that last a lifetime. Recently we caught up with Tim Burrell, English Teacher at Embassy Auckland, to learn more about his passion for teaching and why New Zealand is great for international students. 

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I was born and raised in Auckland. I went to the University of Waikato in Hamilton and studied classical singing. I then returned to Auckland and did my CELTA (Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults) in May 2012. I then spent nearly two years in Austria teaching English and learning German and singing.

I returned in July 2015, and started working at Embassy English in October.  That means I’ve been working at Embassy for just over two years. That time has gone ridiculously quickly!

What is your favorite part of your job at Embassy English?

I really love organising and going on Friday trips.

Recently, I organised a new trip to Nikau Cave. The cave is on a farm an hour and a half south-west of Auckland. It’s such a beautiful cave with impressive formations and glowworms. It’s also a challenge as there are no man-made structures in the cave and you have to walk through a small stream and negotiate rocks. The tour takes around an hour and a half. Most of the students had never been in a cave before, but they all managed so well.

The trip was challenging to organise in so many ways, but the result was so satisfying.  A lot of students have said that it was the best trip they’ve ever been on with Embassy.  Nobody wanted to go home. The landscape is so beautiful where the cave is, and the weather was perfect.

It’s so great that the school can take students to places they would probably never go to otherwise.

We’re so lucky in Auckland that there is so much to do within an hour’s drive. I’m constantly thinking of new ideas for trips, so watch this space!

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Can you share a story about how you have personally helped a student reach his or her goals?

I can think of so many examples. One that really comes to mind is a Colombian student that was moved into my low elementary class from a higher elementary class. He was really upset with this decision initially. However, he eventually realised it was for the best.

He became a really big fan of my teaching, and I also really enjoyed teaching him. I taught him for about four months and his English is really quite good now.  He was so thankful when he left. It is always so wonderful to get that recognition from students you teach.

I find working with low level students extremely satisfying because you can develop good habits from the beginning.

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What advice would you give a student starting their first day in your city?

You have taken a very brave step to come to Auckland. You have possibly made enormous financial sacrifices to be here. You have possibly quit your job and want to upskill to get better one.

You’ll probably feel a lot of pressure and be very nervous. Try to relax as much as possible. There are lots of other students in the same position as you. Not many people in the world get this opportunity, so settle for nothing less than excellence in your studies.

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Do you have any tips for success in reaching student’s English speaking goals?

Think before you speak. Slow down when you speak, it’s not a race. Try to apply what you have learned. Don’t try to over-complicate things.

Pay close attention to your pronunciation as well, as this affects not only your speaking, but your listening as well.

Above all, try to speak English as much as possible and immerse yourself in New Zealand culture.

Join a club or find a new hobby and speak English with the people you meet.

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What should a student know about the staff at your centre?

I have wonderful colleagues. Everyone is so welcoming and friendly. The staff will happily answer any questions or address any problems you may have. All the teachers are excellent, yet they all have very individual styles.

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Anything else you’d like to add?

Although teaching is the main thing I do at the moment, I’m still involved in singing, both as a soloist and in choirs.

In July, I performed as a soloist with orchestra in a concert that was free for students. About 40 students and three staff members came to the performance! I couldn’t believe how many students came, and they were all blown away by the whole performance.

Another memorable performance was at school last year to raise money for the earthquake in Ecuador. I got a standing ovation for that performance, which was truly humbling.

I’m so grateful for all the support I get.


To learn more about studying English at exciting Embassy English Auckland, contact us today!

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Embassy English promises that students will reach their English speaking goals; ensuring a better career, education and LIFE as a global citizen. Students from around the world and of all English speaking levels take classes, experience culture and put their lessons to use at Embassy English Study Centres in the USA, UK, Australia and Canada.
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