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You know what I love about teaching online?

By | TOEFL iBT | No Comments

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Teaching online has allowed people around the world to open their homes to me.

Every day I get to connect with people from different countries and cultures. They share their hopes and dreams and trust me with their future. What a privilege! As you can imagine, I take this very seriously.

Last fall when I gave my Writing Workshop I had students from California, Chicago, China, Turkey and the Philippines all sign-on together as I hosted our lessons live from France!

Most of you know that I’m an American from New York with over 16 years experience as a teacher. I started teaching in the New York City public school system, then I moved to Spain and became a professional ESL teacher. I taught in China for 3 years and now I’m in France teaching English and preparing students for the TOEFL iBT online from my tiny office in the countryside. Isn’t technology amazing?

Even during my first year as a teacher in New York City I realized that this new profession meant I suddenly became a mentor, friend, mother, sister, confidant, support system, role-model and source of inspiration and positive energy.

I give 110% to my students and they in turn give me their trust and allow me to guide them. I take this relationship very seriously. If it works and we both give an equal amount of energy then they are successful.

My private lessons aren’t for everyone. I know that. My schedule is often very full and I have to limit my hours online so that I can spend time with my family and take care of myself.

Setting limits is very important to me and I often have to teach my students how to set limits for themselves. I help them get organized, I guide them and organize their time so they know when to study different parts of the exam and how to stay on track. I remind them to ask for help and to spend time with their family, friends and themselves.

This month I’m leading some group classes so that I can reach out and help more students with the Writing Section of the TOEFL iBT.

These classes are designed to give you the tools you need to create a high scoring essay. It is not an easy fix that will teach you a secret trick to beating TOEFL. After I teach you the strategies you need to practice! Preparing for TOEFL takes time, effort and energy. I put these classes together to be able to reach more people at once.

If this post speaks to you and you would like to join, just choose your day and click the link below.

    

➡️ Wednesday classes will be held at 11:00AM CET.

➡️ Saturday classes are for women only and will be held at 16:00PM CET.

If you are a man and you are interested in a Saturday class please send me an email with your location and time preference so I can offer something for you in the spring.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I look forward to guiding you through your TOEFL journey!

To find out more about the Integrated Writing Workshop, click HERE



🍃✨Classes are starting this week! ✨🌿

R29 L28 S26 W28! Esteban Says Adios to TOEFL iBT!!!

By | Speaking 26+, TOEFL iBT | No Comments

 

I guess now it is my turn to tell my story. I am still very excited after receiving my results and I can’t believe that my life doesn’t have TOEFL anymore.

 

First, let me tell you about me. My name is Esteban Yong Rodríguez. I am a pharmacist from Costa Rica. Since very early in University I wanted to have an international experience working in another country and perhaps following a clinical residency. I always thought it is important to travel and to study to be able to be a better professional and to have a broader knowledge. After writing e-mails for a couple of years I got my opportunity to follow a shadowing program in a Hospital in the US. I loved it and I wanted to be part of that system. Despite several family and working issues in my home country, I took the pharmacy exam in November 2012 and I passed, I couldn’t believe it, I was so happy. After that, I had to return home to continue working and to study for the TOEFL exam.

I was very confident because I felt my English was very good since I was an exchange student in Canada and US while I was in high school. I knew my limitations but I felt pretty sure of my skills. I studied for 2 months in Costa Rica taking some classes and I went to the US to take the Exam. I felt so insecure and nervous at that time. I knew I did awful and the results confirmed those feelings. I felt I needed more practice, so I took an internet class in one of those “popular sites”. I thought, this is perfect I only need to follow a formula and I’ll be ready to move on. Well…that didn’t work out. I felt very frustrated and I knew it was time to take bigger risks.

I quit my job and I moved to US for some time to study. I took TOEFL classes in an English school for foreigners. After two months, I was a little disappointed because the classes weren’t effective. I took the exam and I failed again. So, I started going to public libraries finding new books to study TOEFL by myself. I was feeling desperate because my savings were running out, I took TOEFL three times in a row and I kept failing and my baby was going to be born soon in CR. I knew no matter what I needed to return before she was born. I felt I was getting closer to reaching my target score of S26 but I was always failing at something. I found out about Jamie and English Success Academy  just days before my last exam. In a desperate attempt I contacted her but I only had one class with her before the exam. My time and money ran out and I had to come back.

