Being a Daily English Host Family by Simon Karen Ellie and Tasha, Morbihan, Brittany 15.10.2015
Simon, Ellie, Tasha and I decided to become a Host Family to earn some extra income. We hadn’t realised quite how much we would all enjoy it!
Having decided to do it, we did some research into the companies that provide the service, and into their offerings. Daily English worked best for us for many reasons. We liked the idea that the host family should have children of their own as this has many benefits for the host family, the students, and their parents. We also liked the fact that the host family should have a certain level of education, ensuring that the standards are high. We think this is important such that the children receive good tuition.
When we contacted Sally at Daily English, we found that high standards and professionalism where exactly what was required, and Sally herself is the epitome of this. She came to visit us to ensure that we as a family, and our home, were in line with the Daily English vision. As you would expect, there’s some paperwork to complete but we found this a relatively painless experience due to the efficiency and diligence of the company; all our questions and queries were dealt with swiftly.
So, we started hosting our first students in the summer of 2015. Sally assessed each of the students and made sure that they were a good fit for our family, taking into account their ages and their interests. She also ensured that the mix of students coming into our home were a good fit. When our first students were due to arrive, we made all our preparations to welcome them but still felt a little trepidation. We needn’t have worried; our first students were a delight. They settled in to our family immediately, they mixed well together, and our girls loved their company. Sally had got it just right.
We had received details in advance of the interests of the students, their needs, and their likes and dislikes of particular foods. We also received details of their level of English and their motivations. All this helped us enormously to prepare for their stay with us. Where we had any questions, they were answered fully.
Sally dealt with the travel arrangements, agreeing with us the times and places of meeting with the students, and the times of arrival where they were coming directly to our home. All very efficient, and allowing us to concentrate on the children, rather than the administration.
I was a little daunted by the teaching aspect, but again I needn’t have worried, because Sally was there with lesson plans, ideas, suggestions, advice on resources, directions to materials and websites designed to help you teach. I’ve found that other host families like to help with this too. Each student is different, but the assistance given helped ensure that all the students benefited. It is immensely rewarding to see the children progress, gain confidence, and enjoy using their new language. It is hugely satisfying to hear them pronouncing words correctly, and by the end of the week really enjoying chatting in English. Where I’d been a little uncertain, I now love the teaching part of the day. So much so that I’m now undergoing a course and will qualify as a TEFL teacher before the end of the year. It has given me a new direction. Thank you Daily English!
Another benefit to our family is that we are now much more organised than before. With all good intentions, we’d find that we didn’t manage to fit in to the school holidays all the activities we had hoped. Now, we find we can, and do. Our life hosting, is very busy, but incredibly rewarding. We start the day providing breakfast for up to six children; four students and our two girls. We clear up and set out materials for the day’s lesson, and the children play for half an hour on the trampoline, table tennis, Lego or crafts.
Whilst Simon get’s together any equipment needed for the afternoon’s activities, I teach. I start with a short activity designed to encourage the children to speak – it might be just a few minutes talking about what they like to do at weekends, or what they are really looking forward to doing in their week with us. Once they are all happy to speak, I teach them some new vocabulary and pronunciation. We use the new vocabulary in various exercises and conversations. Then usually it is on to grammar, followed by a game designed to utilise all they’ve learned during their lesson. The student’s love it and I find it very rewarding.
After lessons it is time for lunch. The students have worked hard and now they’re hungry. It feels like a time for celebration as we all sit down to eat together.
The afternoon is taken up with activities such as horse-riding, accrobranche, tennis, bowling, or a trip to the beach for body-boarding or snorkelling. Whichever it is, we all find it enjoyable and are exhausted by the end of it
The children all help to lay the table, and we all laugh over the day’s experiences while we eat. Everyone helps to clear away and we settle in for the evening. We all play games or watch a film, in English of course, and relax at the end of an exhausting day. All the children are happy and go off to bed sometime between 9 and 10pm.
After that, Simon and I take it easy for an hour, then retire to be ready for the next day.
The whole experience is very rewarding, enriching satisfying and exhausting for the whole family. Knowing that Daily English is there to support you all the way is also very reassuring. All in all, a wonderful experience and we wouldn’t change a thing!