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Legal English teacher Michele: I wouldn’t teach for any other school.

Legal English teacher Michele: I wouldn’t teach for any other school.

Language school is not just exercises and textbooks, it’s experienced and qualified teachers who have already opened the door to the world of English for many of our students. They are not only professionals in their field, but also interesting people, world travelers and unique personalities. Get to know them better with us.

Michele Hogan is an experienced lawyer originally from Boston who specialises in teaching legal English. Law is her passion, and it shows in her classes. Together with her students, they passionately discuss the differences between the English and American legal systems, legal cases and terminology. However, she also has another passion – writing. Read our interview to find out who is producing one of her scripts, as well as how she went from working as an immigration lawyer to teaching English in Bratislava.

Tell us more about your home.

Boston is the largest city in New England, the northeastern region of the United States. My ancestors on my mother’s side came there on the Mayflower, the first ship to set sail from England in 1620, and stayed for over 300 years. My paternal grandfather came later from Ireland, in the early twentieth century, and also settled on the shores of New England. Boston is cold and snowy, yet colorful, with a high level of education, the Atlantic Ocean to the east and mountains to the west, and I love it, even though I left it more than half my life ago.

Do you ever get homesick?

I still miss Boston and the ocean, but on the other hand, unlike most of my ancestors, I’m happy to have the opportunity to experience life outside of New England.

How did you get into teaching English?

In the most unlikely way. On September 11, 2001, I was living in New York City, and when the Twin Towers fell, my job as an immigration lawyer in Chinatown fell with them. I was too depressed to look for another job in that field, and that’s when a friend told me about teaching English abroad. I didn’t know anything about Bratislava, but I had heard about it from an East German friend of one of my sons, so I simply Googled “Teach English in Bratislava”. Immediately job offers popped up and you know the rest!

How many years have you been teaching English?

I started in 2002 and gradually concentrated on legal English. I don’t remember exactly when I started teaching for The Bridge, but it was a long time ago, maybe 2009 or 2010?

How did you get into The Bridge?

I knew Klaudia from when we were both teaching for another school in Bratislava. When she started The Bridge, she contacted me.

Where did you work before?

As I mentioned, my previous job was as an immigration lawyer in Chinatown, New York, where I lived for sixteen years and raised my children. The fact that I had “moved on” was not voluntary, and Bratislava’s English language teaching was only meant to serve as a stopgap measure until I recovered from 9/11, but it worked out differently in the end!

What do you think makes The Bridge School different from the others?

As far as The Bridge is concerned, I wouldn’t teach for any other school. It is different from other schools because it 1) cares deeply about providing a quality education to its students, 2) does everything it can to reward good teachers with salary and other benefits, 3) provides ongoing training for teachers, and 4) does everything it can to respond to any concerns or issues teachers and students may have.

Which part of your job do you like best?

What I love most about teaching English is when I feel like I have really connected with a student and provided them with useful information. I love it when I see my students improve, correct their mistakes and become more and more confident in a new language.

What gets on your nerves the most with students?

Usually students don’t get on my nerves very much. The closest thing I find to that is irregular attendance, which makes any progress impossible, and the fact that they still insist on using incorrect translations of legal terms in legal English even after they’ve learned the correct terminology.

What is your best feature and what is your worst?

The best things are probably enthusiasm and creativity, the worst are impatience and avoidance of administrative tasks.

What do you do in your spare time?

I’m currently a screenwriter, one of my scripts, among others, is currently being produced by Casey Affleck and Robert Redford. But nothing has hit the screen yet. 🙁

Do you want to improve your legal terminology in English? Email us at kurzy@thebridge.sk or call us on +421 948 104 916 and maybe one of our courses with our social and empathetic tutor Michele will suit you.