I contacted Jaime again in January 2017, I felt this was my year and my last chance before my exam expired. Now I had new goals, to show my daughter that you need to be persistent in life and if I finished this process, I could offer her more options for her future. I was glad Jamie remembered me and she soon connected me with Sierra, one of the teachers who trained with her. I knew this time I needed to do things different and follow the advice of a professional.

Before meeting Sierra, my plan was to quit my job again and go back  the U.S. to study harder. I was convinced I needed to live in an English speaking country in order to get my scores. However, I was very surprised when Sierra said that I should stay in Costa Rica.  I hesitated and told her twice I was willing to take that risk, but she said that at this time, she didn’t believe it was necessary and actually it might just create more stress. So, I trusted her even though I had my doubts.  I had to arrange my life to be able to study, work (48 hours a week) and take care of my family, my dogs and exercise. I had to learn to get up at 3:30 or 4:00am to study. I studied almost every single morning, sometimes 30 minutes or sometimes 2 hours. I started going by bike to work 2 or 3 times a week to exercise during that time and to release stress. I stopped some of my family activities during the weekends.

Sierra was always very well organized, way more than me. I had to follow all her instructions and she helped me to arrange my schedule. We had to work on tiny but difficult details, like individual sounds, rhythm and intonation. I felt like a baby learning to talk again. I used to work and do all this funny sounds. I felt like I was the character Rocky Balboa sometimes, but instead of exercising my whole body, I was working out my mouth.

I took the first practice exam like 3 months after we started working, in May. The results weren’t great but I knew I still needed to improve some details like to learn how to manage my anxiety during test conditions and work on time management. So I kept working hard.

Sierra was always telling me, “you are making great progress, we beat one sound, we have another one to go. Let’s keep working hard.”

When August was approaching Sierra told me it was almost time to take another practice exam. I felt I wasn’t completely ready and I wasn’t aware of my progress but Sierra was and she knew it was the right time for another practice exam. Reminding myself that it was just practice, I took the exam and even though I felt I didn’t do so well, I felt relaxed and confident at the same time. For the first time I got a 26 on speaking. Even though it was just a practice exam I was extremely happy with those results; I felt I was finally getting very close to my goal and Sierra assured me that I was ready.

Finally, it was time to schedule my official exam. We knew a key point in my case was to feel relaxed and confident. I bought a plane ticket to Miami and I scheduled an exam in Miami and another one in Chicago. It was important for me to feel that I had more chances to take the exam again. I could not study as much as I wanted because I had a lot going on with my family and Sierra told me not to worry, she said,

“You are ready, you have been ready for weeks, your practice exam was not a matter of luck, there is no such thing as luck in TOEFL” Now I realized training for a TOEFL exam is like running a marathon, once you are able to run 42k, you can do it again, again and again as long as you keep training and stay positive.

So, my last exam came. I took pictures of the place and the airport as if I were a child. I tried to look for positive signs everywhere. I followed Sierra’s advice and went to the exam center the day before. I actually felt good there and I tried to picture myself the next day. Sierra was with me the whole trip asking for details, making a plan.  She was the one worried about all the logistics, like the one in control of the operations room and I focused on  just trying to enjoy my ride. So I took the exam, I followed all her rules, I smiled and said jokes to the people in the exam center, I wrote smiley faces on all the pages and later I found out I got: R29, L28, S26, W28 for a total of 111

R29, L28, S26, W28 Total: 111! Wow!!!

TOEFL has been a journey, when I got my results I was at work in Costa Rica. I was so happy, but no one could really understand me, I had to call my family and I wrote to Sierra.

I have never studied so hard for one exam, I never felt so disappointed in myself and so proud later. I definitely have a story to tell to my daughter one day.

I used to wish that I had passed TOEFL at the very beginning, but now I realized I learned so much on this journey. I learned how to be persistent, how to wake up very early and I proved to my family that I can reach my goals. Also, I found new friends, among which, there is Sierra, who is like the Yoda of TOEFL and now I am her Obi-Wan Kenobi. Now, I wish you the best.

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations Esteban! 111 on his TOEFL iBT and a Speaking 26!

By | Speaking 26+, TOEFL iBT | No Comments

One of my hard working pharmacists just got his results back from the TOEFL IBT exam he took this month.

His total score is 111! Most importantly, he reached his goal of Speaking 26 and now he can work as a pharmacist in the United States!

Esteban came to me with very high reading and listening skills. We worked together on his topic development, grammar, and time management skills before moving on to Delivery. During the accent reduction part of our classes we worked on the pronunciation of individual phonemes (sounds), rhythm, intonation and pacing. What a journey this has been! We started in February and have been working together online twice a week for close to 7 months. A special thanks to Jaime Miller from English Success Academy for connecting us! Felicidades Esteban! Lo lograste! I’m so proud of you!

