Maria Glagoleva: Being competitive in the job market requires learning foreign languages
In a very competitive environment, Maria Glagoleva Language Centre has established a reputation for high-quality face-to-face and distance learning courses.
We met with Maria Glagoleva, the founder of the school, director, and teacher of English and German, to learn more about the language training market, as well as current trends in learning foreign languages.
Maria, tell us how the idea of creating your own language school came about.
Creating my own school is my cherished childhood dream, which, fortunately, was destined to come true (Smiles).
In life, each person has his own path — the path that they choose and follow. Probably my path is to be a teacher. As a little girl, I dreamed of growing up and becoming an elementary school teacher. However, as you can see, plans have changed. Fate decreed that in the ninth grade I began to attend English courses, and this language attracted and fascinated me so much that from that moment I decided that I would definitely teach English. Afterward, there was also German.
So I started teaching courses, enjoying every moment of interaction with my students. The school where I worked at that time was developing at a rapid pace, but at some point, I realized that my vision of the future was different from the picture of the future that this school imagined. Soon I began to think that I needed to move in my own direction without giving up my vision of the future, but I did not think about how to do this. The turning point was one English lesson. The theme of our lesson was called “Dreams”, as usual, I asked my students about their aspirations and cherished desires. And one student asked me: “Maria, what do you dream about?”. I replied that I dreamed of creating my own language school, which I could call my own name. When I said this, I couldn’t believe that I could do it. But it sounded so natural that I decided to make my dream a reality.
How is your school different from hundreds of other language schools?
I never compare myself or my business with anyone else. My life rule is “Compare yourself only with yourself yesterday and strive for yourself tomorrow”. After all, all of us not only have different points of reference, but also different life circumstances, opportunities, resources, and goals. Therefore, it is absolutely pointless to chase each other with another teacher-colleague or other language schools.
However, I can talk about what, in my opinion, students appreciate in our school. This is a human approach to learning. These are good relationships that we try to build with each student. Our language center is not only a way to earn money, but also our life’s work, an opportunity to help everyone achieve their goals. It seems to me that this humane approach is lacking in many schools.
Tell me, what are the learning formats at Maria Glagoleva Language Centre?
Maria Glagoleva Language Centre works both online and offline.
Because of the war in my home country, many students were forced to leave Ukraine. Despite everything, 90% of students decided to continue their studies. And at the moment, more than 30 countries of the world are connecting to our classes!
Our office in Odessa still continues to work. Those who stayed in the city and prefer to study in person come to us, and we communicate and study with them live.
Each student can choose the format of training independently. Of course, both online and offline have their pros and cons. Online classes help you save time and study from anywhere in the world, while live classes are filled with love and their own special atmosphere.
What are the most popular requests of your customers? Which courses are in the most demand?
Courses for those wishing to enter universities are undoubtedly in greater demand because about 70% of our long-term students are schoolchildren.
English classes for adults are gaining popularity again. If the pandemic initially forced us all to slow down, then last year enlivened adults and brought everyone to their senses (Smiles).
Now we receive many letters of gratitude from our students and their parents. After all, those who moved abroad understood, even more, the need to learn foreign languages and the importance of English in the modern world.
Because of the war in Ukraine, many businessmen were forced to transfer their business abroad. Have you noticed a trend of increasing demand for learning business English?
We are seeing a big surge in demand for learning business English among entrepreneurs. Now the number of new requests for training and the intensity of classes is increasing. This happens historically: in any crisis, education begins to grow, and over the 18 years of my teaching, I was convinced of this trend several times.
Of course, if you have moved your business to another country, you need to communicate with new clients and partners, and here you cannot do without knowing the language of international communication.
In your opinion, does everyone need English? Or do specialists in certain industries need no knowledge of foreign languages?
Being competitive in the job market requires learning foreign languages (especially English). English is still needed in every international company — it is used by employees to negotiate, correspond, and even daily communication with the headquarters takes place in English. Pharmaceutical companies are still hiring people with knowledge of English, and non-English speaking candidates for good positions are taken only in exceptional cases — when it comes to super professionals. English is most often required from IT, marketing, and public relations specialists, as well as from lawyers and managers.
In your opinion, is the niche of teaching English occupied, or is the market not fully covered yet? Is there a development opportunity for newly created companies?
I think that the company will have an opportunity to develop further if it subtly feels the market trends. Because we know for sure: there is a vast field of work in this direction.
What do you think of Mandarin? Will it overtake English in popularity?
Learning Mandarin is indeed becoming more common both for study and for work in China or with Asian companies. It continues to be the most widespread in the world regarding the number of speakers, but only China’s large population contributes to this. English is considered the universally recognized language of international communication. It is spoken in 118 countries of the world, which makes it the largest language in terms of countries. If you think that you will only need knowledge of English to communicate with native speakers from England, America, or Europe, then you are mistaken. It is English that helps many companies communicate and do business with colleagues around the world, especially from Asian, Arab and African countries, where it is indispensable.
Perhaps in the long term, China will take the lead, but in the coming years, such a prospect is not foreseen.
How do you assess the competition in the foreign language teaching market now?
The competition is quite tough, but it’s one thing to simply offer English courses, and quite another to try to instill in people the culture of this language as much as possible and feel it from the inside.
Before the pandemic, lessons in nature, in the park, or going to the theater together were very popular at our school. After all, as I said earlier, for me, work is not only a way to earn money, but also a business to which I give all of myself. I enjoy spending extra time with my students and interacting with them. We traveled all over Ukraine together and visited different parts of our picturesque country; we also went to courses in England and Cyprus.
One day in class we read a text about extreme sports and spontaneously decided to go karting together that same week. And this is not an isolated case in our school.
Do you think it’s time for us in the 21st century to forget the differences, invent a new, common language for all, and generally forget about mastering someone else’s, such dissimilar speech?
Our world and humanity itself as a whole are changing. For example, in our country, unfortunately, everyone is faced with the fact that his life has changed dramatically, and it will never be the same. Most likely, this is a sign that you need to change your thinking, and your attitude to life, not focus on material things, and rethink yourself. When we become kinder and more tolerant of each other, then perhaps then we will come to the conclusion that we all will abandon differences and begin to communicate in the same language.