Believe it or not, I became a teacher by pure chance back in the early 90s. Like many young people straight out of high school, I lacked a clear idea about what I wanted to do in life, but one thing was sure; I was in love with the English language and had always been fascinated by languages in general.
Thus, choosing an English Philology major at university seemed like the obvious choice. At the time I started my university studies, the local school that I had just graduated from was looking for an English teacher, as English was in high demand at that time. I applied, thinking I stood no chance whatsoever, and, to my surprise, was offered my very first ten-month contract.
I had no teaching experience, but I must have been able to somehow transmit my love for English to those students because I was offered a permanent contract the following year and continued teaching at that same school for the following 10 years.
In the meantime, I graduated from university with a Master’s degree in English Philology and a TESOL specialization (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).
In 1998, my son was born, and five years later, we moved to Sofia, where I started working for a US international school that served the needs of the diplomatic corps and high-profile corporate executives.
I absolutely loved the beautiful mixture of diverse cultures and ethnic backgrounds (over 35 nationalities were represented among the student body!) Ten more wonderful years of professional and personal growth, rubbing shoulders with some amazing colleagues, and building lasting friendships with people from all over the world.
Then, in 2013, I moved to Italy, and for the first time in my life, I began considering changing the job I had loved for twenty years... No sooner had I started applying for a teaching position, than I realized the harsh reality of the language teaching industry in the country (in other parts of Europe too, I later found out).
State schools were practically inaccessible and burdened with endless waitlists, rigged “concorsi”, and disheartening red tape.
Private language schools offered provisional or no contracts, teachers there felt underpaid and unappreciated, which led to a frequent turnover, and there was blatant discrimination on the basis of the origin of birth. Most language schools around the country were hiring "native English speakers only" (often with no teaching or linguistic degree or experience) and a passport was worth more than a teaching qualification.
As a result, I met a great number of demotivated English learners. People who had been studying the language for years yet were stuck at the basics, obsessed with grammar rules, struggling with pronunciation, and lacking the confidence to communicate in English. Brilliant professionals who were successful in their careers, but who felt inadequate for not yet speaking English.
After seven years of precarity, having worked for various language schools and Cambridge exam centers across Italy, defying the native-speaker-teacher stereotype, and dealing with a faulty, stale education system, I decided that enough was enough.
In the meantime, I obtained yet another teaching qualification, Cambridge DELTA, one of the most prestigious advanced TEFL/TESOL qualifications in the world, ranking as a level seven qualification (the same as a Master’s) in the UK.
I was determined to help those demotivated people in a better way and offer them an alternative to the money-making, forever-language-learning matrix:
a more personalized, meaningful, relevant, and efficient learning experience.
So, in 2020, “gently” nudged by the pandemic, I took a leap of faith and set up my own teaching business. It was one of the best decisions I’d ever made in my life!
I am currently working from home as a self-employed online English teacher and business owner, offering an alternative to the traditional textbook-driven, teacher-centered, one-size-fits-all type of language learning.
Not being constrained by a school-imposed curriculum, I can now respond to people’s specific needs and offer them learner-paced, personalized programs that inspire curiosity, autonomy, and self-expression.
The two communicative approaches I use, Dogme ELT and Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT), are both holistic, responsive, student-centered, conversation-driven, and with a focus on meaning.
My mission is to help people level up their English and confidently speak their minds in global conversations.
Anna Bordet, Italy
"Bistra is the best English teacher I have met!
She is competent not only linguistically, but also didactically and pedagogically. From a human point of view, she is wonderful, and she knows how to put you at ease immediately. She is sensitive, capable, and just, and I would recommend her to everyone because she is truly at the top."
Claudio Leocata, Italy
"Bistra has the charisma to make you love this language. You learn to speak English without realizing that you are studying.
She applies a lot of fun teaching methods and she knows how to enrich one's vocabulary with new words and expressions. She has invaluable professional skills and she knows how to use them in the interest of those who want to speak this language."
Ramune M, Lithuania
“I feel more confident and comfortable expressing myself now, and I understand authentic videos more easily.
I really like Bistra’s teaching style; she always explains everything clearly and gives extra phrases which are very useful. She fully engages me in learning. She’s a professional and dedicated teacher.”