Apart from the test-taking strategies and accent reduction work we did, prepping for the TOEFL exam involves a lot of motivation, coaching and support. He’ll be telling you all about his experience very soon! Just look at these scores!

Reading 29, Listening 28, Speaking 26 and Writing 28!

Congratulations Esteban! All your hard work paid off!
Vamos! Ahora hay que celebrar!

Enrollment is open! Sign up today for the Integrated Writing Workshop today!

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Imagine feeling completely prepared and confident the day of the exam!

This workshop is a place to finally discover what has been holding you back from a high score on the Integrated writing section of the TOEFL iBT exam. Become part of a safe community with other students who are striving for the same goals. I have designed this workshop so that professionals can learn the skills they need to get a high score on the TOEFL Exam. Imagine being able to walk into the TOEFL exam without feeling overwhelmed.

 


Sign up HERE for the TOEFL Integrated Writing Workshop!


REQUIREMENTS

Background:
Basic knowledge of the TOEFL iBT exam

Minimum Scores:
Reading and Listening Scores of 22+

Team Spirit:
Willingness to share your essay with other students. During this workshop we will critique and correct your essay live in class!

Generosity:
At the end of the workshop you will take home 4-6 high scoring Integrated essays from your peers. You are encouraged to share your final draft with the group as well!

A positive attitude and a smile!

COMMITMENT

Attendance:
To get the most out of your investment, please attend all 4 sessions:
September 9th,
September 16th
September 23rd
September 30th

Homework: All homework assignments are due on the Wednesday before class. If you don’t turn in your writing you can still attend, but we won’t be able to critique or correct it.

Payment: Payment in full for the Workshop must be received by Wednesday, September 6th

Confidentiality: Please do not share the material received during the workshop with students who have not paid to attend.

PRICE

96 Euros: 24€ per session

Sign up today to join a group of motivated learners like yourself who are ready to finish TOEFL and move on with their life.

 

Learn more about the workshop HERE!


 

 

 

TOEFL Integrated Writing Workshop Starting September 9th

By | TOEFL iBT | No Comments

Is your writing score on the TOEFL exam holding you back professionally?

Imagine feeling completely prepared and confident the day of the exam!


 

 

Sign up HERE for the TOEFL Integrated Writing Workshop!

 

REQUIREMENTS

Background:
Basic knowledge of the TOEFL iBT exam

Minimum Scores:
Reading and Listening Scores of 22+

Team Spirit:
Willingness to share your essay with other students. During this workshop we will critique and correct your essay live in class!

Generosity:
At the end of the workshop you will take home 4-6 high scoring Integrated essays from your peers. You are encouraged to share your final draft with the group as well!

A positive attitude and a smile!

COMMITMENT

Attendance:
To get the most out of your investment, please attend all 4 sessions:
September 9th,
September 16th
September 23rd
September 30th

Homework: All homework assignments are due on the Wednesday before class. If you don’t turn in your writing you can still attend, but we won’t be able to critique or correct it.

Payment: Payment in full for the Workshop must be received by Wednesday, September 6th

Confidentiality: Please do not share the material received during the workshop with students who have not paid to attend.

Sign up today to join a group of motivated learners like yourself who are ready to finish TOEFL and move on with their life.

 


Sign up HERE!


 

 

 

Congratulations Marwa on your S28 on the TOEFL iBT!

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

I met Marwa in February of 2017 when she was fumbling around in the dark, trying to tackle TOEFL all by herself. She knew she needed help but she felt overwhelmed by all the options available and didn’t want to waste her time.

She booked her first lesson with me and I helped demystify the Independent Speaking section of the TOEFL iBT. She sent me two speaking files – one for Task 1 and one for Task 2. She also sent me her notes and the transcripts of these speaking files. I gave her a detailed Score Analysis of these two responses and gave her feedback on her strengths and weaknesses. We focused on Topic Development, Language Use and Delivery – the 3 categories that she was going to be graded on in the Speaking section of the TOEFL iBT exam. I gave her specific suggestions on how to improve each one of those elements so she could raise her score from a S24 to a S26.

She told me she was impressed with my organization and knowledge of the exam and that she wanted to book another class so we could discuss the Integrated speaking section. I told her she  had to choose either Tasks 3&5 or Tasks 4&6 because it was too much to cover in just one 60-minute class. She then realized on her own that if she really wanted to make progress and reach her goals, she should purchase a package of lessons. We worked together for about 4 months and on June 24th she took her exam.

