Hi, I'm Nick Vance.
Nice to Meet You!
Nick, where are you from and what do you do?
I'm was born and raised in Kentucky, a state in the US that isn't very well-known. Have you heard of it? After 18 years of living there, I moved to North Carolina to start university. After graduating, I moved on and have since lived in a lot of different places: Washington DC, California, Oregon, and now Germany. I moved to Berlin over 5 years ago and think I may have found the perfect city for me.
Luckily, no matter where I live, I can follow my passion for teaching. Why? Because of the internet!
I teach one-on-one lessons via Skype to people who want to feel more comfortable speaking English. Being able to teach online is super practical for me (I can wear my pajamas while I'm working) and for my students (they can wear whatever they want, too!). And it's awesome to be able to talk to people from all over the world. One hour I'm helping a Brazilian woman overcome her fears of speaking by talking about her childhood, the next hour I'm helping a Chinese businesswoman feel more comfortable with her accent, and the next I'm talking with a German man who wants to be able to better express his opinions when talking to his international friends. I feel quite lucky to do what I do.
Click here to sign up for a free consultation with me on Skype. You will be able to practice your English, get feedback, and learn more about taking one-on-one lessons with me.
What is your teaching philosophy?
The most important thing when learning English (or anything) is to have fun and feel comfortable. My lessons are a safe environment where you can take chances and focus on improving, not worrying about making mistakes.
It's never too late to learn a new language or improve an existing one. At the age of 26 I couldn’t say more than a few sentences in German, and now I’m fluent. And as a teacher, I’ve seen countless adult students make the same leap. Join them!
I like to focus on what's really important - the grammar and vocabulary that you will actually use. You don't need to learn every tense and conjugation, just the most common ones. It's all about being able to communicate what you want to communicate.
How did you start teaching English?
First, I just love teaching. It's definitely my passion. My first tutoring "job" was helping my older brother with his math homework when I was 13. Of course I didn't get paid, but my parents did let me live in their house for free and fed me, so I think it was ok. Over the next few years I helped a lot of people with math. And then, while I was a university student, I started coaching a swim team. That was a lot of fun, helping 4-year-olds learn how to swim and 16-year-olds improve their technique to compete at a high level.
However, for the first 25 years of my life, I never even considered teaching English. Why? Almost all of my friends, colleagues, and acquaintances were native English speakers. I hadn't done much traveling and didn't have many friends from other countries. But that was about to change. I started hanging out with a lot of travelers who were passing by San Diego, where I lived at the time. Then I took a 6-month trip to New Zealand and Australia, where I met countless backpackers from lots of different countries. And when I returned to the US and moved to Portland, Oregon, a majority of my friends there were actually German.
So what does that have to do with teaching English? Well, casually in conversation, these people would ask questions like "when do you use 'during' and when do you use 'while'?" I intuitively knew which to use when, but I hadn't studied it. So I'd think about the answer and give my best explanation. And seeing these people learn something new inspired me. It continued along this way for years, and then I thought, I should do this full-time. I took a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course, started researching the best way to explain grammar concepts to non-native speakers, and changed careers.
And I love it!
Want to see how much fun I have in my lessons? Want to see the personal connections that can be built over Skype? Want to see how that can be done while learning at the same time? Some of my students allowed me to record parts of our lessons so you can see just what happens in a lesson.