We had the good fortune of connecting with Igor Miura and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Igor, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I have been an English teacher for the past six years. For some of these years, I have only worked for language schools, teaching classes to children, teenagers, and adults, and always following the school program and using the school books.
As I love being a teacher, and I really liked where I was in my career, in 2018 I decided to invest in teacher-development courses, and I did a course from Cambridge University called CELTA (Certificate of Language Teaching to Speakers of other languages). CELTA was a career-changing experience due to the fact that I learned that there was much more to teaching than only “teaching the students using the school’s books”.
From then on, I never felt the same again, and teaching in a school was no longer the same. Mind you, I didn’t dislike it; actually, I was quite fond of it, but I had that feeling in the back of my head that by teaching only at a language school, I would not be catering to all my students’ needs.
And there is where the dream of English With Igor was born. There are many types of students, and some of them are just not made to have classes in an environment full of other people. Some learners have quite specific goals, and a school language course will not be able to fulfill such desires. Take for instance a person that needs to give presentations at work, but has never practiced giving a presentation in English. How would a regular course help such an individual? Having this in mind, in 2019, I decided to open my own private teaching business, while still working at a regular language school.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Today, I have a private English teaching business. I teach private lessons to students who do not want to learn in big groups and like individual attention. I also teach small groups, at a maximum of four students so that I am able to provide enough attention and feedback to them.
My business is an online business, which means I can teach people all over the world; therefore, I have already taught people who live in my city, São Caetano do Sul, but I have already had a student who lived in Japan. This is what I love about online classes: you are able to break geographical barriers and be in touch with people from all over the world.
Of course that, having an online business is not an easy task, and there have been some difficult times. I remember periods of my life where I didn’t have many students, and that worried me; nevertheless, I knew I had to persist and pursue this dream of mine, which is to continue teaching private classes. Because of the challenges of this business, I have not yet been able to stop teaching at schools, neither do I know if I want to stop (teaching groups is fun too, you know); however, today I do not work for language schools anymore; rather, I work for two regular schools near my house in the morning, and work on my business in the afternoon and in the evening, which is where most of my private classes are allocated.
Besides teaching private English classes to students, my main goal is to be able to one day become a tutor. Basically, a tutor teaches teachers, but not language. A tutor teaches methods and approaches; a tutor helps teachers to develop and become better professionals. When I look at it, this is one of the things I want to do in the future, and I have been trying to cut my teeth at tutoring, so I have published two articles in teaching blogs, have delivered some training sessions in my school, have taught a teaching course in a language school in 2019, and have done two online workshops last year.
What is funny about all of this, is that even though I wish to become a teacher trainer, I do not wish to stop teaching English to students at all; nor do I want to stop teaching groups. When I look to the future, I can see myself doing all of these: teaching groups at my school, teaching private students, and being a tutor. I do not know if this is possible, but I guess I need to see what the future holds.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
São Caetano is not far from São Paulo, which is the most influential Brazilian city; however, São Caetano is quite laid back, and this is what I love about it.
So, were a friend of mine to visit the area, I would definitely take him to São Paulo, to places such as Ibirapuera’s Park, Paulista Avenue, and Liberdade – an Asian neighborhood at the heart of the city.
All of São Paulos’s attractions notwithstanding, my main goal would be to show my friend the beauty of São Caetano. Here, you can walk basically anywhere because the city is too small: its area is only 15km. So, the main places I would take my friend would be:
*Goiás Avenue: here we have the best restaurants and pubs in town.
*Kennedy Avenue: this is the place where families go on the weekend. It is calm, you can ride your bike, go jogging, walk your dog and buy ice cream and açai (one of Brazil’s typical food).
*Chico Mendes’s park: much smaller than Ibirapuera’s park, but way calmer, Chico Mendes is my favorite place in São Caetano to go and relax while having a picnic.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to dedicate my shoutout to my parents, and my wife, who have always believed in me. To Ricardo Basilio, my first English teacher and also the man who saw potential in me and hired me as a teacher. To all my tutors, who have helped me to become a better teacher, and finally, to all my students, without whom I wouldn’t be able to do what I do.