She got Reading 26, Listening 27, Writing 25 and Speaking 28!

 

“I can’t describe how I felt when I saw my results, I cried, I laughed, and I felt like I’m going to burst out of happiness, and the funniest thing is that I woke up my kids two minutes after seeing my results at 5 a.m. Thanks to Sierra and everyone on English Success Academy without their help, I would have never pass the TOEFL obstacle. Now, I can fulfill my dream and press the “go” button on my life.”

 

 

Read more about Marwa’s experience in her own words here below…

My name is Marwa, I’m from Sudan and I have been living in the U.S. for almost 12 years now. I’m a mom of 4 kids, 2 soccer loving boys and twin daughters who are almost three years old. I talked about my kids because I want you to imagine how busy my life is, and If you think you’re busy and you can’t do it, just remember me a mom with 4 kids, who runs around all day long to and from soccer practices, playgroups and physical therapy for her daughters, got more than 26 speaking after a long struggle with TOEFL.

My first time taking TOEFL was way back in 2008, it was good but I didn’t get the required score. So I decided to move on to the FPGEE and since my scores weren’t that bad, I kept telling myself I will get the score if I took it one more time and I’ll be lucky. I took FPGEE in 2012 and was a piece of cake for me and I went back to TOEFL and took it for the second time,  but the surprise that my scores wasn’t good enough. I was so disappointed on myself and I decided to go for a pharmacy tech certificate and my goal was to add a writing class and a keyboarding class in addition to the phramcy tech classes. I tried taking TOEFL  for the third time, and luck wasn’t on my side this time either, my scores were 24 and 22 on Speaking and Writing respectively.  After getting my results, I was so devastated and I lost hope in fullfilling my dream of being a pharmacist.  I had a new plan this time which is forgetting about being a pharmacist and finding something else, so I went back to college and I earned a certificate in  Basic office skills. All the jobs that I applied for needs 4+ years of experience and my twin daughters were so young at that time, so I thought may be I need to rethink my plan and try to make my dream come true this time. In addition, my FPGEE is going to be expired soon and of course, it is imposible to study again and retake FPGEE.

I took it again for the fourth time and my scores were the same as my last one, 24 on S and 22 on W.  I knew at that time there was something wrong but I didn’t know what it was, as we all know the score reports are not helpful because they are so general.  For all those previous tests I studied by myself because I didn’t think that I need a professional help and I thought that I don’t need to spend any money on preparing for TOEFL. After my fourth time, I knew that I needed to change how I study for TOEFL and try something new. I kept looking online for anything that can help, there were so many options, and to be honest I choose English Success Academy before reading any reviews. I wanted to try it first and see if I like their teaching style or not. I booked my lessons with Sierra, she is so kind, enthusiastic, passionate about teaching, and caring too. She made me feel very comfortable and gave me confident in myself from the first class and supported me emotionally the whole time. I took classes with Sierra over a period of three months and over this short period I felt that I improved a lot. Sierra’s method of teaching is so creative: creating more thoughtful flash cards which contain way more information other than words and meanings, tackeling each task separately and after perfecting it move th the next, bulletin board for all speaking tasks flash cards, helpfull videos on pronounciation, strategies and tips on writing which are totally different from all other sources and books that I saw in the past five years. Jaime’s books, 24+ writing and The Advanced Speaking Guide, are two the best books because they’re concise and they cover everything you need to know to get the 24 and 26 on writing and speaking. Also, Sierra helped me alot by creating a shedule for what to do each day so I can spend time working on all tasks and to not foreget about Reading and listening. Sierra’s advice was to practice a lot and rest the last week before the test, and on the test day smile and be confident and believe in yourself.

I did exactly as Sierra told me, I was smiling the whole time and I felt confident that I can get it this time. 10 days later, at 4:58 in the morning, I  had my score report and it was amazing: R:26, L:27, the surprise S:28, and finally W:25. I can’t describe how I felt when I saw my results, I cried, I laughed, and I felt like I’m going to burst out of happiness, and the funniest thing is that I woke up my kids two minutes after seeing my results at 5 a.m. Thanks to Sierra and everyone on English Success Academy without their help, I would have never pass the TOEFL obstacle. Now, I can fulfill my dream and press the “go” botton on my life.

Congratulations Marwa! I’m so proud of you!

Don't miss out on news about my videos and workshops!

Are you ready to improve your English today?


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