Skip to content

Behind the curtains

Janine Bray-Mueller

Janine Bray-Mueller, Freelance Teacher, Trainer and Coach

Hello! to all Freelance Teachers wherever you are!

 

This is me! The photo on the right →

 

There are some people who were curious and were wondering who is the person behind the FTT curtains? Especially about the reason why I started this website. So without too much preamble, let’s start with the private me — my hobbies and interests.

My hobbies and interests?

Some people have a million hobbies and interests. They can play the piano and do swing dancing, paragliding or skydiving and raise miniature pigs. Now I have to admit that piglets may be sweet to look at and to hold in your arms, but I have always focused on other things. No one could tell me when I started to read, but since I began reading, books have been my refuge and strength. My constant companion.

I cannot live without my books

Books have always been good friends. I read so much as a child (think of a torch under the bed sheet) that my parents told me it might damage my eyesight. We know that is not true now, but they might have been wishing I would do more than read books. So what else is as good as books for a bookworm child?

Painting!

I turned to painting. Do you like to paint? The creative juices flow for me when I have my brushes, paper or silk, and colours all around me. I even managed to have an exhibition or two to sell my work. Here are some of my favourite paintings you can see on my walls.

Up on the dike in the Marsch - on silk

Up on the dike in the Marsch – on silk

Rumpelstiltskin by the firelight - on silk

Rumpelstiltskin by the firelight – on silk

Boat - silk painting

Boat – silk painting

Changing one’s point of view

When I wasn’t reading or painting, I climbed trees and watched the world below or the birds as they soared upwards and away. Sometimes I took my sketching pad with me, but more often I took a writing pad and pencil to write fantasy stories. Can you image sitting on a branch somewhere in a tree with a pad of paper and clutching a pen? It’s a wonderful feeling. It’s a feeling that lifts you out of a mundane life and gives you a feeling of independence; in inventing new worlds of adventure and hope, and rekindles the spirit to “Conquer the world!” I sometimes think my urge for independence was born somewhere in Dorset, England on a branch of a tree. That feeling led me to create the image of two swallows for my website. 🙂

Fascination for technology

As much as my creative spirit had a hold on me, technical things always fascinated me, too. Especially the old boarding school typewriter. It’s a pity that they would not let young boarders use it. Once, in the middle of the night I sneaked downstairs into the office, worked out how to insert the paper and typed my name. Today, a keyboard and computer are so much better!

Interest in history

I used to think the times I lived in were not as interesting as the times of my father. As a military medical doctor, he had not only travelled widely and far before the times of when catching a plane is the norm, but he had witnessed the beginnings of technology that we take for granted today — the telephone, car, and television. As I look back on my own life, I have to observe that we are still living in a very fast, exciting, technological age. We’ve since flown to the moon; we’ve progressed from telexes, to fax machines, and now we’ve the Internet. For music we have gone beyond the radio and records to CDs and DVDs, Blue Ray, and in the cinema you duck your head when space creatures swoop past. Who knows what will come up tomorrow?

Fascination for travel and other cultures

I studied foreign communications; the focus being the French language. However, I wanted to work abroad. Remember how I loved to climb trees and look far and wide? It took two years of determination and working as a temp to save enough money, catch a ferry to Belgium, and knock on company doors until I found a job in a large American conglomerate. I worked in the financial controlling department in the electronics and telecommunications group. It not only satisfied my inquiring mind about technology, but it turned out I got a special extra benefit! I found my future husband as well. 🙂

Later, when my husband took a job in Hamburg, we left Brussels to live in Germany. A new country to explore and enjoy. And today? We’ve sold up and moved to Brittany, France. 🙂 Here, we’ve found a beautiful spot in Brittany to live. We keep fit by running and maintaining a very small business by renting out the two holiday cottages (gîtes) on our property. I keep my mind active with my Entrepreneurial Freelance Teacher – Training activities. In addition to writing my books, I am also a motivational speaker at the TESOL Annual Colloquium in Paris. 🙂

Insecurity and lack of good training can sabotage your success

Whilst living in Germany, the sensible job was to teach English. After all, I was a native English speaker. However, it was my only “teacher” asset and didn’t take me long to realise this was not enough to start up a serious business. Speaking English doesn’t qualify me or anyone else to teach it. In addition, I felt insecure as a beginner teacher. How do you teach people who most likely had more qualifications than you?

A photo taken in a Greek restaurant with just two of my students

A photo taken in a Greek restaurant with just two of my students

I took pedagogical qualifications (the University of Cambridge’s CELTA and the CertTEB teaching certificates) for English teaching which did wonders for my self-confidence and my self-esteem as a genuinely qualified English teacher. It also proved to be the turning point in my head. Just like climbing trees, getting a bird’s-eye view and looking out towards new horizons I felt a rush of exhilaration. This was it!

Teaching English became my business and my passion. And I loved that nobody could fire me, unless I decided to fire myself! And yet it slowly dawned on me that this was not going to be enough…

You see… I had a waiting list of students. I didn’t think much about it, until I began to receive the odd calls from colleagues who asked me for student referrals. Why? That one question was the impulse to this website. I started a new website – one to help other freelance teachers find students and earn enough to live from their work.

Enter the Entrepreneurial Freelance Teachers – Training website.

It was through sheer persistence and doggedness in the past, coupled with my knowledge of marketing (a voluntary IATEFL Executive Committee Marketing and Sponsoring Member for 2 terms), plus a couple of jobs in the Sales and Marketing department of companies in Brussels, Belgium and in Germany), that I became a successful and established professional English teacher, trainer and coach. I even had a waiting list of students!

With well over 30 years of experience, I believe I can help other freelance teachers to achieve the same success. And I can make the time and energy to guide, care, and encourage all those who have or want to become freelance teachers, too.

So, now you know!

If you want to read how I am helping freelance teachers achieve a healthy teaching business, why don’t you now go to the most recent article (bottom of your computer screen) and read what interests you the most.

What you can do for me after you’ve read the articles

If you have enjoyed the articles on this website, I would love it if you could do one or more of the following:

  1. Recommend the article through the usual social media (e.g. Tweets, Facebook, your LinkedIn or XING groups, Digg etc.)
  2. Recommend this website to your colleagues and friends

It will help me give you the answers to your questions and help me know that I am on the right track.

Most of all, I would really love to hear from you! Tell me what you think about a website that is helping other freelance teachers. You can also write and tell me your opinion in the comments box at the end of each article. Let me read what you have to say about these articles. Here are some ideas about what you can write in the Comment Box:

  • Was it useful?
  • Can you use the information in the article?
  • Have you seen or know of other examples?
  • What questions does the article raise for you? i.e. Are there any questions that has not been answered in your opinion?
  • What objections do you have about the information in the article?
  • Do you agree (or disagree) with the article information?

Click here to send me an e-mail! I’d love to hear from you and thank you so much for responding! It certainly motivates to receive feedback. 🙂

Contact Me

==================================================

© 2014 -2015 Janine Bray-Mueller – Freiberufler / Freelancer / Self-employed

  • Newsletter (it’s free)

    You’ll receive information, ideas and tips, as well as simple and practical methods (with step-by-step instructions) on becoming an entrepreneurial freelance teacher in a professionally ethical and legal manner.

    Subscribe for the newsletter and receive your first free eReport:
    How To Find Customers And Students”.

    Emails are once every month (1st of each month).

    Newsletter Subscription